Published in Mobiles

Helio X30 shaping up at 10nm

by on10 October 2016

2x A73, 4X A53 and 4X A35

MediaTek has started making rather unique chips and its strategy was even followed by some of its competition. Helio X20 / X25 was the world’s first deca-core SoC that did a decent job, but Helio X30 again packs deca-core with an impressive alignment. 

It looks like  Helio X30 will be announced in early 2017 and it should ship in phones at some point in Q2 2017. Our sources are rather positive that the new SoC comes with two Cortex-A73 clocked at 2.8GHz, four Cortex-A53 (2.3GHz) mid cluster and four Cortex-A35 (2.0GHz) power saving cores. 

Helio X20 came with two Cortex A72 clocked at 2.3GHz, four medium performance Cortex A53 at 2.0Ghz and four Cortex A53 at 1.4 GHz. A faster variant called Helio X25 has the Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.3GHz and the four power saving cores to 1.55GHz while the mid performance cluster remained at 2.0Ghz.

Helio X30 should end up having an impressive 53 percent of power saving with a 43 percent performance increase over Helio X20. The fact that MediaTek chose the Cortex A35 might well account for huge power saving as this is the most power efficient core coming from the house of ARM. The Cortex-A73 should help in heavy lifting tasks such as gaming, Pokemon or launching apps while most of the time when reading posts and wasting time on Facebook, you won’t need anything better than four Cortex-A53 processors.


The GPU of choice is Imagination Technologies' 7XTP-MT4 at 820MHz. That will provide an impressive 2.4 times the performance over the ARM Mali T880 MP4 at 700 MHz used in Helio X20.

The new Imagination Technologies 7XTP was used in the Apple Fusion A9 that ended up in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. A faster version called 7XTP Plus is likely the part of Fusion A10 SoC and iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus too.

The new Helio X30 will come with a  Cat 10 modem supporting 3X carrier aggregation. Now this is the puzzling part, as Snapdragon X16 – expected in Snapdragon 830 – supports Cat 16 release and speeds up to 1000 Mbps.

Cat 10 should be able to lift MediaTek's modem speed up to 450 Mbps download when using three carrier aggregation while the upload is promised to jump to 150 Mbps. We will have to wait for MediaTek to release more information about it, but as far as we know, you need at least Cat 11 upload capability to get to faster upload speeds than 50 Mbps.

The camera DSP processor is simply called the Imagiq Gen 2.0 and it includes 28-megapixel camera support at 30 FSP with dual ISP 14-bit Vision processor at 550 MHz. The Helio X20 was capable of up to 25 megapixel at 30 fps with dual ISP.

Since the Helio X30 uses the new LPDDR4X memory at 1866 MHz and supports both eMMC 5.1 and UFS 2.1, you can expect the memory subsystem will get you much higher performance. The maximum RAM memory size will increase from 4GB with Helio X20 to 8GB with Helio X30.

The maximum support resolution remains the WQXGA 2560x1600 with 12 hardware blending layers and the new GPU will also add a 4Kx2K at 30 FPS H.265 and VP9 video encoding. It looks like MediaTek plans to offer external 2x2 WiFi 802.11ac solution and it might even support the newly announced Bluetooth 5.0.

Overall, it looks like a nice SoC and it will definitely land many of the Chinese brands including Xiaomi, LeECO or Meizu. It remains to be seen if MediaTek manages to impress some of the bigger global manufacturers and persuade them into embracing their solution.

Last modified on 10 October 2016
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