Electronic Design
10-core SoC Targets Premium Mobile Media Devices

10-core SoC Targets Premium Mobile Media Devices

MediaTek’s Helio X30 packs in 10 ARM cores to power premium mobile devices. It can handle 4K video as well as deep neural network applications.

The hottest embedded devices are mobile media platforms like smartphones, and the higher-end smartphones pack the latest multicore SoCs. The challenge is delivering performance while reducing power requirements to extend the battery life of these devices.

MediaTek’s 10-nm, Helio X30 packs in 10 ARM cores in a tri-cluster architecture to power premium mobile devices. The third-generation chip can handle 4K video as well as deep neural network applications.

The Helio X30's tri-cluster architecture
MediaTek’s Helio X30 uses a tri-cluster architecture with 10 ARM cores. A pair of 64-bit Cortex-A73 cores run at 2.5 GHz.

The tri-cluster architecture extends ARM’s big.LITTLE approach to three levels with the high performance operation utilizing a pair of 64-bit Cortex-A73 cores running at 2.5 GHz. Midrange operation is handled by a quad-core Cortex-A53 cluster that runs at 2.2 GHz. Low-power operation is handled by another quad core cluster of ARM Cortex-A35 running at 1.9 GHz. There is also a separate Cortex-M4 that operates as a sensor integration platform.

MediaTek’s Core Pilot scheduler manages the tri-cluster operation. Core Pilot 4.0 brings advanced energy-aware scheduling to software platforms like Android. It automatically switches between clusters to optimize performance and power utilization. The memory subsystem supports four 16-bit, 1866 MHz LPDDR4, eMMC 5.1 and UFS 2.1.

The SoC incorporates Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR Series7XT Plus GPU. The multicore GPU runs at 800 MHz. It delivers 2.4 times the performance of the previous generation with a 60% power savings. It can handle 4K2K, 10-bit HDR10, and 30 frame/s video encode and decode. The virtual reality software support is designed to handle platforms like Google Daydream.

There is also a programmable Vision P5 vision processing unit from Cadence’s Tensilica. This provides faster auto exposure operation. The system can handle a 28 Mpixel or dual 16 Mpixel camera system. It can handle dual camera optical zoom. The Electronic Image Stabilization Plus (EIS+) 3.0 system combines image and gyro information to deliver smoother video recording.

The SoC is designed for wireless communication. It can handle a range of protocols including Wi-Fi 11ac, Bluetooth, FM, GPS/Glonass/Beidou navigation, and ANT+ devices. The modem is a Cat-10 worldmode 4G LTE modem with 3x DL CA. It delivers LTE 450 Mbit/s download speeds and 150 Mbit/s upload speeds. It can handle LTE-U/LWA band support as well as LTE FDD/TDD R12. The second-generation envelope tracking module (ETM 2.0) is available as is TAS 2.0 smart antenna technology support.

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