MediaTek will make its Helio X30 SoC on TSMC's 10-nm process

MediaTek will build its next high-end SoC, the X30, on TSMC's 10-nm FinFET process. The fabless semiconductor design firm's chief operating officer confirmed the move in an interview with EE Times China from late last month. In the same interview, MediaTek's COO also revealed that the company has chosen to pair an Imagination Technologies GPU with the X30 instead of ARM's next-generation Mali for power efficiency reasons. Phone Radar speculates the SoC will use two of ARM's Cortex-A73 high-end CPU cores, four Cortex-A53 cores, and two Cortex-A35 cores. The site also guesses the SoC will use an Imagination PowerVR Series7XT GPU.

This move (and Phone Radar's speculation) make sense given that ARM and TSMC have been publicly discussing their plans for 10-nm fabrication technology at least as far back as 2014. The duo revealed a 10-nm FinFET test chip in May to validate the Artemis CPU core, which we now know as the Cortex-A73. ARM also announced a new GPU, Mali-G71, alongside the Cortex-A73 at Computex, and it's interesting that MediaTek decided to go with an Imagination Technologies GPU instead of this new ARM IP block. If MediaTek is planning to use A73 cores in the Helio X10, we should expect to see that product some time between the end of this year and early 2017, going by ARM's guidance.

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