Huawei unveils the 7mn Kirin 990 5G chipset and its non-5G sibling

6 September 2019, 10:42:21

Huawei unveils the 7mn Kirin 990 5G chipset and its non-5G siblingHuawei has unveiled the 7nm Kirin 990 chipset with an integrated 5G modem and a non-5G variant. The unit supports full 5G connectivity, that is to say - Sub-6 GHz networks on non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) architectures, along with the FDD and TDD LTE spectre. Huawei is the first in the industry to offer such a solution. The Kirin 990 is built with the 7nm FinFET Plus EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) node by TSMC and is more compact than the Snapdragon 885+5G modem combo. It also has 10.3 billion transistors, the first for a mobile system-on-chip, which makes it more power-efficient.

The Kirin 990 5G system-on-chip features an octa-core CPU in a tri-cluster architecture consisting of 2x 2.86GHz Cortex-A76 cores, 2x 2.36GHz Cortex-A76 cores and 4x 1.95GHz Cortex-A55 cores. A 16-core Mali-G76 GPU handles the graphics and promises immersive gaming. The built-in smart cache for games reduces the GPU to DDR bandwidth by up to 15% and power consumption by 12%. As long as it concerns photo and video processing, the new chipset employs the new 5th Gen. Dual ISP for DSLR-level hardware noise reduction, block-matching and 3D filtering. For videos dual-domain noise reduction and frame-by-frame AI colour adjustments are also available.

Moreover, the Kirin 990 houses a quad-core Neural Processing Unit (NPU) based on its in-house developed DaVinci architecture. Huawei claims that it is better than Qualcomm's AI Engine, Samsung's own Neural Processing Unit, and Apple's A12 Bionic. It is here that there's a difference between the 5G Kirin 990 and the non-5G version. The first will get a NPU with a dual Big Core + Tiny core combo, while the non-5G version will get a NPU with a single Big Core + Tiny core. The NPU will work with Facebook's Tensorflow and Google's Android NN platforms.

Finally, the Kirin 990 chipset arrives with a new Kirin A1 co-processor. An independent power management unit that will handle Bluetooth connectivity, ultra-low-power apps and audio decoding for improved power efficiency. The new chipset will arrive with the Huawei Mate 30 series and will be available in October. Other flagship devices from Huawei and Honor with this SoC are sure to follow.

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