Huawei unveils Kirin 990 SoC with 5G Modem

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Chinese tech giant, Huawei has unveiled the next-gen of their mobile SoC – the HiSilicon Kirin 990.

The chipset is built on a 7nm process like its predecessor; Kirin 980 SoC. Though the Kirin 990 uses a brand new 7nm FinFET Plus EUV node by TSMC which promises better efficiency. For those who don’t know, this is the technology Apple is using for their upcoming A13 chipset.

The Kirin 990 will become the first mobile SoC with an integrated 5G modem. It is important to note that Samsung already announced a 5G integrated SoC but it’s yet to arrive in the market.

This move ensures less RAM usage and more optimized power consumption. The chip is also the first of its kind with more than 10.3 billions transistors.

The central processing unit of the chip makes uses of eight cores which has the following configurations; – two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.86GHz, two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.36GHz and four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.95GHz.

On paper, this configuration outperformed the Snapdragon 855 SoC by 9% in multi-core and 10% in single-core tests. This could be as a result of the 7nm+ EUV process which enabled Huawei to optimize the power efficiency of the chip.

The Kirin 990’s Mali-G76 GPU offers 6% better graphics performance than the Adreno 640 GPU. This is the GPU seen on the Kirin 980 but instead of 10 cores, Huawei added extra 6 cores which gives the Mali-G76 GPU of the Kirin 990 feature a total of 16 cores.

The AI aspect of the chip is pretty impressive. Its quad-core NPU is built on the new Da Vinci Architecture which improves both efficiency and performance.

According to Huawei, the NPU is quite powerful and based on the new Real-Time Multi-Instance Segmentation, you can render real-time videos. Aside from the NPU’s HiAI platform, it also works with Google’s Android NN platform and Facebook’s Tensorflow.

The Kirin 990 SoC will arrive sometime in October with the Huawei Mate 30 and 30 Pro. After which other Huawei and sub-brand Honor smartphones will follow suit.

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