MediaTek Releases “World’s Fastest” Sub-6GHz 5G SoC for Smartphones

December 03, 2019 by Gary Elinoff

The new 7nm SoC is the first device in a chipset family offering integrated 5G modems.

MediaTek has released a new chipset, Dimensity, designed to support stand-alone and non-stand-alone sub-6GHz networks. The SoC, Dimensity 1000, features a 5G modem that can support download speeds of 4.7Gbs and upload speeds of 2.5Gbps for networks at frequencies below 6GHz.


MediaTek's new 5G-integrated SoC.

MediaTek's new 5G-integrated SoC. Image from MediaTek

MediaTek contends that this compact arrangement saves space when compared to the “two-chip solutions” offered by competing manufacturers. The chipset is also designed to conserve battery power.

Because size and power efficiency are critical for battery-powered mobile devices, these two features may be a useful asset for designers. Members of the new family of devices are geared to provide multi-mode support for every cellular connectivity generation from 2G to 5G.


A Device of "Firsts" 

MediaTek asserts that the new 5G SoC offers a number of capabilities seen in no other mobile SoCs. Some of these "world's first" titles MediaTek has given the SoC include: 

  • world's first five-core ISP
  • world's first SoC with Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit performance
  • world's first dual 5G SIM technology
  • world first SoC to offer AV1 format support for advanced video streaming
  • world's first SoC with multi-frame video HDR capability

A discussion of these titles can help designers parse out whether this unit could be useful in their projects.


Processing Power

The SoC includes four Arm Cortex-A77 CPU cores and four Arm Cortex-A55 CPU cores with maximum clock speeds of 2.6GHz and 2.0GHz, respectively. For gamers, an Arm Mali-G77 GPU is included for 5G streaming speeds. To back up the CPU power, Dimensity 1000 also includes 16GB of 4X-channel LPDDR4X memory.


Dimensity 1000 for gaming.

The SoC is designed for 5G streaming speeds, which will improve the gaming experience. Image from MediaTek

MediaTek’s HyperEngine 2.0 provides a feature that predicts network traffic and is said to dramatically reduce latency, enable faster responsiveness, and shave milliseconds off the overall system response time.


Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

The Dimensity 1000 supports Bluetooth 5.1. It also incorporates Wi-Fi 6 (2T2R 802.11ax), which enables downlinks as well as uplinks at speeds of 1Gbps or faster. 


Key Features of the Dimensity 1000

Dual 5G SIM 

The chip is said to support Voice over New Radio (VoNR), while also delivering connectivity across networks at consistent speeds. 


Handover Between Two Connections

Due to 5G carrier aggregation, the SoC can post higher average speeds and provide an easy handover between two connection areas as smartphone users move about. 


Imaging Capabilities

The Dimensity 1000 contains a five-core image signal processor (ISP), which can support a single camera at up to 80MP at 24FPS.


Dimensity 1000 allows HDR video

Dimensity 1000 allows multi-frame HDR video. Image from MediaTek

Alternatively, two cameras at 32MP and at 16MP each can be supported instead. For video, the SoC enables 4K video at 60FPS.  


Camera and Video Support 

The MediaTek 3.0 AI accelerated processing unit (APU) combines a CPU with a graphics processing unit (GPU). This unit includes six AI processors, and it can operate at 4.5 TOPS. 

Combining the CPU and GPU eliminates the time otherwise spent in communication when these two processors are separate ICs. The arrangement provides for AI-camera enhancements for auto exposure, autofocus, automatic white balance, high-dynamic-range capabilities as well as AI facial detection. 


Dimensity 1000 for AI facial detection

The SoC is said to offer AI camera enhancements with AI-3A, AI-NR, AI-HDR, and AI facial detection. Image from MediaTek

Graphics and Video

The new device supports HD+ displays of 120Hz and 2K+ up to 90Hz. MediaTek also posits that the SoC facilitates hardware video decoding and encoding of 4K images at 60 frames per second. The unit is designed to support the Alliance of Open Media AV1 format, a video streaming technology supported by major OEMs and content makers.


A Note to Designers

Because the device is specified for 5G applications in sub-6GHz, Dimensity 1000 may find limited applicability in the US 5G market at first, as major US carriers seem committed to higher frequencies at the present time.