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MediaTek AI Engine Earns Top Marks

June 18, 2019

Author: Mike Demler

A custom AI engine is now standard for premium-smartphone processors, but for the Helio P90, MediaTek brought that trend to the “super-mid” price tier, which it calls the new premium. Chinese handset makers Black­more, Oppo, and Unefone use the chip in phones that sell for around $350, about one-third the price of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S10+. But according to the lat­est results on the AI Benchmark website, the P90’s cu­mu­la­tive score puts it at the top of the list, leap­frogging Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 855.

ETH Zurich’s AI Lab created the AI Benchmark tests. Version 2.1.2 focused on speed, putting Snapdragon ahead in most comparisons. Version 3.0.1, which arrived in March, added error (or accuracy) measurements; the P90 surpassed the 855 on every one of them, including by 25% on Inception v3 classification. The tests use Android 9.0 (Pie) hardware acceleration and the same TensorFlow Lite back end on all chips. Huawei, MediaTek, Qualcomm, and Samsung each support that operating system and neural-network framework.

MediaTek recently announced it plans to employ the next-generation APU 3.0 in its forthcoming 5G smartphone SoC, which is also the first announced design with Arm’s new top-of-the-line Cortex-A77 CPU and Valhall-based Mali-G77 GPU. It will manufacture the yet-to-be-named Helio processor using 7nm TSMC technology, but it withheld specifics on the CPU/GPU configuration and its choice of EUV or non-EUV processes.

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