MediaTek Announces First Octa-Core Processor for Mobile Devices

MediaTek on Wednesday announced what it claims is the world's first heterogeneous computing SoC (System-on-Chip) with a scalable eight-core processor for improved multi-tasking performance, more multimedia muscle, and excellent performance per watt. Dubbed "MT6592," MediaTek is billing its chip as the first true octa-core mobile platform.

Built using a 28nm HPM high-performance manufacturing process, the MT6592 has eight CPU cores, each of which is capable of running at up to 2GHz. The octa-core architecture is fully scalable and supposedly runs both low-power and more demanding tasks equally effectively by harnessing the full capabilities of all eight cores in any combination, MediaTek says. To prevent overheating, an advanced algorithm monitors temperatures and power consumption to ensure the MT6592 is constantly running at peak performance.

MediaTek Octa-Core
Source: MediaTek

We've seen claims of octa-core chips before, but what makes MediaTek's solution unique is that all eight cores are available at any given time. Early implementations of octa-core chips based on ARM's big.LITTLE architecture contain four lower-power cores for non-demanding tasks (surfing the web, reading email, etc) and four high-power cores for processor intensive tasks (gaming). While technically an eight-core chip, only four cores are active any any given time.

More recently, Samsung announced its Exynos 5 chip with four ARM Cortex-A15 (1.8GHZ) and four Cortex-A7 (1.3GHz) processors, all of which will be able to run at the same time later this year.

Contrasting Samsung's solution, MediaTek's MT6592 part is comprised of eight ARM Coretex-A7 cores with an ARM Mali GPU for graphics chores. It still utilizes ARM's big.LITTLE architecture by tapping into a single CPU cluster (four cores) for lower level tasks, but can also activate both CPU clusters (eight-cores) for extreme performance.