Qualcomm and MediaTek have been long-time rivals in the silicon industry and now they are all set to pit their flagship chips against each other. For the past few years, MediaTek was caught up on a string of patent infringement lawsuits and was unable to enter many markets including India. However, the ban has been lifted now so the company is on a launch spree and has recently announced its flagship processor Dimensity 1000 with integrated 5G. So in this article, we bring you an extensive comparison between Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 865 and MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000. In addition, we have shared many tidbits about 5G from a business perspective as well. With that said, let’s go through our article on Snapdragon 865 vs Dimensity 1000 and find out which mobile chipset is going to thrive next year.
Numbers Game: Snapdragon 865 vs Dimensity 1000
Before we move ahead, go through the spec sheet so you get a basic idea about both the chipsets.
|Kryo 585, Octa-core CPU
|1x 2.84GHz (Cortex A77)
3x 2.42GHz (Cortex A77)
4x 1.8GHz (Cortex A55)
|4x 2.6GHz (Cortex A77)
4x 2.0GHz (Cortex A55)
|CPU Clock Speed
|Up to 2.84GHz
|Up to 2.6GHz
|Machine Learning and AI
|Hexagon 698 DSP
|Hexa-core APU 3.0
|Up to 200 MP
|Up to 80 MP
|8K @ 30 FPS, 4K HDR @ 60FPS, 4K @ 120FPS
|4K HDR @ 60FPS
|Quick Charge 4+
|Pump Express 4.0
|X55 5G Modem
7.5 Gbps Peak Download
3 Gbps Peak Upload
|5G Integrated Modem
4.7 Gbps Peak Download
2.3 Gbps Peak Upload
Battle of Silicon Czars: Snapdragon 865 vs Dimensity 1000
Here, we have detailed our analysis using many key factors like benchmark results, official figures provided by companies, 5G affordability and more. Apart from that, we have also tried to explain a few complexities of SoC design so you get a nuanced idea about both the processors. And in case, if you want to know how the Snapdragon 865 fares against its outgoing predecessors (855+ and 855) and the Apple A13 Bionic, click on their respective links. That being said, let’s begin with CPU first.
As mentioned in the spec sheet, both the chipsets come with eight cores but have a slightly different configuration profile. The Snapdragon 865 uses its BIG-big-little architecture having a single A77 core at the max clock speed, three A77 cores clocked at slightly lower speed and four A55 power-efficient cores at base frequency. On the other hand, MediaTek deploys four high-performing A77 cores and four energy-efficient A55 cores with the maximum clock speed going up to 2.6GHz. Having said all of that, how does it translate to benchmark results and performance?
Well, MediaTek Dimensity scored a whopping 511,363 on the AnTuTu v8 benchmark test. As of now, we have not seen AnTuTu score for an 865 device to compare, but if we consider the last-gen 855+ SoC, it was already close to 500,000 on AnTuTu v8. So according to Qualcomm, with a 25% increase in performance on Snapdragon 865, the score should easily cross Dimensity 1000’s standing. All in all, the CPU on Snapdragon 865 will be better than Dimensity 1000 for sure, but MediaTek’s SoC is not a slouch either.
This year with Snapdragon 865, Qualcomm has done a great with its Adreno 650 GPU. The company claims that it has got a 25% performance bump and the best part is that the GPU draws 35% less power than its predecessor. That is seriously a great development for Qualcomm. Apart from that, there are many features like Adreno HDR Fast Blend, driver update from the Play Store, Elite Gaming experience, 144Hz display support and more.
Now moving to MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000, it’s using the upgraded Mali-G77 GPU by ARM. The GPU brings HyperEngine 2.0 feature which is designed to reduce latency during graphics-intensive tasks and for providing a smooth gameplay experience. And there is also support for high refresh rate displays up to 120Hz. Having said that, the Mali GPUs don’t have the best reputation when it comes to graphics performance and battery efficiency. However, we are slowly seeing improvements in this area.
If you consider the Redmi Note 8 Pro which comes with Mali-G76 (downgraded G77), it scored 2439 in 3D Mark Test. Whereas, a Snapdragon 855-powered device scored 3647. Keep in mind, here we are comparing a mid-ranger and a flagship device and yet the performance gap is surprisingly not that huge. So, of course, the Mali-G77 will be an upgrade over the G76 (MediaTek claims it’s 40%) and can become a serious challenge to the Adreno 650 GPU. However, we will have to wait and see how both the chips perform in real-life tests.
When it comes to 5G technology, both Snapdragon 865 and Dimensity 1000 are at the top of their game. While the Snapdragon 865 does not come with an integrated 5G module, the Dimensity 1000 comes with 5G support on the SoC itself. What it means is that there might be a difference in power efficiency because of a separate 5G add-on on 865 SoC. For long, experts have said that using a separate radio module may decrease the battery life. MediaTek claims that its integrated modem takes 49% less power than what the competition offers and that is simply huge. For this reason alone, Dimensity 1000’s integrated modem takes a lead ahead of Snapdragon X55 5G modem.
However, when you compare both the modems on the paper side by side, the X55 5G modem is far superior to Dimensity 1000’s modem. The X55 5G modem supports almost all the combinations of spectrum bands including 5G mmWave, sub-6 GHz, SA/NSA, TDD and FDD, LTE, 3G, and 2G as well. Basically, you are covered on every global network. Now if we consider Dimensity 1000’s integrated 5G modem, it supports Sub-6 GHz, SA/NSA, LTE and legacy modes like 3G and 2G. If you carefully look into it, the MediaTek 5G modem does not have support for the mmWave spectrum band which is touted to be the real 5G. However, the ground reality is quite different as there are hardly any countries that have covered the mmWave spectrum. So from a business perspective, the MediaTek 5G modem seems quite affordable and also practical for many developing markets.
When it comes to AI performance, Qualcomm has made improvements by leaps and bounds. With Snapdragon 865, you can perform a staggeringly 15 trillion AI operations per second. That number is absolutely bonkers and beyond any chip maker’s capacity. However, MediaTek is also progressing at a steady pace and with APU 3.0 (AI Processing Unit), the chip can perform 4.5 trillion operations per second- an increase of over 2.5x over the last-gen APU 2.0.
On top of that, it brings full support to Android Neural Network API so that developers can take full advantage of the dedicated AI processor. Snapdragon 865 also has a similar Tensor Accelerator which uses the TensorFlow library by Google to power a lot of Google apps using AI. Keeping all the points into consideration, it seems both the chipsets are ample powerful for day to day AI usage, but on paper, Snapdragon 865 is certainly way above the competition.
ISP (Image Signal Processor)
The Dimensity 1000 SoC has seen a dramatic improvement over the last-gen ISP and now it supports multi-exposure scene capturing and video bokeh. The ISP can record 4K HDR videos at 60FPS by capturing every three frames at different exposures. Further, it can re-create videos with excellent details and dynamic range in real-time. Apart from that, the 5-core ISP on Dimensity 1000 can capture still images of up to 80MP so that is quite a jump from previous generation chips.
Talking about Snapdragon 865’s ISP called the Spectra 480, it has seen a tremendous advancement within a year. Now, you can capture 8K videos at 30FPS and can take images of up to 200 megapixels. Apart from that, you can shoot 960FPS slow-motion videos at 720p resolution and without any restriction on time. All this is possible because of Qualcomm’s breakthrough in imaging called the Gigapixel technology. With this tech, the ISP on Snapdragon 865 can capture light at a staggering speed of up to 2 gigapixels per second. Putting all points in mind, it’s clear that Spectra 480 on the 865 SoC is much more powerful and advanced than what Dimensity’s 5-core ISP offers.
Snapdragon 865 vs Dimensity 1000: Which One Would You Pick?
So that was our detailed look into both the processors and how they fare out against each other. One can conclude that the Snapdragon 865 is better in all segments from CPU to AI performance. However, Dimensity 1000 is not far behind Qualcomm and puts up a respectable fight. I would say the Dimensity 1000 is an accomplished SoC in itself with 5G onboard and support for many advanced features like APU and HyperEngine. It seems the Dimensity 1000 is going to be the affordable 5G SoC for many OEMs if MediaTek keeps the price right. Anyway, that is all from us. But what do you think about the long-going war between Qualcomm and MediaTek? Tell us in the comment section below.