Processing Tech Highlight: MWC 2022 Wraps Up
Another year at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona wraps up with a tech highlight on processors and system-on-chips (SoCs) from Intel, MediaTek, and Qualcomm.
Last week wrapped up 2022's MWC Barcelona. As usual, this conference sparked a wide range of new devices and technologies from large tech companies to universities.
One key highlight of this year's conference was a slew of new processors from Intel, MediaTek, and Qualcomm.
Map showing the different MWC events. Screenshot used courtesy of MWC and GSMA
In this article, we'll take a look at these three companies' MWC releases and briefly compare them to their predecessors:
- Intel's newest generation of Xeon processors, aim to deliver AI and crypto acceleration along with built-in Ethernet with up to 100 Gb bandwidth.
- MediaTek's new chipset's the Dimensity 8100 and 8000 SoCs with an operating speed of up to 2.8GHz with four Arm Cortex A78 cores and an integrated 5th generation AI processing unit.
- Qualcomm's Snapdragon X70 chipset, integrated with a 5G AI processor and 5G modem-RF system.
New vs Old: A Brief Look at Processor Predecessors
In this section, let's take a look at how these processors look when compared to the generation that came before it, starting with Intel.
Intel's Xeon Series
The first Xeon processor Pentium II Xeon was launched in 1998 to replace Pentium Pro.
This processor had about 7.5 million transistors and was released to be operated in servers and high-end workstations. Additionally, the Pentium II had one core and a processor base frequency of 400 MHz with a bus speed limitation of 66 MHz.
On the contrary, the new Xeon D processor lineup has up to 20 cores and 24 high-speed flexible input-output lanes. This processor has been integrated with hardware acceleration for deep learning and has an improved AI inferencing of up to 5.73x faster in D1700 and up to 7.40x faster in D2700.
An overview of Neon D processors specifications. Image used courtesy of Intel
The architecture of the D-2700 and D-1700 processors is similar but has a slight difference in form factor, core count, and total design power.
The D2700 has up to 20 cores, while the D1700 has up to 10 cores. The expansion of cores is done via Intel's Hyper-Threading technology.
Hardware architecture of Xeon D series. Image used courtesy of Intel
The thermal design power of the D2700 is between 64-125 watts and is between 25-85 watts for the D1700.
Intel's new Xeon D processors are manufactured using 10 nm manufacturing technology incorporating the contact over active gate (COAG) technology.
MediaTek's Dimensity Series
A block diagram of the Dimensity 8000 series architecture. Image used courtesy of MediaTek
The first processor was a fast-mid-range SoC having two fast ARM Cortex-A76 cores and six power-efficient A55 cores with a maximum memory frequency of 2133 MHz and a GPU frequency of 950 MHz.
On the other hand, the new Dimensity 8000, built on TSMC's 5 nm production process, boasts a maximum memory frequency of up to 2.75 GHz. It also has an octa-core CPU with four Arm Cortex A78 cores and four Arm Cortex A55 cores.
The Dimensity 8100 and 8000 also support dual 5G SIM with two carrier aggregations for up to 200 MHz of bandwidth and are likely to be used by high-end 5G smartphones.
The 5th generation APU 580 on the SoC claims to be 2.5x faster than the older versions. It can power various AI experiences such as AI cameras, multi-media AI applications, and more.
Qualcomm's Snapdragons: x65 and x70
Qualcomm's Snapdragon integrated modems is a family of mobile SoCs which mainly find its use in smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other consumer devices.
An overivew of the Snapdragon X70 5G modem RF system. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm
The new Snapdragon X70, built on a 4 nm low power process, has an additional 5G dual connectivity instead of 5G NR (new radio) in the Snapdragon x65.
Qualcomm claims this chip is the "world's first" comprehensive 5G modem-RF system that can support all commercial bands in the 600 MHz to 41 GHz range along with an AI processor for increased 5G speeds, latency, robustness, and mobility.
The Snapdragon x70 also consists of Qualcomm's Smart Transmit 2.0 technology and claims 60% improved power efficiency.
Another Year of MWC Barcelona Wraps Up
It is spectacular to see the rise of Edge AI in the chip industry. As seen in the MWC 2022, it has become one of the biggest trends.
Traditionally, designers widely used AI on the cloud; however, the latency issues in data transfer and security threats over the network have pushed the trend towards Edge AI, which integrates AI locally by embedding it on the Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints.
The integration of AI has already begun with the new range of processors and SoCs available in the market. It would be interesting to see if Edge AI will replace Cloud AI completely or both will exist in conjunction in the world of consumer electronics.