Qualcomm has a lot to catch up on.
Just a few weeks after Qualcomm announced their newest flagship chip (now on the Xiaomi 14 series), the third generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8, MediaTek threw their hat and then announced their competing chip, the Dimensity 9300. It sports specs that could shake Qualcomm’s own flagship series.
Before we continue with our comparison, let’s see what this flagship chip has to offer. The chipset is manufactured using a 4nm+ node from TSMC and uses a 4+4 architecture. This is usually less efficient than the 4+3+1 architecture but MediaTek is on a roll lately for making surprisingly efficient chips no matter the range, be it budget or flagships so we can trust them that the Dimensity 9300 is just as efficient if not more.
It uses Arm’s new Immortalis-G720 GPU. This series succeeds the popular Mali GPU for flagships. According to MediaTek, this new GPU has a 46% boost in performance versus the Dimensity 9200 while having the same level of power consumption. And on the same level of performance, there is a noticeable 40% decrease in power consumption versus the Dimensity 9200. It supports hardware-based ray tracing and it is said that this makes phones reach “console-level” in terms of shading and textures. Knowing how Apple made this same claim, we’re waiting until power users get a hold of the phone that uses this chip. Notably, the Vivo X100 or the Redmi K70.
In terms of photography, the Dimensity 9300 can record up to 4K HDR at 60fps. It natively supports 8K recording as well. It uses a variety of computational photography tools, such as 4K AI Noise Reduction, to improve video quality. It also natively supports Ultra HDR that’s also a new feature for Android 14.
Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4 are also supported in terms of connectivity. As for display, you can be sure to have up to WQHD resolutions and 180Hz refresh rates.
The first phone to use the chip is the Vivo X100 which will be released on November 13th. Consequently, the first phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is the Xiaomi 14 which was released back in October 27th.
Qualcomm in trouble?
With this new flagship chip released, there would definitely be comparisons against its rival, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Benchmark scores are already out for some devices in China but it is yet to reach global handsets. Also, based on the spec sheet alone, the Dimensity 9300 is far more powerful on every aspect apart from the ISP which Qualcomm still has a lead.
MediaTek claims in their testing that the Dimensity 9300 scored around 2,130,000 points in AnTuTu. This is a way higher score than what’s leaked on the OnePlus 12 with a score of 2,110,808. The OnePlus 12 is an upcoming flagship that uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. Knowing that this score is made by the company, there will be a high level of doubt but seeing the score above makes this target score very possible. It even surpassed it! The above images were taken from Weibo from trustworthy tipsters.
Qualcomm has set a trend for chipmakers in its flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 series for using a “1+3+4” architecture. However, things have switched around for the second generation as it now uses a “1+4+3” architecture which drops the small cores in exchange for a medium core.
This triple-layout architecture continues with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 but it’s heavily modified. Here, it’s a “1+5+2” architecture. This means there’s a single 3.3GHz Cortex-X4 big core, five Cortex-A720 medium cores, and two Cortex-A520 efficiency/small cores. The new chip heavily emphasises the medium cores to give out balanced efficiency and performance while also making it easier to optimize on handsets.
Meanwhile, the Dimensity 9300 is far more aggressive. The chip completely drops the little cores in exchange for four big cores (Cortex-X4) and four medium cores (Cortex-A720) while also using an improved 4nm+ node. The Qualcomm chip still uses the same 4nm node as the previous Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The L3 cache in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is larger too, now going for 12MB (versus 8MB from the SD8G2).
With that said, it seems like MediaTek has the performance advantage because it emphasises on larger cores while Qualcomm is still finnicky on doing this. However, the smaller core present on the Qualcomm chip makes it theoretically more efficient than the Dimensity chip.
In terms of ISP, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is in the lead. However, that’s because MediaTek did not disclose much details about the ISP used for the Dimensity 9300. The only information present are the 320MP single camera support, 4K HDR@60fps, and 8K@30fps. With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, you’ll be getting up to 200MP single camera, 108MP with Zero Shutter Lag, 64MP+36MP dual also with ZSL, triple 36MP with ZSL, and Dolby HDR Photo.
Both chipsets also support Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4 connectivity. Generative AI is also something that MediaTek boasts about and its new MediaTek 790 APU can generate images from stable diffusion at less than a second. Moreover, it process information 8x faster than the previous generation. Power consumption is also down by 45%. This beat the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 by a large 48% margin but we’re yet to see how it fares against the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 which also features an APU with generative AI and stable diffusion capabilities.
For now, everything we see is all theoretical, even the benchmark tests run by tipsters. However, it gives us a good idea on how well MediaTek competes against Qualcomm and how far they have beaten them. All we need to see now is real-life performance so we can determine a winner.