It’s been more than a decade since ARM introduced it’s big.LITTLE technology that allows high-performance CPU cores to be bundled on a chip with energy-efficient cores, theoretically offering the best of both worlds. And most smartphone processors that have shipped during that time have adopted that technology.

MediaTek’s new Dimensity 9300 does something a little different. While this octa-core processor does have three different types of CPU cores, none of them are “LITTLE.” Instead, MediaTek is going all-in on “big” cores, which could make this chip more competitive with the latest flagship-class processors from Qualcomm and others.

At least on paper, that could give the Dimensity 9300 an edge when it comes to tasks that can leverage all eight CPU cores at once. But it’s worth keeping in mind that while MediaTek’s new chip has four Cortex-X4 CPU cores and four Cortex-A720 cores, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip has just one of the former and five of the latter, there are some significant differences in CPU frequencies.

It’ll also be interesting to see how energy-efficient Qualcomm’s chip is, since there are no lower-power cores available to handle less demanding tasks.

MediaTek Dimensity 9300Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
CPU1 x Cortex-X4 @ 3.25 GHz
3 x Cortex-X4 @ 2.85 GHz
4 x Cortex-A720 @ 2 GHz
1 x Cortex-X4 @ 3.3 GHz
3 x Cortex-A720 @ 3.2 GHz
2 x Cortex-A720 @ 3 GHz
2 x Cortex-A520 @ 2.3 GHz
GPUImmoratlis G720-MC12Adreno 740
RAMLPDDR5T (up to 9600 MB/s)LPDDR5x (up to 9600MB/s)
WirelessWiFi 7 (6.5 Gbps)
Bluetooth 5.4
5G Sub-6 GHz/mmWave (up to 7.9 Gbps)
WiFi 7 (5.8 Gbps)
Bluetooth 5.4
5G Sub-6 GHz/mmWave (up to 10 Gbps)
CameraUp to 320MP (single camera)
Up to 4K @ 60 fps (video)
Up to 8K @ 30 fps (video)
18-bit ISP
Up to 200MP (single camera)
Up to 4K @ 120 fps (video)
Up to 8K @ 30 fps (video)
18-bit ISP
DisplayUp to 4K @ 120 Hz
Up to WQHD @ 180 Hz
Up to 4K @ 60 Hz
Up to QHD+ @ 144 Hz

Also worth keeping in mind is that the two chips have different graphics processors, image signal processors, and neural processing units, which makes it difficult to gauge expected performance from a spec sheet alone.

MediaTek does tell us a bit about how the Dimensity 9300 stacks up against the previous-gen Dimensity 9200 though:

  • 40% faster multi-core CPU performance while using as much as 33% less power
  • 15% faster single-performance
  • 46% faster GPU raytracing performance while reducing power consumption by 40%
  • 100% faster integer and floating-point AI performance, and 800% faster transformer-based generative AI while using 45% less power

The first phones with Dimensity 9300 chips are expected to ship before the end of 2023.

press release

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  1. Things are getting pretty insane. It is surprising that no one has made a serious effort to tap into all that wasted compute power. Maybe the privacy concerns are too acute. Future phones and computers need to rethink the architecture, to allow for public use, even if to host one’s own website. In fact, that right there could be the template to offer your background compute resource. The trick it full isolation of big cores from effy cores. So essentially effy cores are fully private to phone, big cores are fully public from phone, and we use special conduits to tap into these while at the same time handing over the public compute to cloud seamlessly.

  2. This just seems like it’s targeting the ignorant consumer–the ones who spend more money than necessary to have powerful processors for their browsing and email activities, and only look at benchmark scores for their purchasing decisions.

    Although it could be beneficial for a device that is typically plugged in.

    1. For what it’s worth, the CPU isn’t actually on most of the time on a phone. The modem is always on in case a call comes in unless you turned airplane mode on, and the phone periodically wakes itself up to check if you’ve got any emails or messages then suspends again.
      And since google, apple, and SoC vendors don’t let you run anything but the operating system image that came with the device, with vanishingly rare exceptions, and because you can’t swap out parts, the advertised performance metrics don’t really matter, you have to compare devices as wholes to really evaluate what’s better. Which makes it impossible for me to really care much about any non-systemready ARM chip.
      But that doesn’t mean that screen on time might be limited.

      1. You’re right, it’s just as Steve Jobs said. You can’t just factor out the software. You need to evaluate the performance and efficiency together between the hardware and software. Look at real-world practical results and not just theoretical or synthetic benchmarks.

        With that said, if the MediaTek Dimensity 9300 is a complete failure. That’s good. Because at least they will have the experience now. And perhaps their follow up product will be much better, for not using those small Cortex-A520 cores. Not too different to Apple A17 chipset. And perhaps this might cause Qualcomm to react and compete in the market. We might see a 2025 release of the QC 8g4 processor, and it might come with a 1+2+5 (Oryon + X5 + A730) design, completely omitting the ARM Cortex-A530 cores from the System-on-Chip.

  3. I can’t wait to see what these guys will do for Windows On ARM, they repeatedly said they were planning on releasing something when the Qualcomm deal ends. We could be seeing some competitively priced Windows Tablets and “low costs” WoA laptops very soon.

    1. I remember reading that the Qualcomm – Microsoft exclusivity deal was supposed to end on 31 Dec 2021. I guess those reports were false, because we STILL don’t have any Windows 11S (aka Windows on ARM) devices out yet or in the coming near future that don’t have a Qualcomm chipset.

      Either Microsoft is playing hard ball and making it very difficult to get certified. Possible. Or the exclusivity deal hasn’t ended yet.

      Based on current rumblings, it looks like it might end on 30 June 2024. That’s 1.5 years after those initial reports. Sometimes those armchair detectives on the internet, and writing their articles, are just full of hot air.

      …when, not-if, when MediaTek gets a chance to enter the Windows 11S market I believe they will be quite compelling. They are a Taiwanese company with lots of ties to the Mainland. If they can’t compete against Qualcomm’s Oryon, Apple’s M-line, and whatever Nvidia is cooking up. Well they will compete on price and value for money. And that’s a segment which has been underserved.

      1. It could be because windows has an edge in adoption, apple has an edge in HW-SW integration, but Windows on ARM could have both, so clearly MS does not want to upset the apple cart (for whatever reason). The Qualcomm tie-up delayed it for long, now some or the other fuss would delay it more. So M3 plus parallels is how it will be played for the longest time. BTW I am typing this on a KVM QEMU qcow2 Debian 12 32bit VM running on an ancient G2020. It got it for $3. Thank me later.

        1. I don’t know.
          Microsoft has been BLEEDING it’s market share since more and more people are using their phones as their primary personal computer.

          And during these past 3 years of pandemic, even AndroidOS has receeded in volume.

          Apple is the only exception. Whilst everyone has lost users, mainly to people using their old AndroidOS phones for longer. Apple has made progress and captured some new markets. That’s for the iPad, the Mac, and iPhone.

          …so clearly Apple has the superior tactic. They may “only” control 20% of the market, but it is netting them 80% of the total profits.

          Microsoft has had a leadership crisis since 2008, or after they released Windows 7 Pro. They made MASSIVE miscalculations and paid the price with their shi tty Microsoft Kin devices, Windows Phone 7, to Windows 8.1, and Xbox One era.

          Apple has been “great” in my opinion ever since the (2009) iPhone 4 and iPad 2 to the iPhone 6S+, iPad Mini 4, iPad Pro 2, Apple TV 4K, 2015 MacBook Pro (2017). They stopped being compelling and competitive around the 2015-2017 time, and were kind of regressing by 2018.

          So I think Microsoft’s problems are not superficial or easily solved. It’s systematic. It’s a crisis in leadership. They steered their business in a direction that reality wasn’t happy with.

          Google has also jumped the shark. I remember how revolutionary their Android 4.0 was, and they all but abandoned tablets by Android 4.4. Or how compelling the Nexus 4 was in the market. Then came the days of AndroidWear, Project Q device, and the turd pile that is Google TV. They’ve gotten lucky with AndroidAuto recently because they’ve been on a quest to copy Apple. But many other facets they are abjectly failing in my view.

          Facebook is a joke. Amazon is evil. And the Mainland China Market is a different beast to the International one.