Report: MediaTek SoCs could adopt Radeon graphics

MediaTek is one of the biggest SoC providers around. It currently offers a deep lineup of smartphone and tablets chips that pair ARM CPU cores with graphics based on either ARM's Mali tech or Imagination Technologies' PowerVR hardware. Now, the rumor mill suggests future MediaTek processors could incorporate Radeon graphics from AMD.

"Industry sources" cited by Fudzilla claim that AMD and MediaTek "have been working on an SoC graphics solution for a while." The site says the two companies are in "continuous contact," but it couldn't get either one to confirm the collaboration. There's also no word on when the product of this reported partnership could arrive.

As Fudzilla points out, MediaTek pulls from the same pool of off-the-shelf GPUs available to other firms. Access to potent Radeon graphics could help it compete with Nvidia and Qualcomm, which both have in-house graphics IP. MediaTek wouldn't necessarily have exclusive access to Radeon tech, though.

If accurate, the Fudzilla report sounds like good news for AMD. MediaTek is the number-two SoC maker for mobile devices according to market share data published by Jon Peddie Research last year. The firm mostly produces budget-oriented chips, and its products seem to be particular popular in China. AMD probably wouldn't mind a slice of the action, especially since its own SoCs have struggled to gain a foothold in the mobile space.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    Wait a minute. Are they gonna cram the same Radeon cores that they’re using with Kabini in there? Aren’t those parts designed for higher TDPs? Would scaling them to fit the power budget of mobile phones be enough to make them competitive in terms of performance/watt? I’m asking because I recall Nvidia’s first mobile products not being very good when they first started making Tegra chips. Just because a design works well on desktops doesn’t mean it’ll do well at lower power applications, and just because a company makes fast desktop graphics doesn’t mean they can simply take those circuits, put them inside an SOC, and expect them to be great. They can turn the knob down to fit the TDP but how would it compare to other designs that were built for mobile from scratch? AMD doesn’t even compare very well to Nvidia in the desktop space in terms of perf/watt. How would Radeon do against mobile-centric designs?

    Also, if they are going to make Radeon run inside a Mediatek SoC, how does that play out with Qualcomm, who took a bite off AMD in the form of their mobile graphics (Adreno)?

    • John59
    • 5 years ago

    So we have Intel in their X3 line of CPUs using ARM IP in Mali and now MediaTek an ARM POP License holder potentially using AMD GPU tech. Interesting. Although probably not that surprising seeing as AMD are working on their own line of integrated ARM CPUs.

    Having recently been using the AMD Mullins 6400 T CPU in the HP Stream 14 laptop I find myself quite impressed with what an integrated SOC can do. Yes this is 2.8W, 4.5 TDP so higher than you would expect in a telephone but probably not unrealistic for a higher end tablet. Yes this is an X86 CPU but at this level A72 would most likely be comparable performance wise and no real need to run legacy X86 (Windows) applications.

    I would imagine that compared to MALI and Adreno, AMD will be able to produce at least equal or better performance given the same power envelope and will be aiming at NVIDIA levels of performance with TEGRA.

    I would not be surprised to see set top boxes akin to the shield console running Android TV over the coming months at considerably cheaper that $199 price point.

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    Personally, I’m totally fine with Mediatek. Couldn’t care less whether or not those ARM cores in there are custom-designed by Qually or Jensen. Stock cores work well enough and as long as Mediatek puts in strong stock cores like A57 or high-clocked A15s, I don’t see a problem. Put in decent Mali graphics and I’m in. Adreno is fine too if they’ll make Mediatek SOCs do better. Just stick to your low pricing, Mediatek.

    • Archer
    • 5 years ago

    Round #2 of AMD fiddling around in the mobile graphics space. But, yikes, Mediatek? They are the Cyrix of the mobile world. If this is the only date that AMD can get to the prom, things are even more dismal for them than I thought.

      • NTMBK
      • 5 years ago

      At least they got a date; NVidia is sat at home, all dressed up with nowhere to go.

        • entropy13
        • 5 years ago

        “All dressed up with nowhere to go” yet they’re the ones that are actually already in the mobile market for years now…

          • NTMBK
          • 5 years ago

          Does it still count as “in the market” when the only people who will make a Tegra device is, um, NVidia?

            • DreadCthulhu
            • 5 years ago

            While they haven’t got a ton of design wins, there are some non-Nvidia products using its current Tegra K1 chips – the Nexus 9, the Xiaomi Miipad, some Acer & HP Chromebooks, and a few others.

            • entropy13
            • 5 years ago

            Not to mention that there’s even a local brand here in the Philippines offering Tegra-powered tablets.

      • _ppi
      • 5 years ago

      While MediaTek is the cheap SoC producer, it is also an ambitious one. And not without good reason:
      – They have access to the same process tech as anybody else
      – Their CPU is based on stock ARM, as currently anyone else’s except Apple
      – They now have LTE built-in
      What nVidia and Qualcomm currently have better is mainly the GPU. So … it could be win-win for both. Or MediaTek stealing AMD’s GPU tech.

      Furthermore, given the success of 980/970, where nVidia claimed they leared a lot about GPU efficiency from their Tegra lines, for AMD this could be reasonable way to cover R&D costs to significantly improve thier desktop GPU power efficiency.

      • Concupiscence
      • 5 years ago

      They’re Cyrix if Cyrix actually made money…

    • ronch
    • 5 years ago

    Not too optimistic this will help AMD a lot financially. They have a history of being paid too low and paying too high. Maybe they should learn how to better negotiate.

      • Deanjo
      • 5 years ago

      Queue Mediatek buying out AMD’s graphics division in 3…2…

    • blastdoor
    • 5 years ago

    Wait, what? I thought you had to pay $5 billion in order to access ATI GPU IP. You mean you can just license it without actually taking over the company? Oh dip…

      • SmartCookie
      • 5 years ago

      Don’t worry, it’s not like AMD had to sacrifice an arm and a leg for such deal and is now dependent on the goodwill of third party fabs to even dream of being competitive with Intel… Right?

    • tks
    • 5 years ago
      • swaaye
      • 5 years ago

      Oh yeah because no doubt a deal with Chinese Mediatek will bring in mucho bucks, right? Look how amazingly well their deals with Nintendo, Sony and MS are propping them up. More like they are slowly slipping beneath the surface of the water.

        • sschaem
        • 5 years ago

        Without those deals AMD would have been bankrupt long ago.
        It got them well over 450 million in profit in the last 2 years…

        This deal might not be huge, but it might help pay L. Su 2015 bonus ?
        And this is good, because AMD wont have to borrow even more money , and go deeper into debt, to fund all the lavish AMD VPs compensations.

          • Deanjo
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]Without those deals AMD would have been bankrupt long ago.[/quote<] Not necessarily. Had AMD maintained their fabs and concentrated on CPU development instead of dipping their toes into every arena they might have done very well.

          • swaaye
          • 5 years ago

          She’s brilliant. Let her have her private island, jets, 13 homes, etc.

    • nico1982
    • 5 years ago

    More or less like Qualcomm, then 😀

      • tks
      • 5 years ago
        • nico1982
        • 5 years ago

        It was a joke, ence the smile 😀

          • UberGerbil
          • 5 years ago

          Yes, good job, I was going to make a similar comment/joke but you beat me to it.

    • the
    • 5 years ago

    AMD has been able to remain competitive in the discrete GPU space by aggressive price cuts and not being afraid to increase power consumption to get a little more performance. How much that matters in the PC space is debatable but power consumption is critical to the mobile space. Performance/watt doesn’t matter if you can’t get fit below the maximum power consumption allowed for mobile. It took several years for nVidia and even Intel to learn this lesson. AMD will likely fair better here as they’re not the ones make the platform decisions: MediaTek is and they fully understand the mobile and embedded SoC markets.

    Now for more embedded/industrial usage where an SoC isn’t tethered to a battery, Radeon based graphics would be an excellent choice.

      • Leader952
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Performance/watt doesn't matter if you can't get fit below the maximum power consumption allowed for mobile. It took several years for nVidia and even Intel to learn this lesson. AMD will likely fair better here as they're not the ones make the platform decisions: MediaTek is and they fully understand the mobile and embedded SoC markets.[/quote<] What? You state that AMD cannot supply a power efficient mobile GPU to MediaTek but somehow MediaTek will wave a magic wand and make it power efficient because they understand mobile and embedded SoC markets. If AMD's mobile GPU is not efficient in performance/watt then no amount of understanding of mobile and embedded by MediaTek can change that.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    Hardware integration issues aside, one major puzzle piece to make this worthwhile is drivers: Can AMD get decent Android drivers working for their mobile GPUs?

      • NTMBK
      • 5 years ago

      They were meant to be shipping 20nm Android SoCs this year, so one would hope they were working on drivers for them.

      • tks
      • 5 years ago
        • chuckula
        • 5 years ago

        Uh… that’s an assertion without strong supporting evidence.
        Nvidia has been providing first-class Linux support for over a decade.
        AMD has been… uh.. well… usually you can get X11 running if you intentionally don’t run the newest version because AMD refuses to support it. Oh, and don’t buy new AMD hardware and expect it to actually work. Wait at least 6 months.

        [url<]http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=metro-redux-22gpus&num=5[/url<] [quote<]Like with Metro 2033 Redux, the Metro Last Light Redux numbers on AMD Catalyst 14.12 were severely crippled... All of the tested AMD hardware was just delivering 10~20 FPS averages while the NVIDIA graphics cards ran fine on their latest proprietary Linux graphics driver.[/quote<]

          • tks
          • 5 years ago
            • cheesyking
            • 5 years ago

            Except that their Windows drivers haven’t been anything to shout about either. Granted they’re not as terrible as their Linux ones but it’s not as easy to keep pushing out driver updates in the kinds of OSs that run these SOCs so they kind of have to get it right first time.

            That isn’t really something they have a good history of.

            I really hope they can get their act together on Linux drivers but it is a weak spot in their cunning plan.

            • tuxroller
            • 5 years ago

            Luckily the oss radeon driver, both r600 and r600si, are in good shape, and have completely closed the performance gap in SOME cases while being vastly more stable. At this point, the work comes down to squeezing out the remaining 20%, in some cases.

            • Concupiscence
            • 5 years ago

            The big hurdle for the OSS driver is getting the feature set to OpenGL 4.x-level. I’ll be interested to see how Vulkan support shapes up there, too.

            • _ppi
            • 5 years ago

            Android uses OpenGL, right? glNext = Vulkan is based on Mantle and uses OpenCL 2.1 compiler. AMD is quite ahead of nVidia here.

      • Leader952
      • 5 years ago

      Does AMD even have a LOW Power usage mobile GPU with decent performance compared to what is already available from other vendors?

        • NTMBK
        • 5 years ago

        Well, they’ve been fiddling with making GCN more power efficient for a while now; adaptive voltage, framebuffer compression to reduce memory power consumption, and so on. Not sure how competitive it will be though.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This