MediaTek partners with TSMC for 3nm smartphone chips


The MediaTek Dimensity 9400 is built on TSMC’s 3nm manufacturing process. That chip is expected to compete with Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 4.

For years, MediaTek only offered chips in the mid-range. The brand seems to be gradually returning to this, and has been working hard on its new Dimensity series in recent years. The Dimensity 9000 class is intended for high-end Android phones and tablets. For the time being, it has not yet achieved great success with this. Smartphone manufacturers prefer to shop at Qualcomm. After all, for consumers it is a ‘well-known name’ in the smartphone industry, just like Intel is for desktop computers and laptops.

That could gradually change in the coming years. MediaTek hopes for this, especially now that the move to TSMC’s 3nm production process is in line with all major players in the chip market. Last year, Apple was the first electronics manufacturer with a 3nm chip, the A17 Pro. MediaTek will join that list in 2024. Qualcomm is also likely to make the move to 3nm, although this has not yet been confirmed. It is also not clear whether Qualcomm will have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 manufactured by TSMC or Samsung Semiconductor this year.

King(ine) of heat

However, an advanced production process alone will not get you there. MediaTek is expected to equip the Dimensity 9400 with ARM’s latest CPU designs, including the Cortex-X5. It is also striking that the chip reportedly contains three powerful Cortex-X4 cores. Finally, there would be four smooth Cortex-A720 computing units. There is no mention of the efficient A520 cores, which take on low-energy tasks to reduce energy consumption.

With the Dimensity 9300 this also led to some heat problems. The Vivo YouTuber Sahil Karoul reported this after an extensive stress test.

Time will tell whether TSMC’s second-generation 3nm manufacturing process can better control that heat. Take the leaked details, except for the 3nm process, with a grain of salt for the time being. MediaTek CEO Rick Tsai did not comment on this during the announcement. The specifications will in any case be known when the Dimensity 9400 is launched in Q4 2024.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: MediaTek partners TSMC #3nm smartphone chips