Meet The Pinecone Surge S1, Xiaomi’s First In-house Chipset

Xiaomi has officially announced their first ever chipset designed in-house, the Pincecone Surge S1. The new chipset has been in development since 2015, and today the company has unveiled it and the first phone that will be powered by their home-brewed silicone, the Mi 5c.

Before we get into the phone itself, let’s take a look at the Surge S1. At its core the processor is built of off what Xiaomi describes as 28nm High Performance Computing (HPC) process, and uses two quad-core processors working in tandem using big.LITTLE technology. A 2.2GHz high-performance quad-core processor takes care of intense tasks, while a lower-clocked 1.4GHz quad-core processor takes care of more basic and mundane tasks. The new processor uses a Mali-T860 quad-core GPU to handle graphical number crunching.

Xiaomi’s also baked in a number of other technology inside the SoC – an ISP algorithm supposedly improves camera light sensitivity by 150%, and a dual noise reduction algorithm is promised to reduce noise and preserve image detail in low light. Both technologies should improve low-light photography, though we’ll have to see for ourselves if these technologies really work. Here’s the other features of the processor:

  • 32-bit high performance DSP for voice processing
  • 14-bit dual ISP; enhanced image processing capabilities
  • Surge ISP algorithm improves camera light sensitivity by 150%
  • Dual noise reduction algorithm reduces noise and preserves image detail in low light
  • Upgradable baseband; programmable modem, OTA upgradable
  • VoLTE high quality call and video support
  • Chip-level security; TEE architecture, strict compliance with safety regulations

Data provided by Xiaomi shows that their new Surge S1 chipset consistently outperforms the mid-range offerings of both MediaTek and Qualcomm, with the Pinecone S1 leading in synthetic benchmarks. Obviously this is impressive, but it’s not the whole picture – we’ve yet to see real world performance numbers for battery performance, which is increasingly becoming one of the biggest concerns of the buying public when it comes to phones.

Xiaomi’s putting the Surge S1 in their newest phone, the Mi 5c. No word yet on what other phones the Pinecone Surge S1 will show up in.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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