Despite US pressure Huawei 7nm processors address 5G

Despite US pressure Huawei 7nm processors address 5G

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

What remains uncertain is what operating system will be offered on the Mate 30 as Google and Android have removed support for Huawei under a US trade ban. But in terms of hardware Huawei’s chip design subsidiary HiSilicon and its foundry TSMC continue to create world-leading silicon.

The Kirin 990 is crafted using a 7nm manufacturing process from TSMC while the the 5G version is crafted using the 7nm+ process, where critical layers are defined using extreme ultraviolet lithography.

The Kirin 990 5G, with 10.3 billion transistors is a significant step up from the Kirin 980 with 6.9 billion transistors and the Kirin 970 with 5.5 billion transistors.

The Kirin 990 5G includes the Balong modem block and supports a download speed of 2.3Gbps in the sub-6GHz band and a peak upload of 1.25GHz, which is slightly behind the 5G capable Exynos 980 recently announced by Samsung (see Samsung announces 5G-capable Exynos processor).

In terms of processing performance the octa-core  Kirin 990 is capable of a 20 percent improvement in overall performance and 30 percent enhancement in energy efficiency when compared to the Kirin 980 (see China claims 7nm chip lead with Kirin 980), the company claims. Reportedly this is achieved by the combination of two big cores, two medium cores and four small cores, the same approach as used on the 980.

Huawei does not refer explicitly to the cores, possibly due to the fact that it has ceased to receive direct support from processor licensor ARM under the US ban on trade (see Report: ARM complies with US trade ban, cuts off Huawei).

Next: Same cores?

However, the cores are likely to be same as in the Kirin 980: two Cortex-A76 optimized for highest performance, two Cortex-A76 optimized for a trade off between performance and power consumption, and four Cortex-A55 cores optimized for power consumption. Huawei has been able to push the highest clock frequencies up to 2.86GHz, 2.36GHz and 1.95GHz, respectively, according to reports.

As with the Kirin 980 Huawei has a dual-core neural processor (NPU) on the Kirin 990 5G with a big core plus tiny core approach, but only a single Da Vinci NPU on the Kirin 990. Both versions of the Kirin 980 have a 16-core Mali-G76 GPU.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Samsung announces 5G-capable Exynos processor

China claims 7nm chip lead with Kirin 980

Huawei launches 7nm ARM server processor

Report: ARM complies with US trade ban, cuts off Huawei

ARM gets a rival as AMD licenses graphics IP to Samsung

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