MediaTek raised quite a few eyebrows earlier this year when it announced it would build the world’s first proper ARM octa-core, not a big.LITTLE design. The MT6592 has now popped up on a Chinese site, with the first Antutu results.
It scored 25,496, which places it behind the 1.7GHz Snapdragon in the HTC One, but it’s still a lot faster than the Nexus 4’s Qualcomm APQ8064, although throttling may have something to do with that. The score seems too high, but not long after the results emerged, a number of mobile sites started talking about disappointing results, claiming that MediaTek’s octa-core was somehow supposed to end up on a par with Samsung’s latest Exynos 5 big.LITTLE chip and the Qualcomm 800.
This of course is utter rubbish and FUD of the highest order.
The 28nm MT6592 is indeed an octa-core, but it has eight A7 cores, not a combo of A15 and A7 cores. The A7 is about one fifth of the die area of an A15 and according to ARM it consumes one quarter to one fifth of the power, making such comparisons asinine. In other words, MediaTek’s octa-core should end up a lot smaller and cheaper than a quad A15, maybe even a quad A12. That is why we find the 25,496 result hard to believe - it should be less, not more. For example, the Tegra 4 on Shield hits about 36,000, yet it's a much bigger chip, on a device with more RAM.
The benchmarked chip ran at 1.7GHz, but MediaTek said the MT6592 should have no trouble hitting 2GHz, which could make it faster than a Snapdragon 600. What’s more, the tested device featured 1GB of RAM, 720p display and a Mali-450 GPU, so it is clearly not high-end.
However, the big problem for MediaTek’s curious new SoC is the sheer number of cores. Most apps simply can’t put them to good use and unless MediaTek has a clever trick up its sleeve, the chip might not be nearly as fast in real world applications. It does look promising in benchmarks, though.