On the afternoon of September 6, Huawei held a conference in Beijing and released the annual flagship chip Kirin 990 series in parallel with the IFA exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
As we guessed, the series offers two Kirin 990 chips supporting both 5G and 4G. The 5G version integrates the 5G baseband in the SoC. So compared with the previous plug-in solution, the phone’s battery life can be improved a lot.
Kirin 990 Specs
The Kirin 990 4G version still uses the 7nm process. But 5G version comes with TSMC’s 7nm FinFET Plus EUV process (extreme UV lithography). Its board area is 36% smaller than other solutions in the industry, integrated on a nail-sized chip. The number of transistors is more than 10.3 billion.
As for the CPU, the Huawei Kirin 990 5G uses two large cores + two medium cores + four small cores energy efficiency architecture. The highest frequency is up to 2.86GHz. The single-core performance is 10% higher than that of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. The multi-core performance is increased by 9%.
The GPU is equipped with a 16-core Mali-G76, and the new system-level Smart Cache implements intelligent offloading, which saves bandwidth and reduces power consumption. In terms of games, Kirin 990 5G upgrades Kirin Gaming+ 2.0; in terms of camera, Kirin 990 5G adopts the new ISP 5.0, and realizes BM3D (Block-Matching and 3D filtering) SLR hardware noise reduction technology for the first time on mobile phone chips.
The SoC supports NSA and SA dual-mode dual-card 5G with a theoretical downlink rate of 2.3Gbps and an upstream rate of 1.25Gbps. Compared with the traditional 4G SoC + 5G Modem solution, the Kirin 990 5G delivers 20% better power consumption.
Like the Kirin 810, the Kirin 990 integrates its own DaVinci architecture NPU. It uses a large core and low-power micro-core architecture. With the latest technology support, it can further enhance its AI capability and support more than 300 operators and AI capabilities.
According to the announcement at the press conference, the Mate 30 series flagship phones released on September 19 in Berlin, Germany, will be the first to come with the Kirin 990 series.
Like the launch of the flagship phone, the launch of Huawei’s Kirin chip also touched the nerves of the
In April this year, after Qualcomm and Apple reached a settlement, Intel announced the withdrawal of 5G smartphone modem chip business. This means that there is one less player in the field of 5G baseband chips.
On September 4, without any pre-promotion, Samsung announced the new 5G mobile processing platform Exynos 980, which encapsulates the 5G baseband in the SoC without any need for external plug-ins. Samsung also said that the Exynos 980 has begun sampling and will start mass production by the end of this year.
In the past, Samsung’s Exynos series was named with four digits. This time it was changed to three digits. So we guess the South Korean company is clearly showing who it is going to struggle against.
On the evening of the same day, Li Xiaolong, vice president of Huawei’s smartphone product line, questioned the specifications of Exynos 980 on Weibo, saying that ‘there is a manufacturer that has released a 980 chip today. One of the announced parameters is that it supports the highest frequency in the 5G network Sub-6GHz band. The 2.55Gbps download rate has caused us to have a discussion because the theoretical rate of 100MHz bandwidth can be achieved at a maximum of 2.34Gbps based on the 3GPP R-15 protocol standard. Today, some manufacturers have broken through this limit, and there must be some miracles.’
It is not difficult to see that Samsung and Qualcomm are now attacking Huawei front and back. So there is every reason to think, in the era of 5G smartphones, the competition of 5G chips will also be staged.