MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000 Plus chipset is the company’s big return to flagship chipsets in the west, and it’s been a long time coming. The non-Plus version launched in devices like the OPPO Find X5 Pro Dimensity Edition, a China-only exclusive. However, with the advent of the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro came an additional tier above — the Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate. The “Ultimate” moniker obviously implies that that is the superior device, and so, we put both chipsets to the test against each other.
In short, the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus is a beast, and many of us in the west have been really excited for it to land on a device that can be easily obtained here. This comparison intends to compare both the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus and the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 to discover which is the better chipset. We use two devices from the same OEM as the way in which companies approach chipsets may differ from company to company, whereas we believe that there will be a retained philosophy across both of these devices and their tunings. This means that we should get a more accurate representation of the capabilities of these chipsets relative to each other.
It’s important to note that in the course of our testing, we discovered that when enabling Asus’ X-Mode, the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus sustains a rather intensive overclock, which the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 does not. The primary core goes from 3.2GHz to 3.35GHz, and the three super-cores go from 2.85GHz to 3.2GHz. That’s a pretty large jump, increasing both power consumption and performance. There’s no way to disable it either aside from disabling the company’s X Mode, but then it’s largely impossible to reach even the highest clock speeds advertised for this chipset. We reached out to Asus for comment and were told that yes, this is intended behavior.
Given that Asus was able to get such an extreme overclock out of this chipset, it obviously bodes well for the Dimensity 9000 Plus in a sense. In the interest of fairness, we compared both devices throughout with Asus’ X Mode enabled and with X Mode disabled. While it’s not a perfect comparison, it’s the best way to compare both of these chipsets currently, and gives a broad picture of what each of these chips are capable of relative to the other.
About this comparison: We compared the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro to the Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate. Both devices were factory reset, no Google accounts were linked, and Wi-Fi was only enabled to install update packages for benchmarks that required it. Benchmarking applications were installed via adb, and all tests were run on airplane mode with device batteries above 50%. Both devices had Asus’ X Mode mode enabled to get the most out of these chipsets and to remove any artificial limitations imposed in software. The tests were then re-run with X Mode disabled.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1: Spec Sheet
|MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1|
|Memory||LPDDR5X @ 7500 Mbps||LPDDR5 @ 3200MHz, 16GB|
|Charging||N/A||Qualcomm Quick Charge 5|
|Connectivity||Location: Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS, Dual Frequency GNSS support
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6; a/b/g/n/ac/ax
Bluetooth: Version 5.3
|Location: Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS, Dual Frequency GNSS support
Wi-Fi: Qualcomm FastConnect 6900; Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6; 2.4/5GHz/6GHz Bands; 20/40/80/160 MHz Channels; DBS (2×2 + 2×2), TWT, WPA3, 8×8 MU-MIMO
Bluetooth: Version 5.3, aptX Voice, aptX Lossless, aptX Adaptive, and LE audio
|Manufacturing Process||4nm TSMC||4nm TSMC|
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1: Fundamental differences
These chipsets have some similarities in their composition, however, they are also very different. While there’s the same primary Cortex-X2 core, the same trio of Cortex A710 cores, and the same quadruplet set of A510 cores, that’s where the similarities really end. For starters, the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus has different clock speeds right out of the gate, and as already detailed, the Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate modifies those further.
As well, the Dimensity 9000 was lauded for its incredible power efficiency earlier on in the year, but it doesn’t seem we’re getting to see any of that here. My theory as to why this is is that despite the efficiency gains earlier in the year, MediaTek is now pushing this chipset further. The final steps in the frequency multiplier use the most energy, and this chip is being pushed to its very limits — not just by MediaTek, but by Asus too.
Another design choice by MediaTek was the inclusion of a 6MB system-level cache, or SLC. Qualcomm’s only comes in at 4MB. This cache can improve the performance of the overall SoC rather than just the CPU itself, by reducing the need for requests to main memory. In short, each core has its own cache, L1, each cluster has its own cache, L2, the CPU overall has its own L3 cache, and the SLC is a cache for all of the SoC as a whole. Observe the below image:
Each core can access its level 1 (L1) cache the fastest. The further something is from the CPU, the longer it takes to reach, and having to reach out to the main memory takes the longest. While not shown above, the system-level cache is a cache that is then used across the entire chipset, such as the GPU, NPU, and CPU.
In other aspects of the chipset, we get MediaTek’s own proprietary infrastructure. In AI, we get the MediaTek AI Processing Unit, we get MediaTek’s Imagiq 790 for an ISP, and we get a Helio modem for connectivity. The ISP appears to be on par with Qualcomm’s own Spectra 680, but the modem in its downlink appears to falter behind somewhat. Not only that, the AI capabilities of the APU don’t appear to be anywhere near as powerful as what Qualcomm can offer either.
Where things get really interesting though is the GPU. While Qualcomm tends to keep the magic behind Adreno closely hidden, MediaTek has chosen an off-the-shelf GPU that is well-documented by Arm. It’s Arm’s Valhall architecture, packs ten cores, and promises major performance boosts over the Mali G78. There was also a major focus on the improvement of performance, particularly when it came to Vulkan.
All of this shapes the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus to be a formidable contender when it comes to Qualcomm. Outside of raw computation and imaging, I think it’s fair to say that Qualcomm has MediaTek beat. However, that’s not the whole picture.
- AnTuTu: This is a holistic benchmark. AnTuTu tests the CPU, GPU, and memory performance, while including both abstract tests and, as of late, relatable user experience simulations (for example, the subtest which involves scrolling through a ListView). The final score is weighted according to the designer’s considerations.
- GeekBench: A CPU-centric test that uses several computational workloads including encryption, compression (text and images), rendering, physics simulations, computer vision, ray tracing, speech recognition, and convolutional neural network inference on images. The score breakdown gives specific metrics. The final score is weighted according to the designer’s considerations, placing a large emphasis on integer performance (65%), then float performance (30%), and finally cryptography (5%).
- GFXBench: Aims to simulate video game graphics rendering using the latest APIs. Lots of onscreen effects and high-quality textures. Newer tests use Vulkan while legacy tests use OpenGL ES 3.1. The outputs are frames during test and frames per second (the other number divided by the test length, essentially), instead of a weighted score.
- Aztec Ruins: These tests are the most computationally heavy ones offered by GFXBench. Currently, top mobile chipsets cannot sustain 30 frames per second. Specifically, the test offers really high polygon count geometry, hardware tessellation, high-resolution textures, global illumination and plenty of shadow mapping, copious particle effects, as well as bloom and depth of field effects. Most of these techniques will stress the shader compute capabilities of the processor.
- Manhattan ES 3.0/3.1: This test remains relevant given that modern games have already arrived at its proposed graphical fidelity and implement the same kinds of techniques. It features complex geometry employing multiple render targets, reflections (cubic maps), mesh rendering, many deferred lighting sources, as well as bloom and depth of field in a post-processing pass.
- CPU Throttling Test: This app repeats a simple multithreaded test in C for as short as 15 minutes, though we ran it for 30 minutes. The app charts the score over time so you can see when the phone starts throttling. The score is measured in GIPS — or billion operations per second.
- Burnout Benchmark: Loads different SoC components with heavy workloads to analyze their power consumption, thermal throttling, and their maximum performance. It uses Android’s BatteryManager API to calculate the watts being used during testing, which can be used to understand the battery drain on a smartphone.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1: Computational workload
We first tested both of these chipsets against each other by testing their computational capabilities. We used Geekbench 5, ensuring that each device was at a normal ambient temperature with airplane mode enabled.
X Mode on
From the above, we can note that the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus gets quite far ahead in its computational abilities. There’s a negligible boost in single-core, though in multi-core, we see a 9% increase in MediaTek’s own results over the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. As will be a common theme throughout this comparison, the Dimensity 9000 Plus is a performance beast when it comes to CPU-centric computational prowess.
X Mode off
However, with X Mode disabled, the scores flip. The MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus falls behind the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 both in multi-core and in single-core. This is likely due to the reduced clock speeds on the MediaTek chipset, though you would expect the same to apply to the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 as well with X Mode disabled.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1: Power efficiency
Burnout Benchmark allows us to easily measure the power consumed by a chipset in a smartphone. When we tested the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 initially, we spoke with the developer, Andrey Ignatov, to get a sense of how the app works. He told us to run the app with a fully charged device on the lowest brightness and with airplane mode enabled, and so, all of the data collected here is under those conditions. Ignatov told us the following tests are run on different components of the SoC as part of Burnout Benchmark:
- GPU: Parallel vision-based computations using OpenCL
- CPU: Multi-threaded computations largely involving Arm Neon
- NPU: AI models with typical machine learning ops
X Mode on
The maximum wattage of the Dimensity 9000 Plus in these conditions was an astounding 16.38W. A standard 5,000 mAh battery would last continuously a little bit over three hours when pushed to this consistent maximum. While that is an unrealistic condition to be in (particularly because of throttling, as well as the fact that nobody will really use their phone like that), it helps to visualize what kind of battery drain that is.
In contrast, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 drained at 13.28W at its peak drainage, according to these measurements. That equates to just over three and a half hours of usage in a smartphone that packs a 5,000 mAh battery. As you can see, both of these chipsets are major battery drainers, with the Dimensity 9000 Plus doing a little bit worse in the efficiency department.
However, there’s a different story when it comes to comparing the GPU and the CPU. The CPU of the MediaTek Dimensity performs better than the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, both initially and over a longer period of time. However, the Adreno GPU of the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 completely destroys the Mali GPU in the Dimensity 9000 Plus. It’s just not really a contest.
|MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus||Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1||Percentage|
|CPU FPS||18.53||17.25||7.4% better CPU performance in MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus|
|GPU FPS||19.45||22.54||15.9% better GPU performance in Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1|
|Maximum wattage||16.38W||13.28W||23% increase in energy usage in MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus|
X Mode off
The maximum wattage of the Dimensity 9000 Plus in these conditions was a little bit lower with X Mode disabled, coming in at 14.26W. A standard 5,000 mAh battery would last continuously a little bit under three and a half hours when pushed to this consistent maximum. While that is an unrealistic condition to be in (particularly because of throttling, as well as the fact that nobody will really use their phone like that), it helps to visualize what kind of battery drain that is. These chipsets are a lot more neck and neck with X Mode disabled.
In contrast, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 drained at 13.75W at its peak drainage, according to these measurements. That equates to just over three and a half hours of usage in a smartphone that packs a 5,000 mAh battery. As you can see, both of these chipsets are major battery drainers, with the Dimensity 9000 Plus doing a little bit worse in the efficiency department.
I’m not sure why the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 performed better overall here with X Mode disabled, but it got slightly more out of both the GPU and the CPU in this test. The power draw also increased a small bit though, which makes sense. However, you can notice from the graphs below that while the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 spikes higher than the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus, it also has worse sustained performance. The MediaTek chipset is a slow starter but ultimately ends up higher in the end.
|MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus||Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1||Percentage|
|CPU FPS||11.24||18.36||63% better CPU performance in Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1|
|GPU FPS||16.69||23.48||40.6% better GPU performance in Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1|
|Maximum wattage||14.26W||13.75W||3.7% increase in energy usage in MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus|
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1: Graphics
GFXBench is an application that can test the graphical capabilities of a smartphone’s GPU through a number of different tests. We ran five different tests here, with the most computationally taxing being the 1440p Aztec tests.
As we can see from the above graphs, while it appears that the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus struggles with OpenGL workloads, those Vulkan improvements are coming through strong. The percentage difference between the OpenGL tests in the form of the T-Rex offscreen test and Manhattan 3.1 vs the likes of the 1440p Aztec Vulkan test are vastly different. While it seems the intensive workload of Aztec OpenGL is also neck and neck, the point is this — both chipsets do well under pressure, but it seems that Mali (on the MediaTek) definitely has been improving.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1: CPU Throttling Test
We tested both of these chipsets in CPU Throttling Test, and discovered that the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus simply does a better job with or without X Mode. With X Mode on, its lowest point is the same as the average of the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. With X Mode off, it achieves higher and throttles less.
X Mode on
X Mode off
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1: Antutu
Antutu is a holistic benchmark that tests all aspects of a smartphone. While the total number it calculates doesn’t really give you anything more than a number to compare to other smartphones, it still gives you a rough idea of how much better one phone can be than another in a computational sense. It’s certainly not a guiding light by any stretch of the imagination, but Antutu still has its place in the industry.
X Mode on
X Mode off
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 takes the win, but the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 comes close
If you’re looking for the most powerful chipset out there, then you can’t go wrong with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. It has top-of-the-line performance in every aspect, including in the additional processing units and signal processors. The MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus isn’t a bad chipset, but somehow, it falters even in power efficiency. It’s not that it’s far behind the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 or anything — they’re practically a tie — but the Snapdragon edges just that little bit further. Couple that with the better GPU performance of the Snapdragon and the on-par or even better CPU performance of the Snapdragon at times, and it’s hard to say that the MediaTek chipset is the best for sure.
Nevertheless, I think it’s clear that MediaTek has surprised pretty much everyone with its return to flagship chipsets. This is a powerful SoC that has bested the other attempts by Samsung’s Exynos or Google’s Tensor. An extra competitor in the space is a good thing, and I’d well believe that the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 was the best chipset of the first half of this year. The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is an incredible chipset, but its predecessor was awful. MediaTek would’ve easily beaten it with this Plus variant too, and given that I think it’s being pushed a little too far (hence the high power draw), it’s safe to say that MediaTek is a formidable contender and possibly neck and neck as one of the best chipset designers in the space right now.