OPPO has revealed its custom-built MariSilicon X imaging chip that includes an advanced Neural Processing Unit (NPU), Image Signal Processor (ISP), and multi-tier memory architecture. Built on 6nm technology, the new silicon is one of several products that the manufacturer is unveiling during its INNO DAY 2021 event, including the Air Glass AR eyepiece, the Find N foldable smartphone, retractable smartphone camera and virtual workout partner.
As you may know, OPPO’s smartphone photography technology relies heavily on algorithms and the MariSilicon X was purpose-built to enhance them as well as the company’s self-developed RGBW sensor. OPPO says that its new NPU can do 18 trillion operations per second (TOPS) while being power efficient at the same time.
To put that into perspective, the chip can perform up to 20x faster than the Find X3 Pro – which uses the built-in ISP and NPU inside Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 – when running OPPO’s AI Noise Reduction Algorithm during video recording. It can also record 4K HDR night video, whereas the Find X3 Pro was limited to 1080p when using night mode.
The new imaging-oriented processor also supports 20-bit raw image capture which is slightly higher than the 18-bit colour depth of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Qualcomm’s latest flagship chip. OPPO claims that this lets the MariSilicon X deliver four times more dynamic range, with a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1.
OPPO says that the MariSilicon X will debut in the Find X series in the first quarter of 2022, which is likely to be the Find X4 Series. Since the chip is designed to handle only photography and videography, it is going to be interesting to see how it operates alongside a third-party processor such as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 which has been confirmed as the SoC that will power OPPO’s next flagship model.