OPINION: Hot on the heels of Qualcomm’s reveal of the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in late October, MediaTek this week revealed its top-end chipset that it hopes will be used in flagship phones in 2024: the MediaTek Dimensity 9300. Amazingly, it’s even more capable than Qualcomm’s option but sadly, it doesn’t really matter to us in the Western market.
Qualcomm wowed the smartphone world with its announcement of the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. It boasts all the usual smartphone gains you’d expect like a 30% speed boost in the CPU department, 25% improved GPU performance and a whopping 98% jump in the NPU department, but it took it a step further by introducing on-device generative AI capabilities.
That essentially means that the chipset can handle ChatGPT-style tasks like writing emails or generating new images using stable diffusion, all on-device and without the need for an internet connection. It claims it can work at up to 15 TOPS (Tokens Per Second, essentially how fast the on-device AI can perform) on Meta’s Llama 2 language model.
Considering most current Gen AI activities require an internet connection, thus reducing your privacy and how it can be used, it’s a huge step forward, and Qualcomm has provided a number of new AI tools for manufacturers to implement in 2024 flagships using the chipset.
I’ll be honest, when I settled down into the MediaTek Dimensity 9300 media briefing, I was expecting it to pale in comparison to the 8 Gen 3’s might – but I was pleasantly surprised, if not totally shocked.
That’s because MediaTek claimed that its chipset beats the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in early CPU and GPU benchmark tests based on results published by Qualcomm at the Snapdragon Summit. That’s largely down to the chipset architecture, with MediaTek taking a wildly different approach to Qualcomm with its all-new ‘Big Core’ chip design.
Essentially, rather than having a smattering of cores like the 8 Gen 3’s combination of a prime core, five performance cores and two efficiency cores, the Dimensity 9300 boasts one ultra-large core for performance and four efficiency cores.
That represents gains of 40% in the CPU department, and the new ARM Immortalis-G720 GPU boasts a 46% boost, with MediaTek claiming that it doesn’t have adverse effects on battery efficiency, as you can essentially toggle the ultra-large core to get the job done quicker and more efficiently than multiple lower powered cores could.
Those impressive gains also translate to AI performance, with the Dimensity 9300 also capable of on-device Gen AI capabilities at an impressive 20 TOPS that beats the 15 TOPS of the 8 Gen 3.
It looks to be an incredibly capable chipset then but sadly, it doesn’t really matter as it almost certainly won’t be used by any flagship smartphone in the Western market. Why? Because that’s essentially what happened with this year’s flagship chipset, the Dimensity 9200.
That’s not to say that MediaTek’s mobile chips aren’t used in any Western smartphones. The Oppo Find N2 Flip sports the Dimensity 9000+, while the Motorola Edge 40 sports the Dimensity 8020 – it’s just the top-end chipsets that are a rare sight.
In fact, in 2023, Trusted Reviews only tested two phones with the flagship-level Dimensity 9200 and overclocked 9200+ – the Vivo X90 Pro and Xiaomi 13T Pro – and the former wasn’t even officially available to buy in the UK.
Drilling this home further, MediaTek didn’t seem too optimistic about the Dimensity 9300 making its way to Western-focused smartphones in the media pre-brief of the chipset, failing to mention a manufacturer using the chipset in the coming months.
Compared to Qualcomm, which proudly revealed that prominent brands including Xiaomi would use the 8 Gen 3 in the Xiaomi 14, it certainly doesn’t bode well for MediaTek’s future in the Western market.
So, while it seems as though the MediaTek Dimensity 9300 will deliver the best performance of any 2024 mobile chipset, it doesn’t really matter to anybody outside of MediaTek’s core Asian market – and that’s a massive shame.