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This article was published on January 20, 2021

MediaTek’s 2021 flagship chip comes with big promises: 168Hz display and ray tracing

MediaTek’s 2021 flagship chip comes with big promises: 168Hz display and ray tracing

When it comes to smartphone chipsets, usually, Qualcomm, Apple, and Samsung rule consumer debates. However, Taiwanese firm MediaTek, which became the largest chipset vendor in Q3 2020, is no small fish.

The chipmaker released its new flagship processor, called the Dimensity 1200, today. The chip is the firm’s first high-end mobile CPU since 2019, when it released the Dimensity 1000. It also released a toned-down cousin of the 1200, called the Dimensity 1100.

The 6nm chip follows an architecture of 1 ultra-high performance core, 3 high-performance cores, and 4 efficiency cores. However, the most interesting feature of the process is support for 168Hz Full HD displays and ray tracing.

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We have previously seen phones with 144Hz display such as the Asus ROG Phone 3, but we’re yet to see a device with 168Hz. While having that kind of refresh rate gives the device maker some bragging rights, but we still don’t know if there’s a real-life use case for it.

It would be amazing to see ray tracing — a technique of rendering objects that represents lights just like it behaves in real life — in mobile applications. But usually, it’s a resource-heavy task, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for desktop or console level results.

It’s a bit confounding that MediaTek wants to achieve ray tracing by using Mali G-77 MP9 GPU — the same component that was used in the Dimensity 1100.

Apart from this, the Dimensity 1200 supports 200-megapixel single camera and 4K video recording at 60 frames per second. And of course, it supports 5G. In terms of other connectivity protocols, the processor supports Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6.

Phone makers such as Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi have said that they’ll launch devices featuring these new chips by the end of Q1 or beginning of Q2 this year.

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