There are many phones on the market right now and customers looking for a new phone can find it overwhelming. Many people just look at the spec sheet to pick a phone. That’s a good starting point, as we can look at the chipset and immediately get an idea of how the phone will actually perform. But as we’ve said countless times before, you can’t judge a phone by its specs on paper alone.
Enter, the Xiaomi 12T. This is currently the first and only phone to use the “new” MediaTek Dimensity 8100-Ultra chipset. I’m not sure about you, but in my mind, I immediately think that the “Ultra” here is supposed to be better in terms of performance than the Dimensity 8100-Max and the Dimensity 8100 base. Turns out… it’s not.
Instead of having better performance, it has other unique features. So in this video, let’s talk about what makes the Dimensity 8100-Ultra “Ultra”.
A few weeks ago, we had a briefing with Xiaomi and MediaTek to learn more about the Xiaomi 12T, and one of the MediaTek showed one of the slides about DORA, also known as Dimensity Open Resource Architecture. We will come back to this later.
The last section of the session was the most exciting moment: the questions and answers. I really appreciate this opportunity as the answers were pretty much unfiltered and quite concise.
The first question asked was:
Q: How does MediaTek’s Dimensity 8100-Ultra compare to its previous version?
A: Xiaomi has customized the Dimensity 8100-Ultra through our Dimensity Open Resource Architecture program.
Using the Dimensity Open Resource Architecture program, Xiaomi has created a unique Xiaomi Ultra Night video capture that exclusively uses AI-NR functions to create a new level of camera experiences.
So the next question was:
Q: Why are there so many variants of the Dimensity 8100 (ie 8100, 8100-Max, 8100-Ultra)? What are the key differences and what types of devices will benefit from each variant?
A: Our Dimensity Open Resource Architecture (DORA) program has been very successful, which is why you’re seeing such an increasing number of custom chips. It has enabled our partners to create unique variants of Dimensity 5G smartphone chips, such as the Dimensity 8100 Ultra, optimizing them to more precisely fit each smartphone’s design.
This creates a single device with more hardware/software synergy, improving the user experience through improvements to AI usage, processing performance, cameras, game optimizations, and much more.
From these two questions and answers, we know that the Dimensity 8100, Dimensity 8100-Max and 8100-Ultra are practically the same chip but customized thanks to the DORA program. As highlighted in this answer, it is enabled partners to create unique variants of the Dimensity 5G chipset and creates a unique device with more hardware/software synergy.
That said, if we checked MediaTek’s website, they only listed the Dimensity 8100 and no Max or Ultra variants of the chipset.
However, if we click on the “products” at the top of the website, there is something called the open resource architecture MediaTek Dimensity 5G – DORA.
Within this page, we can learn more about DORA and what it actually does.
DORA allows smartphone manufacturers to customize their own “media experience” and access and adjust MediaTek’s AI picture quality and also AI Super Resolution or develop their own algorithms.
The next step is “hybrid multiprocessing”. Honestly, after reading the text, I’m not clear on what it’s supposed to be. It seems that since the chipset has a “deep learning” CPU, GPU, and processor, smartphone makers can run specific tasks on specific processors to ensure performance is efficient.
AI processing is basically just that smartphone manufacturers can use MediaTek’s Deep Learning Accelerator. Very clear.
Then the camera processing engines. I think this one is interesting as MediaTek literally opened up the entire ISP (image signal processor) for smartphone manufacturers to control the data and how it is processed. This, in turn, means that you can adjust the color as you wish.
Next comes connectivity. This one is pretty vague as it just says “tune to the latest Bluetooth features with profiles to match your wireless accessories” and doesn’t specify if it’s the sound profile or the Bluetooth connectivity profile like buffer size, intensity of sign, all that.
In short, all companies can use the same Dimensity 8100, but through DORA, each company can combine their own proprietary code to create a unique variation of the Dimensity 8100, so they can give it a special name like Dimensity 8100-Max or Dimension-8100. Ultra.
This is also the reason why we see all phones from OPPO and OnePlus using Dimensity 8100-Max, because both companies are closely related to each other.
Xiaomi has been using the base version Dimensity 8100 for a long time, but only customized it to create the Dimensity 8100-Ultra, which we have found in the Xiaomi 12T.
And let’s go back to the DORA website for a moment. If you noticed, there is no mention of the performance difference. That’s because everyone is on the same playing field. All Dimensity 8100 chipsets, including Max and Ultra variants, will have the same CPU and GPU clock speeds and the same number of cores.
However, there are two reasons why we can still get different performance on two phones with the Dimensity 8100. The first, as mentioned above, is to specify which task for which type of processor. Because these processors perform better at certain tasks, such as the GPU being better at rendering graphics, it’s important to do them correctly.
Second, the smartphone maker could still introduce some kind of power cap or throttle to limit the phone’s performance through software. However, we’ve seen many smartphone manufacturers introduce a new “performance mode” to “remove” that power cap. You can learn more about this here.
Well, to answer the question: what makes the Dimensity 8100-Ultra “Ultra”? Well, because of how Xiaomi tuned the Dimensity 8100. Then they just gave it the “Ultra” suffix as a differentiation from the other Dimensity 8100 chipsets.
It’s just the name “Max” that made me think that it has a higher level of performance compared to the base Dimensity 8100 version, and the name “Ultra” made me think that it has an even higher level of performance.
Performance, on paper, remains the same across all Dimensity 8100 chipsets.
If you want to learn more about the Xiaomi 12T that we recently reviewed, check out our video here.
Where to buy the Xiaomi 12T?
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