MediaTek first unveiled the Helio X30—its next-generation high-end SoC—last fall, but today at Mobile World Congress the Taiwanese company announced its commercial availability. The Helio X30 is entering mass production and should make its debut inside a mobile device sometime in Q2 2017.

The Helio X30, like the Helio X20 family before it, incorporates 10 CPU cores arranged in a Max.Mid.Min tri-cluster configuration. Two of ARM’s latest A73 CPU cores replace the two A72s in the Max cluster, which should improve performance and reduce power consumption. The Mid cluster still uses 4 A53 cores, but they receive a 10% frequency boost relative to the top-of-the-line Helio X27. In the X30’s Min cluster we find the first implementation of ARM’s most-efficient A-series core. The A35 consumes 32% less power than the A53 it replaces (same process/frequency), while delivering 80%-100% of the performance, according to ARM. With a higher peak frequency of 1.9GHz, the X30’s A35 cores should deliver about the same or better performance than the X20’s A53 cores and still consume less power.

MediaTek Helio X20 vs. Helio X30
SoC MediaTek
Helio X20
Helio X30
CPU 2x Cortex-A72 @2.1GHz

4x Cortex-A53 @1.85GHz

4x Cortex-A53 @1.4GHz
2x Cortex-A73 @2.5GHz

4x Cortex-A53 @2.2GHz

4x Cortex-A35 @1.9GHz
GPU ARM Mali-T880MP4
PowerVR 7XTP-MT4
2x 32-bit @ 933MHz LPDDR3

14.9GB/s b/w
4x 16-bit @ 1866MHz LPDDR4x

29.9GB/s b/w
Video Encode/
H.264 / HEVC w/HDR

2160p30 10-bit
H.264 / HEVC / VP9
H.264 / HEVC w/HDR / VP9

2160p30 10-bit
H.264 / HEVC / VP9
Camera/ISP Dual ISP
32MP @ 24fps (single camera)
13MP + 13MP @ 30fps (dual camera)
Dual 14-bit ISP
28MP @ 30fps (single camera)
16MP + 16MP (dual camera)
 LTE Category 6
DL = 300Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

UL = 50Mbps
1x20MHz CA, 16-QAM

 LTE Category 10
DL = 450Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

UL = 150Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM

Mfc. Process TSMC 20SoC (planar) TSMC 10nm FinFET

The Helio X30 will also be the first SoC to use TSMC’s 10nm process, which will offer significant power savings relative to TSMC’s 20nm planar process that the Helio X20 family uses. According to MediaTek, the X30 consumes 50% less power than the X20 when running an unspecified CPU workload and 60% less power when running GFXBench T-Rex. These power savings will increase battery life and improve sustained performance with less thermal throttling.

Alongside the Helio X30, MediaTek is launching CorePilot 4.0, which manages CPU frequency and task scheduling. Optimized for its unique tri-cluster CPU configuration, CorePilot keeps track of the SoC’s power budget by monitoring temperature, and the global task scheduler component is responsible for migrating tasks between clusters based on workload and user experience parameters, such as frames per second. It also adjusts CPU frequency using Fast DVFS technology that increases sampling rate, allowing for faster voltage/frequency adjustments that better follow changes in workload. The overall goal of CorePilot 4.0 is to achieve the best possible performance at the lowest power levels.

In a short presentation at its MWC booth Monday, Executive Vice President & Co-COO Jeffrey Ju stated that MediaTek expects only a limited number of phones to use the Helio X30, perhaps less than ten. He also mentioned that a low yield rate for TSMC’s 10nm process has delayed the X30’s availability. The X30 sounds compelling on paper, so it will be interesting to see how many design wins it can actually achieve.

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  • Ian Cutress - Monday, February 27, 2017 - link

    None have been announced, though you can bet Mediatek are either talking to partners already or using the announcement to actively solicit more interested parties.
  • Amandtec - Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - link

    Not Apple. Not Samsung. Anything out of Taiwan. Half of phones out of China.
  • vladx - Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - link

    I would bet on the next Le Eco phone.
  • zanza - Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - link

    Vernee Apollo 2 is the only phone confirmed with this chip. It looks very exciting, a shoulder to shoulder competitor to the Snapdragon 835, for much lower price. I just hope they are friendly with the mod community so they become more popualr.
  • iwod - Monday, February 27, 2017 - link

    Finally some PowerVR! No more Mali crap.
  • Krysto - Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - link

    Eh, the new Bifrost Mali architecture looks pretty good. I don't know how they compare, though.

    The more annoying thing about Mediatek is that it has kept using like the first Mali architecture for so long in its chips, and that one was indeed quite bad.
  • lolipopman - Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - link

    What an ignorant, laughable comment

    This year's Mali' is much faster than any of the other GPUs, it's going to be as powerful as the Tegta X1 GPU
  • jjj - Monday, February 27, 2017 - link

    Weird that they only push to 2.5GHz. Likely they do a X35 at 2.8GHz or something went wrong although, it was claimed at 2.8GHz just weeks ago at ISSCC.
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - link

    I suspect they're doing it to improve yield, releasing faster versions as the process matures.
  • jjj - Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - link

    Nah it's marketing , they launch it later,claim it's better and likely give Meizu exclusivity for a while again.

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