Updated on 31 July 2019 – with corrected and updated specs

MediaTek is not really known for their high-end chipsets, you would typically find them on the more affordable phones on the market such as the Nokia 2.2 and Redmi 6A.

However, recently they have been making moves higher up in the market and the new Oppo Reno Z uses the MediaTek Helio P90 (MT6779) which offer near Snapdragon 710 performance and a lower price point.

MediaTek has today announced a new series in their lineup, the G90-Series, which are exclusively designed to be the core of an incredible smartphone gaming experience. By combining the latest CPU and GPU cores with ultra-fast memory and massive AI performance they deliver fast, fluid action.

For even more gaming power, the MediaTek Helio G90 Series is paired with MediaTek’s exclusive HyperEngine gaming technology that tunes your entire smartphone for the greatest gaming experience possible.

With the recent launch of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus which is an overclocked version of the original SD855 it is worth looking to see how the two gaming orientated chips stack up against each other. I have also included the Kirin 980 as HiSilicon has not yet released a gaming-specific chipset.

In the original post, the details were very thin on the ground with no information to differentiate between the two G90 chips. More information has now come out which has been included in the below.

More information has now come out that reveals the G90T ups the frequency on the CPU slightly higher by 50MHz at up to 2.05GHz.

CPU

Built on the 12nm FinFET the chipset already starts off on a backfoot compared to the Snapdragon and Kirin which both use the superior 7nm fabrication process which will provide substantially better power efficiency.

The CPU spec is vague with them listing the parts as having Arm Cortex-A76 plus Cortex-A55 octa-core up to 2.05GHz. My best guess is this would be four A76 cores and six A55 cores which is a similar design to the P90 and also matches the other chipsets in terms of the number of A76 cores used.

The original spec was very vague, with nothing to differentiate the two chips or even the what the core layout was. My original guess was wrong the specification is actually and 2x Cortex A76 @ 2.0GHz and 6x Cortex A55 @ 2.0GHz for the G90.

The G90T ups the frequency of the A76 slightly higher by 50MHz at up to 2.05GHz

At 2.05Ghz this is slower than both Qualcomm and HiSilicon, and obviously with less A76 cores in total.

The Qualcomm has one core running at 2.96Ghz then three at 2.42Ghz, the Kirin 90 has 2x Cortex-A76 @ 2.6GHz then 2x Cortex-A76 @ 1.92GHz.

This could be due to the fabrication process not being able to cope with the heat from higher clocks.

GPU

The Helio G90 uses an Arm Mali G76 MP4 GPU 800MHz on the G90T and 720Hz on the G90

At first glance, this is similar to the Krin 980 however that is using a Mali-G76 MP10 which has 10 cores vs the 4 on the Helio.

While the Helio G90 can't compete with either Qualcomm or HiSilicon, it does offer a substantial improvement compared to the old Mali-G72 found on the Helio P70, the G76 should offer twice the performance per cluster.

Other Features of the MediaTek Helio G90 series

MediaTek is hyping up their technology called HyperEngine, presumably, this is another AI like marketing term and it will affect various aspects of the phone including:

  • Intelligent Network Prediction Engine – For the best network connection
  • Dual Wi-Fi Connections – Connects to two bands simultaneously
  • Call & Data Concurrency – Defer a call and keep the game connection
  • Rapid Response Engine – Accurate & lag-free touchscreen input
  • Brilliant Picture Quality – Detail enhancements, vivid colours and HDR
  • Intelligent Performance Control – Reliably fluid, high-performance gaming

They make lots of claims about the AI performance being up to 1TMACs, but again, like for like stats are hard to find here.

Overall

How good this chipset will be is price dependant, it is clearly not as good as the other flagship chipsets on the market, and that is fine if they can achieve a lower price point.

We will have to wait and see how much phones using this chipset will cost, and then also how they compare against phones with the Snapdragon 855 Plus and Kirin 980 in benchmarks and real-world performance.

Specification Table

 Helio G90THelio G90napdragon 855 PlusKirin 980
Manufacturing Process12nm FinFET12nm FinFET 7nm (N7)7nm
CPU2x Cortex A76 @ 2.05GHz
6x Cortex A55 @ 2.0GHz
2x Cortex A76 @ 2.0GHz
6x Cortex A55 @ 2.0GHz
1x Kryo 485 Gold (A76 derivative)
@ 2.96GHz 1x512KB pL2

3x Kryo 485 Gold (A76 derivative)
@ 2.42GHz 3x256KB pL2

4x Kryo 485 Silver (A55 derivative)
@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

2MB sL3
2x Cortex-A76 @ 2.6GHz
2x Cortex-A76 @ 1.92GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
(4MB shared L3 cache)
GPUMali G76 MP4 @ 800MHzMali G76 MP4 @ 720MHz
Adreno 640 @ ~672MHzMali-G76 MP10 - 720 MHz
RAMLPDDR4x up to 10GB, 2133MHzLPDDR4x up to 10GB, 2133MHz4x 16-bit CH @ 2133MHz
LPDDR4x
34.1GB/s

3MB system level cache
LPDDR4X @ 2133MHz
CaneraSingle 64MP and 48MP
Dual 24MP + 16MP
Single 64MP and 48MP
Dual 24MP + 16MP
Dual 14-bit Spectra 380 ISP
1x 48MP or 2x 22MP
Dual ISP
AI2x APU

+1TOPs total perf
2x APU

+1TOPs total perf
Hexagon 690 DSPDual NPU