Xiaomi unveils self-designed smartphone processor

March 02, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
In an attempt to keep up with rivals such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei, Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi has developed its own application processor, the Surge S1.

The Surge S1 is a 64-bit octa-core Cortex-A53 design with a Mali-T860 GPU and is implemented in TSMC's 28nm HPC+ manufacturing process technology. The design is implemented in a big-little manner with four Cortex-A53s set to clock at up to 2.2GHz and four set to clock at up to 1.4GHz.

According to a diagram provided by Xiaomi the chip includes a baseband modem but it is not clear to what standard that complies, who it has been licensed from, or whether it has been internally developed. Companies such as Qualcomm and Intel are announcing upgrades to 4G-LTE modems and first passes at 5G modems, although there is as yet little infrastructure support in the first case and standards are not yet finalized in the second.

Xiaomi quotes an AnTuTu benchmark of processor performance of 64,816 points, which puts the Surge S1 ahead of the Snapdragon 625 from Qualcomm and the Helio P20 from MediaTek. Up until this point Xiaomi has used application processors from Qualcomm and MediaTek but it has also announced that the launch of the Mi 5C smartphone that will use the chip. The handsets will reportedly go on sale in China on Friday March 2.

Next: One less customer for Qualcomm, MediaTek