Huawei’s new Kirin 990 processors is an octa-core chip with 16-core Mali-G76 graphics that’s probably destined for some the company’s upcoming Mate and Honor flagships.

But Huawei is also introducing a Kirin 990 5G variant. Not only is it the company’s first mobile processor with integrated 5G support (rather than a separate-chip solution), but it also supports higher CPU speeds and features better dedicated hardware for AI processing.

Of course, 5G is still rolling out globally and it’s not universally available yet, carriers tend to charge a premium for accessing networks using the new high-speed, low-latency standard, and smartphones with 5G support tend to be pricier than their 4G-only peers.

So it makes sense that Huawei would offer a non-5G variant of its new processor. While I’m not entirely sure why the company felt the need to make it slightly less powerful than the 5G version, I suspect there won’t be a huge impact on real-world performance.

Here’s a run-down of some key specs for each chip, with the differences highlighted:

Kirin 990 5GKirin 990
 Process 7nm+ EUV 7nm
 CPU 2x Cortex-A76 based @ 2.86 GHz 2x Cortex-A76 based @ 2.86 GHz
 CPU 2x Cortex-A76 based @ 2.36 GHz 2x Cortex-A76 based @ 2.09 GHz
 CPU 2x Cortex-A55 based @ 1.95 GHz 2x Cortex-A55 based @ 1.86 GHz
 GPU 16-core Mali-G7616-core Mali-G76 16-core Mali-G7616-core Mali-G76
 NPU 2 Big cores + 1 Tiny core 1 Big core + 1 Tiny core
 UFS UFS 3.0, UFS 2.1 UFS 3.0, UFS 2.1
 Modem 2G/3G/4G/5G 2G/3G/4G/5G

Huawei is holding an event later this month where the company is expected to unveil the new Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro. It’s likely that the smartphones will be powered by these new Kirin 990-series processor, as will other upcoming phones from Huawei and Honor.

You can find more details in AnandTech’s coverage of Huawei’s press conference, or just watch the entire press conference:

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3 replies on “Huawei introduces Kirin 990 and Kirin 990 5G smartphone chips”

  1. Looks expensive to make… 7nm 100mm^2. Apple’s A12 is 83mm^2 and Qualcomm’s 855 is
    73mm^2. I hope 5G is worth it.

    1. Not really.
      Ever since 2010, the die-size of these SoC’s have doubled in size from the 20-50mm2 range, now to the 70-120mm2 range. So things haven’t changed, and manufacturers know they cannot increase prices by much since that just equates to lower orders anyway. Usually the Apple-A SoC’s cost most to manufacture, followed closely by the Samsung Exynos, then lastly there’s the Huawei Kirin and Qualcomm Snapdragon.

      Nvidia Tegra chips used to be a solid third-place, but these aren’t really in high-quantity manufacturing not like since 2011-2014. Other manufacturers from MediaTek, to RockChip, to Allwinner, AMLogic, Broadcomm and VIA are all on the other end of cost spectrum.

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