When we talk about SoCs (Systems on Chip) for devices and especially flagship smartphones, it is common to remember the Qualcomm. We often cite the Snapdragon 888 on Android devices in 2021, for example, and now we have its successor – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. However, this is not the only processor that could gain space among this year’s high-end phones. At the end of 2021, the mediatek also revealed its processor Dimension 9000, manufactured by TSMC, for premium flagship devices, which emerged as a direct competitor to the Snapdragon 800 Series. But the question remains: which of the two is the best to keep an eye on? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.
By the technical specifications of CPU and GPU, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Dimensity 9000 are quite tied, with advantages on one side and the other. Both offer the latest Armv9 CPU cores in a 1+3+4 arrangement, but there are subtle differences. To be clear: both processors have a Cortex-X2 core dedicated to heavy tasks, three Cortex-A710 cores for medium tasks and four Cortex-A510 cores for light tasks. What changes between the two processors is a certain advantage of the Dimensity 9000 in clock speed.
Both processors have the same core structure, but the Dimensity 9000 has a clock speed advantage.
Speaking of speed, the Dimensity 9000 supports RAM LPDDR5X, while Qualcomm comes with LPDDR5. That means a slightly faster RAM clock speed for Dimensity – 3,750 MHz versus 3,200 MHz, resulting in a bandwidth comparison of 60 Gbps and 51.2 Gbps. The memory clock indicates the speed at which RAM memory works on temporary files. RAM memory, in general, is responsible for giving agility and speed in the operation of the system.
Another point where the Dimensity 9000 has an advantage is in cache memory size. It has 8MB L3 cache and 6MB SLC (system-level) cache, while Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 offers 6MB L3 and 4MB SLC. Furthermore, the Snapdragon’s Cortex A510 cores share their L2 cache between two cores, while the equivalent cores in the Dimensity 9000 have their own private 256KB L2. This type of memory has high speed and its function is to store data and instructions that the CPU may need soon. It enables the processor to run at full capacity and have as little downtime as possible.
With more cache and higher clock speeds, Dimensity 9000 can be faster in some scenarios
Now, we come to where the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 advantages begin: graphics. Compared to the Snapdragon 888, its successor promises 30% faster graphics rendering and 25% more efficiency. Dimensity, according to Mediatek, delivers a 35% increase in performance and up to 60% in efficiency gains. However, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 takes the lead when it comes to refresh rate. It supports a refresh rate of 144Hz at QHD+ resolution (or 60Hz at 4K), while Mediatek has guaranteed “only” 180Hz at FHD+ resolutions – we have no claims on other resolutions.
Despite all this, the best-known benchmark tests like AnTuTu 9 and GeekBench 5 were carried out, as usual, and in both the Dimensity 9000 had slightly better results than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Below you can check the published numbers. by Nanoreview:
At the AnTuTu official website, in which there is a ranking of the best SoCs based on the CPU+GPU performance result of the Antutu V8 test, the processors we are analyzing have not yet been included.
Moving on to camera capabilities and resolution, both SoCs offer high specs. When it comes to video, the possibilities are practically the same:
– Capture up to 8K at 30 frames per second or 4K at 120 frames;
– Video viewing in 8K at 30 frames per second or 4K at 120 frames;
– Same video codecs: H.264, H.265, VP8, VP9
However, Mediatek’s SoC does not offer HDR at 8K resolution. What we do know is that the chip supports three-exposure HDR and three simultaneous HDR video streams for 4K resolution.
The main differences are in the maximum display and photo resolution. While the Dimensity 9000 supports a display with a resolution of up to 2960 x 1440 pixels (1440p or Quad HD), the Snapdragon scales this up to 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K).
The possibilities for cameras with the Qualcomm processor include up to a 200MP camera, a dual set of 64MP+36MP or even three 36MP cameras. With the Dimensity 9000, the manufacturer has alternatives up to a 320MP camera or three 32MP cameras. Additionally, MediaTek’s SoC can process up to nine gigapixels per second, which surpasses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s ISP (Image Signal Processor) which can process only 3.2 gigapixels per second.
About camera features, we were at an impasse as Qualcomm released more details about its technologies. These include double the number of burst mode shots (240 12MP shots), 30 frames of multi-frame image processing, which should result in improved night mode or HDR capture, and chromatic aberration correction for ultra-wide cameras.
When it comes to connectivity, we continue with the same overview: both Qualcomm and MediaTek SoCs offer the same main combo, with some changes here and there that would be able to give some advantage in certain scenarios. When we talk about core technologies, we are including support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, for example. Here it is worth mentioning that, in the United States, only Snapdragon supports mmWave, which, theoretically, is where the highest frequencies and advantages of 5G would be.
On the other hand, the Dimensity 9000 already confirms support for the Bluetooth 5.3 standard, while the Qualcomm chip stops at 5.2. This, again from a theoretical and technical point of view, would mean better energy efficiency, reliability and safety.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processors and Dimensity 9000 are sure to be two of the SoCs that we will see the most in 2022 flagship smartphones. Both bring a package of features and supports that can be very well used by manufacturers. But when it comes time to say which one is the best, it’s not so easy.
Chips bring many similarities and end up balancing when we talk about advantages and disadvantages. Of course, for those looking for a device to play and who hit the market with the “gamer” concept, it’s quite likely to keep an eye out for devices with Snapdragon, given the years-long reputation the developer has built and the optimization features for. games that the chip brings, such as Adreno Frame Motion, Adreno Engine and Snapdragon Elite Gaming. Furthermore, 8K HDR recording is another notable advantage Qualcomm has over the Taiwanese company.
On the other hand, Mediatek also has some confirmed advantages, such as support for the latest Bluetooth and RAM standards, as well as support for AV1 decoding. It’s interesting to see a new processor beat Qualcomm’s chips in tests, and somewhat exciting too. It is even safe to say that this is as close as Mediatek and Qualcomm have been in years when it comes to processors for mobile devices. And that can only be a good thing for consumers.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Dimensity 9000 are practically side by side
But despite this theoretical comparison, we also need to take into account the practical experience of the user with devices equipped with both chips. And that hasn’t happened yet, as the first phones confirmed with both the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the Dimensity 9000 are not yet available on the market.
For Qualcomm’s processor, some promised names we have are Xiaomi 12, Oppo Find X4 Pro, Realme’s GT 2 Pro and Motorola Edge X30. Other mentioned devices that can receive the SoC include some Lenovo devices like the Legion Y90 and Halo and even Samsung’s Galaxy S22 in some markets.
As for the Dimensity 9000, the expectation is that it will hit the market with smartphones from the same brands mentioned above, but obviously in other models. These would be the OnePLus 10R, OnePlus Nord 3, OPPO Find X4, Realme GT Neo 3T, Vivo X80, Xiaomi 12T and Redmi K50 Gaming, for example.
What we can do at the moment is wait for the arrival of these devices and follow the performance and features experiences. But one thing is for sure: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Dimensity 9000 are practically side by side.