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MediaTek MT6592 (MTK6592) detailed review and performance benchmarks: at par with Snapdragon 800

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Introduction to MediaTek and MT6592
 MediaTek is a rapidly growing Tainwanese manufacturer that upped its game in the last couple of years by producing high performance SoCs such as the quad-core MT6589 and octa-core MT6592.

So far, the most differentiating point in MediaTek's line of CPU's is their economy: very high performance is delivered at a very low price. This strategy led them to considerable success, and as of 2013, MediaTek is the fourth largest IC designer in the world. Although globally most flagships still use Qualcomm or Exynos CPUs, MediaTek is easily the biggest name in the Asian smartphone market and has gained worldwide attention.

MT6592 is currently the best system-on-chip in MediaTek's portfolio and has led many Asian manufacturers to produce high-end flagship smartphones priced as low as $250 to rival the very expensive flagship smartphones from Samsung, Sony, LG and other popular brands. MediaTek claims that MT6592 is at par with current flagship CPUs. Naturally, it seems too good to be true and therefore, many have been wondering whether MT6592 is a gimmick or does it really live up to the hype that MediaTek has made about it.

As an advanced user and developer, I decided to put MediaTek's claims to test and used two MT6592 devices (Uniscope XC2S and THL 5000) and thoroughly evaluated their CPU, GPU and real life performance to come up with this article.

MT6592 Features and Specifications

According to MediaTek, MT6592 is the world's first true octa-core CPU and has the following features.
  • Clock speed of 1.7 GHz or 2.0 GHz; the former is called MT6592T (Turbo)
  • 8 cores capable of working independently (heterogenous computing)
  • Very low power consumption as compared to other leading processors (consuming only 40% power with Wifi browsing, 65% power for full HD video recording and 50% power for full HD video playback).
  • Quad-core GPU (Mali-450 MP4)
  • Support for Ultra HD video playback (at a resolution as high as 4096×2160), including support for latest HEVC (H.265) and Google VP9 video codecs
  • ClearMotion; MediaTek's original technology that enhances the fluidity of video playback by increasing the frame rate for all 24/30 fps to 60 fps. 
CPU performance of MT6592
I used many multi-core different benchmarks to evaluate the performance of MT6592. (Single thread and single core scores are not really significant since Android ecosystem has fully evolved to support multi core CPUs). The benchmarking was performed on my THL 5000 (Android version 4.4.2 and Firmware version 1.0.9) that has the 2.0 Ghz version of MT6592.

To ensure that the benchmarks demonstrated the real-life performance more accurately, I tested my THL 5000 while it was fully loaded for daily use. All apps of daily use including a third party launcher (TSF Shell), Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber were installed and loaded in the background. Power saving mode was turned off. The runtime was ART (Android Runtime) instead of Dalvik since I use the former in my daily use. Airplane mode was NOT turned on.

Geekbench 3:

MT6592 scored 2553 on Geekbench 3 (multicore).
The multi-core score for MT6592 on Geekbench 3 was 2553 that exceeded not only many Snapdragon 800 smartphones including LG Nexus 5 (2538 in app and 2460 on web) and LG G2 (2478); but also some Snapdragon 801 models including Xiomi Mi 3 (2348) and LG G3 (2259).

MT6592 got a better score than LG G3 and Xiomi Mi 3 that have Snapdragon 801.
(Click to view in better resolution)


MT6592 has a score of 1563 on Vellamo's complex multi-core test. It exceeds that of Nexus 5 (Snapdragon 800) and approaches Samsung Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801).

(NOTE: This benchmark was performed at a later time on Dalvik runtime with Xposed framework enabled. Scores on ART framework and with Xposed disabled are slightly higher.)

Scores of MT6592 exceed LG Nexus 5 (Snapdragon 800) and approach those of Galaxy S5 international edition (Snapdragon 801).
Click to view in better resolution.

CF Bench:

Chainfire's CF bench is a unique benchmark especially designed for multi-core devices and tests alot of parameters that other benchmarks don't. MT6592 scored 53481 in Native and 27952 in Java with an overall score of 38163.

This score is higher than that of International Edition of Samsung Galaxy S5 with Snapdragon 801 (39297 in Native, 34372 in Java and 36342 overall) and Xperia Z1 compact with Snapdragon 800 (37547, 31922 and 34172).

MT6592 scored 53481 in Native and 27952 in Java with an overall score of 38163

 On Antutu, MT6592 often scores higher than 31000 points with an average of 30500 points. The highest score I got was 31700. However, Antutu also evaluates the 3D performance and includes it in the final score and we are concerned only with CPU at the moment (3D performance in GPU section).

The total Antutu score is 30656.

Antutu details show that the MT6592 has much more impressive CPU and RAM parameters as compared to Galaxy S5 Asia edition SM-G900 (Exynos Octa 5422), Galaxy S5 International edition (Snapdragon 801) and Sony Xperia Z2 (Snapdragon 801).

CPU Integer, CPU float point, RAM operation and RAM speed for MT6592 are 3482, 3963, 3408 and 1836 respectively. 

Asian edition of Samsung Galaxy S5 with Exynos Octa 5422 scores 2916, 3161, 1619 and 1206 in these parameters whereas the international edition (with Snapdragon 801) scores 3443, 3724, 2082 and 1455 in these parameters.

The MT6592 has much more impressive CPU and RAM parameters as compared to Galaxy S5 Asia edition SM-G900 (Exynos Octa 5422), Galaxy S5 International edition (Snapdragon 801) and Sony Xperia Z2 (Snapdragon 801)
The verdict: 
The results of all the above benchmarks show that MT6592 really has a lot of raw CPU power and performs as well as Snapdragon 800 and 801; if not better.

GPU performance of MT6592
The graphics of MT6592 is managed by ARM's powerful quad-core Mali450 MP4 GPU clocked at 700 MHz.

Antutu 3D: 
MT6592's Mali450 MP4 achieves 5519 points on Antutu. That is only half of that of Adreno 330 but the performance is adequate enough. Antutu declares that the 3D graphics of MT6592 are excellent and large games are fluently supported.

Antutu declares that the 3D graphics of MT6592 are excellent and large games are fluently supported.
3D Mark:
Mali450 MP4 scores around 7000 points on 3D Mark.  Snapdragon 800 devices with Adreno 330 easily achieve 15000 points. However, despite the large difference, Mali450 MP4 shows very impressive performance on 3D Mark and is declared in the results as "one of the most powerful devices around".

Mali450 MP4 in MT6592 has impressive score in 3D Mark.

Nenamark 2:

MT6592 on THL 5000 obtained an average of 52.2 fps on Nenamark 2 which shows that it can handle most of the modern games without breaking a sweat.

MT6592 got managed 52.2 frames per second on Nenamark 2.

The verdict:
 Adreno 330 clearly outperforms Mali450; however, despite not being the best GPU in town, Mali450 is still more than enough to run all the modern games fluently. 3D Mark and Antutu both declare that the GPU is one of the best around. After all, Mali450 in MT6592 is capable of 42 gigaFLOPS.

To give you an idea, PSP runs on 2.6 gigaFLOPS, PS VITA on 51.2 gigaFLOPS, PlayStation 2 on 6.2 gigaFLOPS and XBOX360 on 240 gigaFLOPS. Adreno330 runs on 130 gigaFLOPS.

How MediaTek made these great results possible with such a low price tag:
 Higher number of cores is usually associated with increased power consumption. This is the reason why most of the other manufacturers do not usually go for octa core CPUs. They tend to use ARM's Cortex A9 or A15 cores (or cores based on them i.e. Krait 400) that are powerful and deliver great performance. These cores however, are expensive.

MediaTek has taken a very different approach here. Instead of picking A9 or A15 cores, they went for 8 A7 cores. A7 is ARM's power efficient processor. A single core of A9 or A15 always performs better than A7 at the clock frequency. However, the A7 will use much less power as compared to the former two.

By increasing the number of A7 cores to 8, MediaTek has created a solution that competes with quad core flagships (based on A9/A15 cores) with low power consumption and price tag.

Real-life performance of MT6592
The benchmarks of MT6592 show great performance; now what do I have to say about the real life performance of MT6592.

The good thing is that MT6592 does deliver excellent performance . With Android Kitkat 4.4.2 on THL 5000 and 1.0.9 firmware, there was no lag in the user interface and every day apps. (Note: Of course this heavily depends on firmware optimizations as well because each update enhances the performance).

Web browsing, especially on Chrome and Dolphin Browsers is excellent. The scrolling is smooth, pages load fast and there is no lag.

The smartphone hardly broke a sweat while playing Riptide GP2, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Real Racing 3 and Modern Combat 5.

Video experience on MT6592 with ClearMotion is AWESOME and I can not stress this enough. All videos play very smoothly and feel like real 60 fps. The frame rate enhancement technology works very, very well and in my opinion, is one of the most underrated feature of this CPU. People do not seem to have heard much of it, but once you see any video on ClearMotion, you'd hate to see them without it. Movies and seasons especially look great when played on MT6592.

The final verdict
MT6592 is an excellent system-on-chip. It's CPU clearly has the processing power equal to Snapdragon 801, if not better. The GPU is not the best out there but it is still extremely powerful and fluently runs large, modern games. The real life performance, as explained above, is also excellent.

My advice is that if you do buy a MT6592 device, do some research and go for good brands that provide the latest Android version (most MT6592 devices come with Android 4.2) and have good firmware support.
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