The most significant debate of the decade is perhaps on SOCs of smart devices. Is Qualcomm producing the better chips or MediaTek is killing it? The discussion cannot be answered in a simple yes or no assertion. We will have to dig in very deep. We will have to defragment all the components and judge the purpose. This will allow us to gain a clear conception of the Silicon Giants. So, please stick with us till the end of the war between MediaTek Vs. Snapdragon is going to be epic!
The World of Tech and Smartphones
Day by day, techs are evolving at lightning speed. The phones which we knew a decade before are now entirely different. Smartphones are ruling the era now. The phone had a singular concept. It was meant to make calls and connect people. But now, these are way beyond that. Now, people are doing almost everything on their smartphones.
And As you all know, when the consumption rises sky high, innovation raises the lever at the same passion. Now, smartphone companies are firing on all cylinders, making fast and innovative decisions. As a result, the tech is also getting faster and smarter. Who would have thought that at some point shortly, people would scan their faces to unlock their phones? If I could travel back in time and say this fact to the people, they will surely laugh at me. But this has been the case! People are flying, thanks to technology and science.
Perhaps the most significant advancement in the tech world is seen in the smartphone industry. So, before going deep, the initial question should be, what is a smartphone? The answer is not simple nowadays. But after doing good research, I can say that a smartphone is a device that is capable of multitasking, allowing the consumer to choose a specific task from a wide range of options and also establish communication with the world. This is probably the closes illustration or purpose of a smartphone.
A smartphone, like any other computing device, has some necessary infrastructures.
Components of a Smartphone
There are three essential components of a smartphone. The details are peripherals, processing unit, and memory unit. The peripherals the pieces that interact directly with the consumers. The touch screen, the sensors, the speakers and microphones, buttons, and cameras; all of them are considered as peripherals.
The memory unit is where the data is stored or delivered when need to the processing unit. Any information that needs to be stored or temporarily halted comes to this particular unit.
Now, the processing unit is probably the main attraction for today. It is considered as the brain of the phone itself. It judges all the factors and also carries out all the instructions given by the consumer. On the other hand, it also performs some simultaneous tasks that are unknown to the consumer. This is done to ensure the smooth running experience of the device.
The primary mechanism of a smartphone is that first, we will insert a specific command using the peripherals. The processing unit carries out these commands. The memory unit stores or temporarily hold essential data.
Processing Unit and SOCs
Speaking of the processing unit, the core mechanism or plan of the company is to process data. Now, is the processing unit of a conventional computer and a smartphone remains the same? The answer is no. Both the architecture are different from each other. The CPU of the smartphones are known as SOCs. Or Systems on Chips. This is entirely different from conventional CPUs.
SOCs are versatile. This chip contains a lot more than you think. For instance, it includes the processing cores, the network modules, camera and image processing modules, and a lot more. Ever wondered why different phones or previous versions did not have a 4G network? Because their SOCs did not contain the correct networking module.
Now, the big fight started as the SOC market started to pick up the pace. Until a point of time, the companies that produce phones did not bother to spend in SOCs that much. But after the smartphone evolution, the companies pulled up their socks and are running to gain the ultimate speed. Hence, the SOC industry boomed up the order. Now, Apart from Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, all the major companies rely on two significant silicon tech giants. One is the Taiwan Company, MediaTek, and the other is the Qualcomm. The war is between them. As we speak, the brawl between MediaTek Vs. Snapdragon continues.
Samsung also used Qualcomm chipsets, but the majority of their products comes with their in house processors, the Exynos. On the other hand, Apple makes its chipsets, which are the fastest in the business. The Karen of Huawei is proved to be a good processing chipset for their smartphones. Other than that, the majority of the companies are wrestling in the MediaTek Vs. Snapdragon battle.
MediaTek and Their MT Chipsets
Taiwan is well known for its silicon evolution and silicon industries. From the very lands comes the tech giant MediaTek. No matter what SOC you pick, all of the, concentrates on one core technology, ARMs. MediaTek has a rigid principle. ‘Why change anything when it is running smoothly?!’ might be the critical list of them. That is why they don’t mess with the tech of the ARMs. So, they use conventional cores for their chipsets.
This has proven to be a success charm for the company as they are selling a considerable amount of chipsets every year. The major customers are prominent companies that are in a constant battle between them. The majority of the smartphones in the mid ranges are the proud consumers of the SOCs that MediaTek is providing. And the results are not dissatisfying! Today, MediaTek is holding the majority of the market as it is selling in a larger unit number with a less amount of profit. This is pretty unique and affordable at the same time.
Qualcomm and Snapdragon
Qualcomm is perhaps the ‘Posh’ SOC manufacturing company in the market now. As we speak, the ‘Posh’ term means that the company manufactures SOCs that are not for the low-end price range. Qualcomm proudly raids the market with its signature Snapdragon processors. These also obey the fundamentals of the ARMs cores. But the twist in the tale is that they are experimental in their approach. To be more specific, they tend to change this and that in the traditional ARM cores and customizes them for maximum output.
That is why their cores are more advanced and power-efficient. The Cortex Cores are the basic ARM cores, but after modification, Qualcomm makes them faster. These are known as Kryo cores. The chipsets have higher price tags and also delivers higher performance. Thus all the companies cannot just pick one Snapdragon and use it in their phones. Typically, the higher mid-range or the flagships are often seen to use these chipsets. Thanks to the innovation and cutting edge technology, these cores can generate an awful lot of speed in much more efficient and lower energy distribution.
But, as these are not cheap, the chipset has a lesser selling rate than MT chipsets. But I am expensive, drives more profit. So, rather than quantity, Qualcomm believes in quality.
Two different companies and two different price points and market targets. So, how can we possibly pick one which will be the ultimate king? Who will be the winner in the MediaTek Vs..? Snapdragon war? Only time will tell as we move on to the article even further.
So, as we go deep into the MediaTek Vs. Snapdragon war, we approach to the CPU architecture. In SOCs, the basic technology has a good foundation. And that is ARMs cores. If you do not know, this is for you guys. The processor has some cores, which essentially does the processing. In SOCs, the cores divide all the tasks in between them. The seamless division helps the device to run smoothly and efficiently. This core architecture depends on ARMs.
MediaTek uses Cortex Cores. These are stock cores that are following ARMs tech in every step. But Qualcomm odes not try to be on the safer side. They use this tech, yes, but slightly modifies it. That means, to increase the speed and efficiency, the ARMs cores are engineered and modified.
That is why they have different architecture. This is the USP or the unique selling point for Snapdragon processors.
Graphics Processing Unit
After acquiring AMD’s Radeon Graphics manufacturing wing, Qualcomm started to make high-class GPUs to support their processing units. Their integrated GPUs are known as Adreno. They have not been very vocal about their tech behind the awesome graphics processing. But one thing is sure that, these GPUs tend to power up the processing speed up to 20% in the flagship chipsets.
On the other hand, the Mali Graphics processing unit is pretty much basic. But recent reports claim that the amount of detailing in the graphics targeting the laptop-like performance in the phones. But the actual picture is due to the near future.
All that matters today is that both of the companies are excelling in their tech for better performance. But Qualcomm is spending a couple of hours more in rethinking the architecture. Nonetheless, the main list of serving the devices with sheer speed and performance is fulfilled at lightning speed.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The next big thing in the world will be Artificial Intelligence. Machine learning is not a new term for us anymore. The process of machine learning important aspects all by themselves is pretty complex. But day by day, things are getting into the right places.
Thus machines are recognizing materials and objects much faster and efficiently. As SOCs, the chips have a dedicated machine learning modules. For Snapdragon, the top end chipsets offer the top-end Hexagon 685 DSP entitled to machine learning. This makes the chipsets fast in image recognition and other biometrics that are done offline.
Day by day, the dependency on machine language and Artificial intelligence are surging, and the SOC Giants are the forerunner of the race. Speaking of Giant’s MediaTek, unlike Qualcomm, has a different approach. As Qualcomm has a dedicated module IN the SOCs, MediaTek has dedicated APUs or Artificial Processing Units. That means it has a dedicated component that does all the hard work in machine language.
Both of them have a different approach, yet solving the same problem. But the main question is, which one is better?
Who is the Best?
I suppose this is a tough question to deal with. Let us break it down for us. The Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets are for better speed and better performance. Thanks to the modified architecture and fast-forwarding approach. On the other hand, MediaTek has a solid market hold as they are making good quality chipsets in affording price range.
The MediaTek Vs. Snapdragon debate is indeed intense. So, it is hard to pick the winner. The purpose of the list of companies is pretty different from each other.
Thus we cannot pick the ultimate winner. But in plain eyesight, Qualcomm is more into innovation. They are like the crafters who tend to craft their way. This might be the winning factor if they successfully make the chipsets in a competitive price range. But neither Qualcomm is making such, nor can we declare them the ultimate winner.
Wrapping Things off!
So, MediaTek Vs. Snapdragon was indeed a fine face-off. Both of them are ruling the market and playing according to their strengths. The healthy competition between them is crucial for technological advancement. History claims that, whenever there is the pressure of competition, men have battled their way out to clinch victory.
So, that was all for me today. I hope you guys have enjoyed every bit of it. Do let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Till then, Adios!