It wasn’t that long ago that we surfaced a new MediaTek chipset on the way for Chromebooks, internally dubbed as the MT8186. Little is still known about this SoC, but judging by the model number, I’d still wager it will end up as the followup to the current Kompanio 500 – internally called the MT8183. With a bit of digging since that last discovery, I’ve come to find evidence that the MT8186 will definitely up the performance bar versus the MT8183 we see in devices like the older Lenovo Chromebook Duet.
Thanks to a look at the actual Arm cores that will be in this SoC, we can get a few details from the Chromium Repositories that show us a decent bump in the cores and performance we should expect to see when this chip debuts. While the MT8183 came with 4 Cortex-A73 cores and 4 Cortex-A53 cores, the MT8186 bumps things up quite a bit, bringing an octa-core setup with 6 Cortex-A55 cores and two more-capable Cortex-A76 cores.
While not exactly ground-breaking, this should be a very solid upgrade for MediaTek’s entry-level Chromebook chips. Assuming the cost is still low, the combo of these far more capable larger and smaller cores should result in a chip that is a much better overall experience for devices like tablets and EDU Chromebooks.
This core layout comes pretty close to the existing, mid-range MediaTek Kompanio 800 and 820 (MT8192 internally) that utilize a 4x Cortex-A76 and 4x Cortex-A55 setup. For more-intensive tasks, this new MT8186 won’t be quite on par with that chip, but it will be far closer than the existing Kompanio 500 (MT8183) is at the moment.
The MT8186 isn’t alone, however, as there is yet another chip in development that is similar to the new MT8186, but more powerful. The MT8188 takes a similar approach to the MT8186 and turns things up a bit with a similar octa-core layout, similar 6x Cortex-A55 cluster, but a more-powerful duo of Cortex-A78 cores for a bit more heavy lifting.
The A78 cores are what we see in the Kompanio 1380 that resides in the Acer Chromebook Spin 513. Granted, that chip (also known internally as the MT8195) has four of these larger cores instead of only 2, so it will still be the fastest of the chips we know MediaTek is making for Chromebooks. Even so, this new MT8188 should provide a big boost over the current mid-range MT8192 – or Kompanio 820 – when it eventually launches.
Right now we’re only tracking one board connected to the MT8188, and it is named ‘Geralt’. It looks like it will end up being the platform baseboard that all other MT8188 devices are built from, so that means other devices should eventually follow. At this point, that isn’t the case, but we’re keeping an eye on it and hopefully we’ll see more Chromebooks in development join both ‘Geralt’ and ‘Corsola’ (the MT8186 baseboard) down the road.
What about a new high-end MediaTek processor?
With this MT8188 likely pushing into and beyond the Kompanio 820’s territory, I’d wager the new versions of MediaTek’s entry-level and mid-range chips look set. But what about a new high-end contender? For now, we have absolutely no new info on that front. The current top-dog – the Kompanio 1380 – exists in only one device so far and it’s a bit tough to tell if that will change.
While the Kompanio 1380 is plenty fast for ChromeOS, a bump for this category would be nice, too. With 4x Cortex-78 cores and 4x Cortex-A55 cores on board, the Kompanio 1380 has quite a bit of headroom. But it would be great to see a Chromebook with at least one Cortex-X1 processor on board since we won’t be seeing Tensor on the way to a Chromebook anytime soon.
For now, we aren’t tracking anything like this, but we’re on the lookout. While we’ve seen far fewer MediaTek-powered Chromebooks in the past 18 months than I would have expected, these new chips could change that trajectory. The devices I’ve tested in the past year with MediaTek silicon inside have been really great, so I’m interested to see what this new set of processors brings us. I’d wager we’ll hear more from MediaTek’s yearly Executive Summit that takes place on November 9-11, so stay tuned.