Which quad-core? Mediatek MT6588 Vs MT6589T


With the launch of the very first quad-core MT6588 smartphones readers have asked what is the difference between this new quad-core SoC and the MT6589T? Let’s take a look.

Love them or hate them, but Mediatek are one of the main reasons many of us look at Chinese phones as a viable alternative to more mainstream devices. What their processors lack in the way of developer support they make up with in features per cost.

Last years flagship Mediatek chip, the quad-core MT6589T, was a game changer for Mediatek (I believe more so than this years octacore MT6592). With processing speeds of up to 1.5Ghz, support for 1080p displays and 2GB RAM, we finally got to see some seriously great Chinese products go on sale.

The MT6589T is still a good chip but is now outdated and will soon be completely replaced with the all new quad-core MT6588, so what are the differences?

Quad-core MT6589T Vs MT6588

Starting with the similarities, both the quad-core MT6589T and MT6588 are quad-core processors based on Cortex A7 architecture, both have support for 1080p displays, LPDDR2 533mhz memory, 13 mega-pixel main cameras and, unfortunately are 3G only compatible.

The differences lie in the the speed of the processor itself the GPU, and that the MT6588 is a mid-range processor where as the MT6589T was the top of the range chip of it’s time. Another major difference is how the chips are made, the MT6589T was manufactured using the 28nm process, where as the MT6588 uses 28nm HPM (High Performance Mobile) the same tech used for the Snapdragon 800 chip by Qualcomm which helps to further increase performance and extend battery life.

The quad-core MT6589T would max out at 1.5Ghz (the MT6589 just 1.2Ghz) but the real achilles heel was the SGX544 GPU running at a snails pace 357Mhz. For the MT6588 Mediatek have increased the top speed to 1.7Ghz and have included a Mali 450 GPU running at 600mhz.

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 MT6589TMT6588
Process28nm28nm HPM
CPU4 x Cortex A7, 1.5Ghz4 x Cortex A7, 1.7Ghz
MemoryLPDDR2 533MHz
LPDDR2 533MHz
LPDDR3 666Mhz
Camera13 mega-pixel ISP13 mega-pixel ISP
Video Decode1080p 30fps
1080p 30fps
720p 30fps HEVC/VP9
Video Encode1080p 30fps
1080p 30fps
Graphics IMGSGX544 357Mhz
ARM Mali 450 600mhz
DisplayHD1080 1920 x 1080
HD1080 1920 x 1080
Modem HSPA+ Rel.8, RxD
(21Mbps/11Mbps)
HSPA+ Rel 8
(21Mbs/5.76mbs)

So the MT6588 should perform a lot better than the originally MT6589T quad-core, especially when it comes to gaming, and battery life should be improved, but it is on price and innovation (which the cost will afford) where we should see the MT6588 shine.

Being able to power a 1080 display and offering similar features to the octacore MT6592 at a lower price should mean that Chinese phone makers will have some space to manoeuvre when building devices around the chip. The first MT6588 phone to launch is proof of this at is happens to be a version of the Gionee Elife E7 Mini with rotating camera. But just because it is possible doesn’t necessarily mean that is what we can expect.

Mt6588 or MT6592

So which should you choose? An octacore MT6592 chip or the MT6588 with similar specs but just 4 cores? The choice is up to you, but I know where my money would go, I just hope I get a little innovation thrown in with it too.

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