MediaTek's Dimensity 900 5G SoC Is Its Best Shot Yet At Targeting Snapdragon Mid-Range Dominance

mediatek 5g 900
Qualcomm has the lion's share of the market with its Snapdragon processors when it comes to Android smartphones. From its low-end 400- and 600-Series SoCs to the high-end 800-Series, Qualcomm has the smartphone market cornered. However, MediaTek is looking to challenge Qualcomm head-on with the Dimensity 900.

The Dimensity 900 is a 6nm SoC aimed at the premium mid-range smartphone sector. In that sense, the Dimensity 900 seems poised to challenge the likes of the newly introduced Snapdragon 780G. The SoC is an 8-core design, with dual Cortex-A78 performance cores clocked at 2.4GHz and six Cortex-A55 efficiency cores clocked at 2GHz. For comparison, the Snapdragon 780G uses four 2.4GHz Cortex-A78 cores and four 1.9GHz Cortex-A55 cores.

On the graphics front, MediaTek has opted for a Mali-G68 MC4 GPU while a third-generation AI processing unit (APU). As you might expect for an SoC targeting the premium mid-range market, there's support for 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.2. A 5G modem is integrated, although MediaTek has gone the value route by only supporting sub-6GHz bands.

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Qualcomm also opted to support sub-6GHz bands only with the Snapdragon 780G, and at this stage in the deployment of 5G, it makes sense. Most carriers have spent the bulk of their resources building out their sub-6GHz networks and have paid less attention to mmWave. MmWave provides higher throughput at the expense of vastly reduced range. In addition, OEMs must implement costly antenna hardware to support mmWave, which is a tough sell in this price-sensitive market.

Other features supported by the Dimensity 900 include the option for pairing with LPDDR4x or LPDDR5 memory, UFS 3.1 memory, and displays up to 2520x1080 with a refresh rate of 120Hz.

"Dimensity 900 brings a suite of connectivity, display and 4K HDR visual enhancements to high-tier 5G smartphones and gives brands great design flexibility for their 5G portfolios," said Dr. JC Hsu, Corporate VP and GM for the MediaTek Wireless Communications Business Unit. "The chipset's support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6 ensures users get the most out of their devices with super-fast and reliable connectivity."

With this latest introduction, MediaTek's 5G SoC family (from flagship to entry-level) now includes the Dimensity 1200, 1100, 1000, 900, 800, and 700. It's a comprehensive lineup for sure, but we still haven't seen many smartphones adopt the chips en masse like they do with Qualcomm's offerings. Perhaps the Dimensity 900 will change this situation for MediaTek going forward.

According to MediaTek, the first smartphones using the Dimensity 900 will launch during Q2 2021.