(Engadget) – When MediaTek first launched an octa-core mobile processor back in late 2013, many folks — including Qualcomm — called it a gimmick, but said feature has since become quite popular amongst device manufacturers, to the point where Qualcomm eventually had to come up with its very own octa-core offerings. Just to stay one step ahead of others, MediaTek is now prepping the launch of a deca-core aka 10-core chip dubbed the Helio X20, which will succeed the octa-core Helio X10 (MT6795) that’s already powering HTC’s Asia-only One M9+ plus several upcoming Chinese flagship phones. MediaTek is sampling its new chip in Q3, and the first commercial devices to use it will arrive as early as end of this year.
While ten cores may seem an overkill, the 20nm Helio X20 is actually more about its “Tri-Cluster” architecture that consists of two 2.5GHz Cortex-A72 cores, four 2GHz Cortex-A53 cores and four 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 cores. So basically, on the CPU side the Helio X20 is very much a Helio X10 with two more Cortex-A72 cores, but with the original eight Cortex-A53 cores running on slightly lower speeds.
Finbarr Moynihan, MediaTek’s General Manager of International Corporate Sales, analogized the addition of a third CPU cluster to having an extra gear in a car, in order to improve its fuel efficiency across different terrains. In other words, there’s no longer a sudden jump from the low-power cluster to its high-power counterpart, so you get a better overall curve across the power-performance spectrum. This also allows the low-power cluster to go even lower in terms of power required, and the high-power one to be even more powerful — hence the use of Cortex-A72 instead of yet more Cortex-A53 cores.