Both Canon SX230 HS and Pentax MX-1 have 12.0 MP resolution sensors but Canon SX230 HS's sensor is 1/2.3-inch (6.17 x 4.55 mm ) and Pentax MX-1's sensor is 1/1.7-inch (7.44 x 5.58 mm ).
Since Pentax MX-1's has a larger sensor area with the same resolution, this means that it also has a larger pixel area hence better light collecting capacity for a given aperture compared to Canon SX230 HS.
Below you can see the SX230 HS and MX-1 sensor size comparison.
As seen above, Pentax MX-1 has a 1.5x Larger sensor area than Canon SX230 HS. Larger sensors give photographer more control on the depth of field and blurry background compared to smaller sensor when shot in same focal length and aperture.