During Oppo’s event called INNODAY 2021, which is taking place today and will continue tomorrow, the company announced to the world its first proprietary chip called MariSilicon X.
This is not a SoC like Google’s Tensor, but an NPU (Neural Processing Unit) dedicated to imaging, that will work alongside the classic ISP for photo and video processing. By what we can tell so far, this NPU looks like it will be a game changer in the smartphone photography sensor.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let us tell you what we know so far.
MariSilicon X is the first proprietary NPU dedicated to real-time image processing designed entirely by Oppo for its own needs. The chip, which will debut very soon, combines an advanced NPU, a capable ISP and a multi-tiered memory architecture to deliver a level of performance that, according to what Oppo is saying, should outperform the competition easily.
Made with a 6nm production process, the Oppo MariSilicon X chip makes it possible to process RAW images in real time and capture video in Night Video AI mode in 4K resolution with live preview, just to name a few of its capabilities.
The NPU has its own dedicated tera-bps memory subsystem, which means that it can create its own computing power. This way, it doesn’t have to share it with the Soc.
Oppo has been ambitious with this chip, to say the least: the MariSilicon X ISP will allow the smartphones that have it to capture images at a dynamic range of 20bit 120db, four times higher than that of the Find X3 Pro.
MariSilicon X is also capable of handling 20bit HDR in pixel-level RAW and also to process 4K video in real time, achieving a signal-to-noise ratio of just 8db for images. The Dual Image Pipeline feature will also allow the users to make the most of the new RGBW photo sensors by processing the RGB and White signals separately, later merging them. This, according to Oppo, will achieve a 1.7x improvement in texture quality.
MariSilicon X will, of course, not replace the CPU and GPU and will be placed in between the photo sensors and the Soc, merely enhancing its imaging capabilities.
According to Oppo, MariSilicon X will debut sometime in the first quarter of 2022, alongside the new Find X series, so we should see it in action pretty soon.