Today MedaTek is making quite an unusual announcement: The company is the first to announce a SoC with an integrated 5G modem. Even more interesting is the fact that the new silicon is the first announced design to employ Arm’s brand-new Cortex-A77 cores and new Mali-G77 GPU that were both announced only two days ago.

The odd thing about today’s announcement is that this seems like a relatively early pre-announcement. MediaTek doesn’t divulge the actual product name of the new SoC nor does it go into detail of the specifications. What is divulged however is that the chipset is built on TSMC’s new 7nm process-node, and integrates MediaTek’s own Helio M70 modem IP.

The M70 modem supports 5G NR in the sub-6GHz spectrum with up to 2x carrier aggregation. The modem supports both standalone as well as non-standalone 5G network architectures. It’s to be noted that we won’t be seeing mmWave from MediaTek this early: In the markets that the company sees the SoC we won’t be seeing mmWave networks deployed for several more years, and in general the US is the odd one out with early mmWave deployments while the rest of the world focuses on sub-6GHz coverage.

The use of Arm’s new Cortex-A77 and Mali-G77 GPU means that the SoC will have the most up-to-date IP at release, something that MediaTek hasn’t been able to achieve in a few generations. Alongside the CPU and GPU, MediaTek will employ its third generation APU design, which uses the company own in-house IP.

Finally, the imaging capabilities of the SoC are said to have been greatly enhanced and now supports 4K60 decode and encode along with 80MP ISP capability.

We don’t know a lot more about the SoC, and exactly what product category its targeting, but we expect MediaTek to still largely target the mid-range. We should be seeing devices with the new SoC released in 2020.

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  • adamo1139 - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    A55 is very small in comparison to A75 or A77, so it doesn't cost much to integrate 2 more cores. A lot of phones few years ago were running on Snapdragon 400 with even worse A7, now snapdragon 625, which is widely used, does have just A53 cores, 8 of them. If they can run mid-range phone smoothly, and are used in things like RPi as primary cores, I don't think they are worth so little. Reply
  • levizx - Thursday, May 30, 2019 - link

    They are pretty much useless once the screen is on. 625 is in no way smooth nowadays. As small as it is, 6xA55 is still about the same size as dual A75, only the latter provides far superior performance at much lower power consumption. Reply
  • anonym - Thursday, May 30, 2019 - link

    I don't think so. If it true, you should prefer 2xA77+4xA75 or 6xA77 Reply
  • levizx - Thursday, May 30, 2019 - link

    This is obviously regarding highend to premium smartphones, you wouldn't expect 5G on anything else next year. RPi is irrelevant. Reply
  • jjj - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    Was wondering if it's a monolithic die or not but the language doesn't hint at anything but monolithic.
    If they are investing in latest cores on 7nm in line with MWC for retail, they might be aiming for high end.
    If it's not high end, it's harder to push 5G, cost and power are even more important but it might generate more revenue on much higher volumes if they get it right. Phones that retail for 200-300$ in China are pretty great and high volumes too.
    Reply
  • bradleymichaelj - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    Way to go MTK. Reply
  • tkSteveFOX - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    This is just MTK saying they've secured licenses for A77 and G77 and will integrate them in a solution with their M70 5G modem.
    Pretty sure we will see those new cores in at leats 2-3 designs by the end of 2019.
    By the end of the year TCMS's 7nm node will be suplemented by a better 7nm+ or even 6nm.
    MTK will be looking to continue their great relationship with Vivo and Oppo and provide fast and cheap chips for 100-300$ devices.
    Reply
  • Tech4ubox - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    There are only a few players in the market - Qualcomm, MediaTek, Exynos and Hisilicon. In these four SOC manufacturers, Qualcomm & MediaTek does not belong to any smartphone manufacturer,

    https://www.tech4ubox.com/2019/05/mediatek-5g-soc-...
    Reply
  • amosbatto - Monday, June 10, 2019 - link

    Sorry to nitpick, but you forgot Apple, Xiaomi's Surge, UNISOC (formerly Spreadtrum), plus tablets that don't need a cellular baseband use nVidia Tegra, Amlogic, Rockchip and Allwinner. The most interesting phone that will be coming out this year in my opinion is the Purism Librem 5, which uses the NXP i.MX 8M Quad and a cellular modem in an M.2 slot.

    I wonder if Anandtech will cover the Librem 5. It seems to not care about the specialty hardware companies.
    Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    Mediatek has the unfortunate habit of only having a few (as in 2 or 4) graphics cores, which contributes to it's products being usually chosen for their low prices, not their performance. Would be nice if they surprise us this time around! Reply

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