Huawei today at the IFA 2019 officially unveiled its new flagship single-chip platform, the Kirin 990 5G. The key feature of the new product is the integrated 5G modem, which is reflected in the name, and Huawei also notes high performance and advanced features related to artificial intelligence.
The Kirin 990 5G single-chip platform is manufactured using an improved 7-nm process technology using EUV lithography (7-nm + EUV). At the same time, novelty is one of the most complex processors for smartphones, which has 10.3 billion transistors.
First of all, Huawei focuses on the fact that the Kirin 990 5G is the world’s first single-chip platform for smartphones, which has a built-in 5G modem. In current 5G smartphones, manufacturers use SoC with a built-in 4G modem and a separate 5G modem. Of course, such a bundle consumes more energy (up to 20%) than a single crystal and has a 36% larger area.
The modem in Kirin 990 5G is capable of receiving and transmitting data at speeds up to 2.3 and 1.25 Gbit / s, respectively. 5G NSA and SA modes are supported. Of course, in addition to 5G networks, there is also support for previous generations of cellular communications.
For the functions of artificial intelligence meets the new neural processor module NPU. It consists of two “large” and one “small” blocks. The first is executed on Da Vinci architecture and are intended for performance of “heavy” tasks. The “small” core, in turn, is highly energy efficient. In general, the Kirin 990 in terms of AI is ahead of the competition in the face of the Apple A12 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, while consuming less power.
Kirin 990 has eight processor cores, divided into three clusters. The “large” cluster includes two Cortex-A76 cores with a frequency of 2.86 GHz, the “middle” cluster also includes two Cortex-A76 cores, but with a frequency of 2.36 GHz, and the “small” cluster includes four Cortex-A55 cores with a frequency of 1, 95 GHz.
Actually, compared to the Kirin 980, the structure has not changed, but the frequencies have increased. According to Huawei, the Kirin 990 5G processor is ahead of the Snapdragon 855 by 10% in single-threaded tasks and by 9% in multi-threaded ones. At the same time, the Chinese novelty is 12–35% more energy efficient than the Snapdragon 855.
But the graphics processor has undergone much more significant changes. If the 10-core Mali-G76 was used in the Kirin 980, then the new Kirin 990 already has a 16-core version of the Mali-G76. As a result, in terms of graphic performance, the Kirin 990 is 6% ahead of the Snapdragon 855, while consuming 20% less energy.
Also note that Huawei has equipped the new processor with a “smart” cache, which provides a performance increase of 15%. And yet, the Kirin 990 received a new Dual ISP image processing processor, which works 15% faster and more efficiently, and also allows you to reduce noise in photos and videos by 30 and 20%, respectively.
Interestingly, Huawei will also release the Kirin 990 processor without an integrated 5G modem. This chip will also have lower frequencies of the “medium” and “small” clusters – 2.09 and 1.86 GHz, respectively, and its NPU will consist of only one “large” and one “small” core. The first smartphone on the Kirin 990 will be the flagship Huawei Mate 30, which will be presented on September 19 at a special event in Munich.
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