On November 22, Qualcomm released its latest flagship mobile phone processor, the Snapdragon 835. The specific parameters have not yet been disclosed, but the main selling point of the 10nm process is confirmed. Before Qualcomm, Huawei also released the latest flagship processor HiSilicon 960, which has a 180% increase in graphics performance compared to the previous generation, which makes up for the lack of GPU performance. After talking about Qualcomm HiSilicon, MediaTek has to be mentioned here. There will also be a new processor released in November, but it is a 16nm P20 processor.
has always been in the chip competition. At the same time, MediaTek's performance is not as good as Qualcomm, and it lags behind the former in process technology, making the road to high-end extremely difficult. Today, the highly advancing HiSilicon can already rival Qualcomm in performance, and MediaTek’s highly anticipated Helio x30 has no clear specifications yet. In the 10nm nuclear war, all three have their own strategies.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 10nm debut with obvious advantages
Qualcomm's processor performance has always been good. To be honest, even if the latest Snapdragon 835 uses Samsung's 14nm, it still has a considerable advantage over HiSilicon MediaTek. 10nm can only better help Qualcomm consolidate its position as the leader of mobile phone chips. The cooperation between Qualcomm and Samsung is also the main reason why the editor believes that MediaTek has fallen behind in the competition.
Prior to 2014, Qualcomm has been a major customer of TSMC and has been helping TSMC to develop more advanced processes. However, in 2014, TSMC gave priority to Apple and supplied its most advanced 20nm process to Apple to produce A8 processors. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 mass production time delay did not have enough time to optimize, which indirectly caused the Snapdragon 810 heat problem. The same problem has also appeared in HiSilicon, HiSilicon adopts 16nm process, but TSMC also prioritizes the production of A9 processors by Apple, a major customer, which has caused HiSilicon 950 to delay shipments.
In 2017, Apple is still TSMC’s largest customer. According to industry insiders, Apple’s A10X processor is highly likely to adopt the 10nm process. At that time, MediaTek may encounter the fate of being overwhelmed by the production line, and delayed shipments may be staged on the Helio x30.
In addition to the risk of delayed shipments, MediaTek will also face the issue of energy efficiency optimization in the early stage of the new process. In the previous 16nm process development, TSMC rushed to mass-produce 16nm in the second half of 2014, but found that the energy efficiency was not even as good as its 20nm, so it stepped up research and development of the 16nmFinFET process, but the 16nmFinFET process has repeatedly delayed and finally mass production in the third quarter of last year. According to previous lessons, whether its current 10nm or even 7nm process can be mass-produced as scheduled, and whether the process energy efficiency can be greatly improved compared with 16nm FinFET, these are all questions.
The strategy of people coming
Maybe it is facing the shipment delay and early process energy efficiency issues, HiSilicon 960 continues to choose 16nm for steady upgrade, the process is mature, and the terminal shipment is fast. The Kirin 960, which has been greatly improved in performance, is also popular among consumers, and the Huawei Mate 9 equipped with the Kirin 960 was also sold in stock in November. The latest news also shows that Huawei HiSilicon also has a 10nm Kirin 970 ready to launch, but compared to MediaTek, Huawei has the Kirin 960 to take the lead and can wait for the release and maturity of 10nm capacity more leisurely.
MediaTek planned the Helio x30 long ago, and is desperate to use 10nm, hoping to make a turnaround. It seems that MediaTek’s calculation may not be so satisfactory now. It is also worth noting that China Mobile requires mobile phones with more than 2,000 yuan to be stored on October 1 to support LTE Cat 7 or more. At present, we have also seen the two dark horses OPPO and OPPO and Vivo has replaced the Snapdragon core. If the Helio x30 is delayed, MediaTek’s high-end market will be handed over. At the end of the month, Meizu will release the new Helio P20. The Internet reveals that the new phone of the Meizu Blue series, combined with Meizu’s product positioning, must be no more than 2000 yuan. , So there is reason to believe that MediaTek should not support Cat 7 chip before Helio x30.
At this moment, MediaTek has become an ant on the hot pot, limited by performance and policy, MTK may be the most anxious in this 10nm nuclear war. Now I can only pray for the success of its partner TSMC and give more consideration to local teammates in capacity allocation.