As scheduled, Huawei has officially announced the company’s latest high-end Kirin 990 SoC which is manufactured by TSMC using the 7nm+ EUV process and has more than 10.3 billion transistors in total.
Currently, the Kirin 990 is the “industry’s first 5G SoC” which has a built-in 5G modem. Although Qualcomm, Samsung and Mediatek had already announced their plans to release a 5G-based SoC, but the Kirin 990 will still be the first to debut on an actual smartphone. The company’s upcoming flagship devices including the Mate 30 series and Mate X are already confirmed to be driven by the latest Kirin 990 SoC out of the box.
The good thing about having a built-in 5G modem is the improvement in power efficiency as compared to having a SoC and modem separately as in the case of current 5G smartphones. According to Huawei, the Kirin 990 can achieve a download speed of up to 2.3GB/s, and a upload speed of up to 1.25GB/s.
Essentially, the Kirin 990 chip comprises of eight ARM Cortex CPU cores including two Cortex-A76 clocked at at 2.86GHz, two Cortex-A76 clocked at 2.34GHz, as well as four Cortex-A55 clocked at 1.9GHz. GPU-wise, there are 16 Mali-G76 GPU cores to handle various graphical intensive tasks. Apparently, it’s new “SmartCache” implementation is said to save up to 15% DDR to GPU bandwidth and help reduce DDR power consumption by up to 12%.
Similar to the recently announced Kirin 810 SoC, Huawei also deploys the Da Vinci architecture for it’s NPU which is utilized for machine learning algorithms. Apparently, it’s NPU compartment consists of 2 x Small Core and 2 x Big Cores that can be put into good use for tasks like voice and face recognition.
Adding on, the Kirin 990 also feature a new ISP 5.0 which has an enhanced noise reduction for photography under low light conditions, as well as a more precise noise processing for video recordings – courtesy of it’s support for block-matching and 3D filtering (BM3D).
Of course, with all these advanced technologies under the hood, we will expect even more innovative software and features on the upcoming flagship devices which utilize the Kirin 990, including the Mate 30 and P40 series.