Is MediaTeks New Chip Truly Superior to Qualcomm Inc.s?

By Ashraf

According to analysts at UBS (via Barron's), many Chinese smartphone vendors are set to switch from Qualcomm's MSM8939 processor to MediaTek's MT6752 processor in upcoming smartphone designs. The UBS analysts claim this is because Qualcomm's design is inferior to MediaTek's.

It's worth digging in to see whether this claim holds up.

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Comparing the key features of both chipsIn the table below, I have listed the key specifications of both chips in order to provide a better sense of their capabilities:

Sources: Qualcomm and MediaTek product pages.

Right off the bat, I can see where UBS is coming from: The MediaTek chip has eight cores that can run at 1.7GHz, while Qualcomm's is an awkward configuration in which half the cores can run at 1.7GHz and the other half run at just 1.0GHz.

The two chips are probably evenly matched in multimedia capabilities (although I wish MediaTek would provide further details about the H.265 playback capabilities of the MT6752) and in modem speeds. Qualcomm's chip seems to have the edge in connectivity support (802.11ac versus the older 802.11n Wi-Fi standard) and in high-resolution camera support.

The open question, then, is how does Qualcomm's Adreno 405 compare with the Mali-T760 graphics processor found inside the MediaTek chip?

Looks like a win in MediaTek's compared the Adreno 405 in the Snapdragon 615 with the Mali-T760 in the MediaTek chip. One graphics benchmarkshowed the Adreno 405 and Mali-T760 evenly matched in 2D graphics performance, but the Mali-T760 edged out the Adreno 405 in 3Dgraphics performance. In CPU performance, the MediaTek chip predictably pulled ahead of the Snapdragon 615.

The UBS analysts appear correctIt seems to me the UBS analysts are correct in their assessment that the MediaTek MT6752 has a superior performing architecture to the Snapdragon 615. I would not be surprised if UBS was also correct in claiming Qualcomm is losing designs in the midrange of the smartphone market to MediaTek. In fact, Qualcomm's CEO Steve Mollenkopfpretty much admitted as such on its most recent earnings call [emphasis mine]:

Given that Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 610/615 for the midrange of the market in February 2014, I'd expect the company to announce their successors (as well as the rest of the Snapdragon lineup) at the Mobile World Congress early next month. Perhaps that will give Qualcomm a chance to strike back against MediaTek.

The article Is MediaTeks New Chip Truly Superior to Qualcomm Inc.s? originally appeared on

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of ARM Holdings and Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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