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Old 01-30-2013, 07:58 AM   #1
android_master
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Smile How powerful is the new Quad-core Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT6589 processor ?

Hello everyone.

Indian Mobile Giant "Micromax" recently launched their 2013 Android flagship smartphone, Micromax A116. Smartphone is powered by a quad core processor.

Talking about the processors, Micromax A116 has the MediaTek MT6589 processor, which the company claims is the world’s first commercially viable quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC. The MT6589 has four Cortex-A7 cores, clocking in at 1.2GHz, and uses a PowerVR Series 5XT GPU.

Anyone out here can please comment on how much powerful this MT6589 is, given that it is powered by a quad core A7.

I was referring to this ARM's Cortex A7: Bringing Cheaper Dual-Core & More Power Efficient High-End Devices & one thing is clear, it is battery efficient, but is it powerful enough?
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:09 AM   #2
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is it powerful enough?
Welcome to the forum, AndroidMaster.

The question is- powerful enough for what? What will you be using this phone for? Is it going to be mainly for texting, phone calls, a bit of browsing and maybe watching a few videos? Or are you going to be running intensive software, like 3D gaming?
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:10 AM   #3
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At 1.2 Ghz you can probably expect performance nearing the A9 at 1Ghz I believe, though probably not quite there.

For reference this is slower than Say Tegra 3, however its not terrible. I dont imagine the normal everyday user having a large problem with it.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, AndroidMaster.

The question is- powerful enough for what? What will you be using this phone for? Is it going to be mainly for texting, phone calls, a bit of browsing and maybe watching a few videos? Or are you going to be running intensive software, like 3D gaming?
Thank you for prompt reply, been following AnandTech website from a long time but surprisingly was not aware about this forum.

Yes, precisely for Gaming & multimedia, games like Pitfall, temple run 2 and occasionally games like NFS Most Wanted & Nova 3, will it be able to play these games. Compare to say Samsung Galaxy S2, how it will perform in this regard?
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:38 AM   #5
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At 1.2 Ghz you can probably expect performance nearing the A9 at 1Ghz I believe, though probably not quite there.

For reference this is slower than Say Tegra 3, however its not terrible. I dont imagine the normal everyday user having a large problem with it.
So how do you think it compares against say HTC One X which is Tegra 3 & Samsung Galaxy S2 which has a Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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So how do you think it compares against say HTC One X which is Tegra 3 & Samsung Galaxy S2 which has a Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9
Considerably slower, I'm afraid to say. It may have four cores compared to the S2's dual cores, but each of those cores is much slower. The A7 is a sort-of-dual issue in order architecture, whereas the A9 is out of order and fully dual issue. It's like the difference between a Pentium I and a Pentium II at the same clockspeeds.

I strongly doubt that the A7 will be powerful enough to play games at a speed you would be happy with.

The One X has four A9 cores at 1.5GHz, and is clearly the fastest of the three.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:41 AM   #7
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It is a limited metric, but here is the DMIPS/MHz rating of various arm processors. (Think of DMIPS/Mhz as IPC when you have 30% higher DMIPS/Mhz the processor is 30% faster.)

ARM
1.25- Arm11 (an aging arm processor the first iphone and iphone 3G were arm 11)
1.90 Cortex A7 (new processor, uses very little energy and die space and gives about the speed of a cortex A8, great for cheap cpus and works with big.LITTLE)
2.00- Cortex A8 (processor came out for iphone 3Gs and Iphone 4, top of the line processor 3 to 4 years ago.)
2.50- Cortex A9 (was king of the hill till last year)
3.50- Cortex A15 (soon to be king of the hill, it has only yet appeared in nexus 10 and chromebooks but soon it will be in a lot of devices due to Samsung and Nvidia pushing it.)

Custom Arm Chips
2.10- Qualcomm Scorpion (came out about the same time as Cortex A8, won many design wins since Qualcomm integrates modem with many scorpions.)
3.30- Qualcomm Krait (was the fastest chip last year, furthermore had designs that integrated modem so you could get best speed, awesome battery life, and a 1 chip solution.)

Thus at the same mhz and same amount of cores cortex a9 is about 30% faster than an a7, a krait is over 70% faster than an a7, and a cortex a15 is over 80% faster than an a7.

To put this in comparison intel chips are only 40 to 50% faster IPC than AMD chips with the same amount of cores and the same clock speed.

----------

Now this is CPU tasks, memory and graphics are two completely different subjects but most cortex a7 only designs are probably going to skimp out on those too to keep the cost low, why waste graphics die space when you skimp out on the cpu die space.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:09 AM   #8
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So how do you think it compares against say HTC One X which is Tegra 3 & Samsung Galaxy S2 which has a Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9
It will be slower than the Tegra 3 and the Galaxy S2 on the CPU side. The GPU needs to be more clarified before I can say, a Power VR 5xx gpu can be many different things.

Id imagine it will play games like temple run just fine, though the latest and greatest android games will likely have more trouble. If your looking for a pure gaming phone this isnt the best option. If you need a good phone that can do some light gaming this seems like an acceptable product.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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Okay, managed to dig out some benchmarks for this SoC:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/11/m...7-soc-we-go-h/

Not horrible, but not really great either.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:16 PM   #10
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I suppose it really depends on how much extra battery life you can get out of one of these in order to determine if the performance trade-offs are worth it. I'm really interested in Samsung's next SoC which is using 4 A15 cores and 4 A7 cores.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:35 PM   #11
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Should be a good application and content consumption processor with its emphasis energy efficiency, but probably not the best for gaming.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:03 PM   #12
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So here is the complete specification...

MediaTek MT6589 SoC with 4 Cortex A7 CPU cores coupled with PowerVR SGX544 GPU..

so do you think SGX 544 is a great option as far as GPU is considered, for playing hd gaming.

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Old 03-23-2013, 04:10 PM   #13
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Those numbers are terrible for a CPU that has just hit the market IMO

I been checking some of the good phones with it and most are dangerously close in price to the Nexus 4, it only makes sense to buy one if you live in a country where the N4 isn't available.

To make it worst it seems it has a lot of problems dealing with 2GB of RAM so all those models will be delayed even more. Sucks since by the time those are out the power gap will be even bigger.

BTW what about qualcomm's Play series? IIRC those are A7 as well

I wonder why Tegra 3 is not more popular, is it too expensive?
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:46 PM   #14
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I strongly doubt that the A7 will be powerful enough to play games at a speed you would be happy with.
I think you're overestimating the CPU requirements of these games. Not a lot of developers, even top tier ones, want to release games that need current gen phones to run at a level most would consider playable.

If the game runs well on an iPhone 4S (dual 800MHz Cortex-A9) it'll probably be okay here. GPU should be competitive with that as well.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:40 PM   #15
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The multithreaded performance in applications which fully support quad-core devices will be decent, as shown by the AnTuTu benchmarks. The main performance loss will be in applications which are single thread reliant, for which the phone won't perform overly well in, as shown by the Quadrant benchmark.

The GPU in the SoC is a good performer, I highly doubt you'll find any games unplayable with the phone
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:55 PM   #16
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I actually have a MT6589 phone.

As far as general usage, desktop sites browsing and gaming goes the chip handles everything without a hint of lag. Not bad for a chip on a phone that cost ~40% of the S3.

And I dunno what the hell you guys are complaining about, it's pretty obvious Mediatek aren't trying to one-up S800s and Exynos 5 Octas, but rather providing acceptable performance at very competitive prices.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:41 PM   #17
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I have used an MTK6589 phone and the Nexus 4, and I can tell you now that the nexus 4 is slower at playing games. Why? Because of the gpu. The nexus 4 has an adreno 320 while the MTK6589 has a powervr sgx544. The cpu in this case was not the bottleneck, and the MTK6589 phone was £50 cheaper.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:31 PM   #18
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[The] Micromax A116 has the MediaTek MT6589 processor, which the company claims is the world’s first commercially viable quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC.
MediaTek and Renesas tend to just be cool...but not much for high performance.

Maybe not cool if you live in a world of $300+ devices being your minimums, and need high performance gaming in your pocket, but for the rest of the world...

Quote:
Anyone out here can please comment on how much powerful this MT6589 is, given that it is powered by a quad core A7.
Not very. The A7 should be around the performance of a Cortex-A8 per CPU core, though seems to have some overall improvements, too. The main draw is that they can have a quad, and either make a small new chip, or space-efficient current-/old-tech chip, and get good battery life, and a decent profit. It's in-order, not made for high clocks, and sports a half-width FPU, compared to what we're used to from top end ARM CPUs.

It might not even be able to able to compete with a single core of an A9-class CPU, even with an efficient multithreaded program, especially one from a vendor that has optimized their design, either of the SoC only (nVidia, FI), or end to end (Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple). However, Android and Windows (for all of it's 10 users ) can make decent use of a quad core, even with more general use cases, especially when battery life is in question. They'll get it taken care of with higher-end chips, too, but either by lots of expensive R&D into a chip good at racing to idle, with lots of low power states, or by lots of expensive R&D to make a big.LITTLE swapping CPU pair, with a larger CPU taking up more die space. With Dalvik doing JIT, these days, the slower CPUs are perfectly fine, for lighter users.

It's mainly a CPU to aid in bringing cheaper SoCs out that can run newer software, thus reducing the cost of entry. IE, $100 brand new smartphones that don't suck for day to day phone/tablet use. It's a weak CPU, no matter how you look at it, but it's also going to be cheaper, and the SoC has all the main features you'd need. There's a potentially huge market for those that can get the price down on new phones with good displays, good touch panels, and up to date features (OpenGL ES v x.y, 1080p HW record+encode, LTE modem integrated, etc.) down to a price lower than that of a luxury/business item. But, you're not going to make that happen with cutting edge performance. The higher R&D and validation costs alone will keep the chips from becoming cheap enough.

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Those numbers are terrible for a CPU that has just hit the market IMO
How do you figure? It's 4x faster, with the Quadrant bench, than a Pantech Crossover. Regular folk, who wear tennis shoes, or the occasional python boot, and haven't worshiped at the altar of Apple or Samsung, use phones like that, or maybe the Huawei Ascend II, as they have no need of anything really fancy, performance-wise, and would lose sleep if they had to carry around a $400+ device that could be fried with an accidental coffee spill, when there are cheaper options. The lower end for a nice smart phone today is $250, though lower-end ones, like the $100 Ascend Y, do the job almost as well. For a lot of people, especially those who might question the value of a smart phone, having all the features is more important than having lots of performance. Getting the price down, without sacrificing features, and without using really bad displays, is a big deal.

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I been checking some of the good phones with it and most are dangerously close in price to the Nexus 4, it only makes sense to buy one if you live in a country where the N4 isn't available.
The cheapest new Nexus 4 on eBay, FI, is $335. The Huawei G520 starts at $220. The price differences compress when looking at options other than unlocked phones, or from larger retailers, but there's still typically a $50-100 difference.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:29 PM   #19
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Why would anyone want 4 slow cores on a phone? Please give me 1-2 fast* ones instead. What typical usages need 4 cores? Are people ripping movies on their phone?

edit: *One A15, One dual-thread Atom, or Dual A9's

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Old 05-05-2013, 09:52 PM   #20
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1.2GHz A7 should be roughly equivalent to a ~900MHz A9, not bad for a low power low cost core. It's also code compatible with the A15 so won't get left behind too quickly while Android revisions move forward. The GPU in the Mediatek SoC is quite capable as well.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4991/a...ighend-devices

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Old 05-05-2013, 10:14 PM   #21
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Why would anyone want 4 slow cores on a phone?
Because it will sometimes be better than only having 2 slow cores. The same reason people bought dual-core Atom computers, instead of single-core Atoms. Note how anything with Core branding, and its associated price and/or weight increase, was not even on the radar, for that choice. IoW, 2 fast cores is not gonna happen.

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Please give me 1-2 fast ones instead.
No. Those eat more power, use more die space, will take longer to implement, and would force MediaTek to then compete in the price ranges of higher-end makers, where they might not be able to compete, in terms of performance, design expertise, software support, etc..

These are chips now in $150-250 phones, and destined to be in even cheaper phones, after some months. But, even so, they need to be able to compete against shrunk older tech, like from Qualcomm, most of whose is still single-core, and will be for some time, it seems.

It's good/fast/cheap: they can do all three, for less demanding users, by using weaker, simpler, smaller, CPUs. Market-wide, it's more like fast and cheap. But, as of Android 2.3 (major performance and battery life improvements), most users are fine with slower CPUs.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:08 PM   #22
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The cheapest new Nexus 4 on eBay, FI, is $335. The Huawei G520 starts at $220. The price differences compress when looking at options other than unlocked phones, or from larger retailers, but there's still typically a $50-100 difference.
It's $300 straight from Google (8GB version): https://play.google.com/store/device...icrosite&hl=en

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Originally Posted by Jammyjamjamman View Post
I have used an MTK6589 phone and the Nexus 4, and I can tell you now that the nexus 4 is slower at playing games. Why? Because of the gpu. The nexus 4 has an adreno 320 while the MTK6589 has a powervr sgx544. The cpu in this case was not the bottleneck, and the MTK6589 phone was £50 cheaper.
I doubt that very much. Nexus 4 still has one of the fastest GPUs in a phone today and trades blows decently well with the Exynos 5410 variant of the Samsung Galaxy S4:

http://gfxbench.com/compare.jsp?D1=G...laxy+S4&cols=2

Exynos 5410 has a 533MHz SGX544MP3 (triple core). MTK6589 has a 300MHz SGX544MP1 (single core). In other words, the raw power is off by a factor of over 5. It's in a totally different league. If you really perceived Nexus 4 as slower maybe the device you with the MediaTek SoC that you compared it with had a much lower resolution display.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:24 PM   #23
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It's $300 straight from Google (8GB version): https://play.google.com/store/device...icrosite&hl=en
The one I saw was the 16GB, so that fits.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:53 PM   #24
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The one I saw was the 16GB, so that fits.
I figured that was the case, but since the Huawei Ascend G520 only has 4GB of internal storage isn't the 8GB version more suitable for comparison?
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:16 AM   #25
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But, even so, they need to be able to compete against shrunk older tech, like from Qualcomm, most of whose is still single-core, and will be for some time, it seems.
Qualcomm has been dual core since 2010 and quad core since 2012. You must mean single-chip, as Qualcomm is the only(?) company with the CPU, GPU and Modem all integrated into one single chip.
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