Hardware

World’s First 5G-Integrated All-In-One Smartphone Processor With Advanced GPU, NPU And CPU Launched: Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC Also Comes In 4G

Huawei has become the first semiconductor and mobile processor manufacturer to successfully launch a smartphone System on a Chip (SoC) with integrated 5G modem. The Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC packs a lot of power in an efficient and small form factor that beats even the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 which still needs and independent or detached 5G modem. The Kirin 990 mobile processor also comes in 4G variant, and hence the new processor could be seen in smartphones as soon as this year itself.

Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC Is The World’s First All-Inclusive 5G-integrated chipset With Advanced CPU, GPU and NPU:

Huawei has grabbed the honor of indigenously developing and manufacturing the first commercial-grade SoC which includes the next-gen 5G modem within. The in-house developed HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC has been manufactured on the equally futuristic 7nm FinFET Plus EUV manufacturing process. The top-end smartphone all-in-one processor features an upgraded GPU and NPU for even greater performance than the previous Kirin 980 chipset. The closest comparison the Kirin 990 SoC would be the Apple’s upcoming A13 chip which uses the same manufacturing process.

Incidentally, Samsung recently announced its integrated 5G-capable SoC, the Exynos 980. However, Huawei’s Kirin 990 SoC would most probably beat the Exynos 980 to market. While the advanced CPU, GPU, and NPU do set the Kirin 990 apart, it is unique primarily because the SoC comes with an integrated modem on board – as a true SoC should be. All other 5G-capable chipsets till date were with 5G modems attached on the SoC. In addition to the 5G version of Kirin 990, there’s also a 4G variant of the chipset. The 4G Kirin 990 chipset would most likely be embedded in budget phone models from the Chinese brand. Nonetheless, this version has all the same computing power, only lacking the 5G connectivity.

Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC Specifications, Features:

The HiSilicon Kirin 990 will obviously be better than the already powerful Kirin 980 SoC that’s included in the present-day premium and high-end Android smartphones. The 7nm Kirin 990 chipset is the world’s first chip to have more than 10.3 billion transistors. The 5G SoC reportedly delivers 10 percent higher single-core and 9 percent higher multi-core performance than the Snapdragon 855, the top-end competing SoC from Qualcomm. The performance bump is due to the 8 cores: 2x big Cortex-A76 @2.86GHz, 2x middle Cortex-A76 @2.36GHz and 4x small Cortex-A55 @1.95GHz. Surprisingly, Huawei’s latest chipset is 26 percent smaller than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 and 36 percent smaller than Samsung’s Exynos 9820.

Incidentally, the Snapdragon 855 relies on X50 Modem to connect to 5G. The modem integrated within the HiSilicon Kirin 990 manages a peak download rate of 2.3 Gbps and has a peak upload rate of 1.25 Gbps. The 7nm+ EUV process has allowed Huawei to optimize the power efficiency of the 5G Kirin 990 SoC. The chipset claims 12 percent better efficiency of the performance cores, while the middle and efficiency cores claim 35 percent and 15 percent gains, respectively.

The Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC packs the same Mali-G76 GPU from the previous Kirin 980 SoC. However, this time the GPU has 6 more cores making it 16 in total. Huawei has significantly optimized the GPU to DDR bandwidth to boost Android smartphone gaming performance without intensively taxing the battery. Overall, the new Mali-G76 GPU is claimed to be about 6 percent better than Adreno 640. Huawei also introduced the new Kirin A1 co-processor. The dedicated and independent power management unit will help to deal with Bluetooth connectivity, ultra-low-power applications, and audio decoding.

The most important aspect besides integrated 5G modem is the quad-core NPU on board the Kirin 990 chipset, which is built on the new Da Vinci Architecture. Huawei claims the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) is so powerful that premium Huawei smartphones with the SoC can render real-time videos based on the new Real-Time Multi-Instance Segmentation. The NPU will pair well with Huawei’s HiAI platform which also works well with Facebook’s Tensorflow and Google’s Android NN platforms. The NPU will also allow recording 8K HDR videos at 30fps.

Several top-end and premium Huawei smartphones, like the Huawei Mate 30 Series, and the foldable Huawei Mate X could soon ship with the new HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC. The only question is will Huawei install Google’s Android or its own smartphone operating system on them.


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