【上】华为发布业界首款5G SoC芯片 麒麟990 5G
2019-09-07 bluebit 20629
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Huawei’s Kirin 990 5G promises up to 2.3Gbps download speeds

华为麒麟990 5G有望达到2.3Gbps下载速度

Huawei Kirin 990 5G


Despite regulatory setbacks and fiercer competition than ever before, Huawei remains the second-largest smartphone vendor in the world by shipment volume. But phones are just one of many segments the Beijing-based company has invested billions in, with gadgets like tablets, set-top boxes, laptops, and headphones coming in a close second.


Then there’s its chip business. Huawei’s Shenzhen-based, wholly owned fabless semiconductor division, HiSilicon, has grown to become one of the largest integrated circuit designers in China over the last 15 years. Its Kirin lineup competes against chipsets from the likes of Qualcomm, MediaTek, and other Arm licensees, and the newest member of the family — the Kirin 990 5G — is a veritable chart-topper. In point of fact, Huawei says it’s the most powerful processor on the market and that it’s best in class with respect to power efficiency.

其次便为它的芯片业务。过去15年,位于深圳的华为基地、全资拥有的无晶圆厂半导体部门海斯力康(HiSilicon)已成长为中国最大的集成电路设计厂商之一。华为麒麟与高通(Qualcomm)、联发科(MediaTek)和其他Arm授权芯片组厂商系列产品相互竞争,而麒麟最新家族成员麒麟990 5G 已成为名副其实的佼佼者。事实上,华为表示麒麟990 5G 是目前市场上最强大的处理器,功效方面也是同类产品中最好的。

A revamped architecture


The Kirin 990 5G, which like the Kirin 980 is manufactured on a 7nm process but with extreme ultraviolet lithography, boasts 10.3 billion transistors in all. (That’s up from 6.9 billion in the Kirin 980 and 5.5 billion in the Kirin 970.) Contributing to the uptick is a refreshed eight-core architecture with two Cortex-A76 high-performance cores for demanding computation, two Cortex-A76 “middle cores” that juggle everyday workloads, and four Cortex-A55 efficiency cores that field light task like music playback and file transfers.


The cores themselves are identical to those in the Kirin 980, but their clock speeds have been increased slightly. The high-performance cores now hit 2.86GHz versus 2.6GHz, while the middle cores reach 2.36GHz compared with 1.92GHz and the efficiency cores get up to 1.95GHz versus the previous maximum of 1.8GHz. According to Huawei, this together confers a 10% single-core and and 9% multi-core performance advantage over Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855.

麒麟990 5G核心本身与其他麒麟980基本相同,但他们的主频时钟略有提高。高性能内核从2.6GHz提升至2.86GHz,中间核从1.92GHz提升至2.36GHz,高效核从1.8GHz增加到1.95GHz。据华为表示,与高通的Snapdragon 855相比,这两款手机的单核和多核性能分别有10%和9%的性能优势

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, speaking at IFA 2019

华为消费业务集团首席执行官 余承东在IFA大会上进行演讲

Rarely are all eight of the Kirin 980’s cores used simultaneously. Instead, a “flexible scheduling mechanism” ramps them up individually as needed — one efficiency core for music decoding, for example, or three middle cores for turn-by-turn navigation. Demanding apps like high-end games lean on four efficiency cores and two middle cores, or some combination of high-performance cores and middle cores.


There’s a powerful 12-core graphics chip inside the Kirin 990 5G that’s paired with the eight-core processor: The Mali-G76. It packs six more cores than the Mali-G76 in the Kirin 980 and a cache that serves to reduce bandwidth usage and power draw. These and other improvements enable the new Mali-G76 to leapfrog the Snapdragon 855’s Adreno 640 chip, according to Huawei, by 6% in terms of overall performance and 20% in efficiency.

麒麟990 5G内置了强大的12核图形芯片,以及8核Mali-G76处理器。它比麒麟 980中的Mali-G76多嵌入了6个内核,还有缓存,可以减少带宽使用和功耗。华为称,这些改进使新款Mali-G76的整体性能和效率分别提高了6%和20%,超过了骁龙855的Adreno 640芯片。

When it comes to photography, the Kirin 990 5G features an improved dual image signal processor (ISP) that Huawei says is up to 15% more power-efficient than its predecessor. It’s capable of reducing noise in still images by up to 30% and in videos by up to 20%, thanks to block-matching and 3D filtering (BM3D) and dual-domain reduction techniques, the latter of which takes into account a video’s spatial and frequency domain in identifying and zapping artifacts. Huawei characterizes its performance as “DSLR-level.”

说到拍摄,麒麟990 5G采用了改进的双图像信号处理器(ISP),华为表示这款处理器的功耗比前一代高15%。由于块匹配、3D滤波(BM3D)以及双域降噪技术,它能够将降低30%的静止图像噪点,降低20%视频图像噪,而双域降噪技术在识别和消除伪影时考虑了视频的空间和频域。华为将其表现定义为“单反水平”

Supercharged AI


Huawei also touts the breadth of the Kirin 990 5G’s computer vision model support, arguing it accelerates 90% of the commonly used computer vision algorithms — including Inception, Deep Lab, VDSR, VGG, and MobileNet-SSD — more effectively than any rival AI chip.

华为还高调宣称麒麟990 5G计算机视觉模型支持广泛,称它比任何竞争对手的人工智能芯片的有效计算效率快90%,包括Inception、Deep Lab、VDSR、VGG和MobileNet-SSD(注:以上为人脸识别算法模型)

The 5G chip arms race kicked off in earnest last year with the announcement of Qualcomm’s first 5G solution for mobile devices, and Huawei claims it has in that time managed to far surpass competitors from a technological standpoint. Case in point? The Kirin 990 5G will be one the first all-in-one, full-frequency 5G chipsets to market later this year, on a die area that’s roughly 36% smaller than rival products demonstrated to date. It will support four sub-6Hz antennas in total and both non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) architectures as well as TDD/FDD full frequency bands, but not millimeter-wave.

去年,高通(Qualcomm)宣布为移动设备推出首个5G解决方案,标志着5G芯片竞赛正式拉开帷幕。华为声称,在此期间,华为已在技术上远超竞争对手。例证么?今年晚些时候将上市首款搭载麒麟990 5G 的智能手机、全频5G芯片组,其模具面积比迄今为止竞争对手产品小36%左右(注:指手机内置的电路板大小)。它将总共支持4个SUB6hz天线,同时支持非独立(NSA)和独立(SA)架构,以及TDD/FDD全频段,但不支持毫米波频段。

The chip’s performance won’t disappoint if benchmark results are to be believed. Huawei claims the Kirin 990 5G’s machine learning-based adaptive receiver and split uplix design boosts download and upload speeds in “high-movement” weak-signal environments like cars, train stations, and busses, delivering up to 5.8 times the max upload speed of leading chipsets in preliminary testing. In spots with stronger signals, it’s theoretically capable of reaching downlix and uplix rates of up to 2.3Gbps and 1.25Gbps, respectively.

如果测试结果可信,该芯片的性能不会令人失望。华为表示,麒麟990 5G基于机器学习的自适应接收器和分路上行设计,在汽车、火车站和公交车等在“高速”信号弱的环境下,提高了上下载速率,最高上传速度是目前已有芯片最高速度的5.8倍。在信号较强的地点,理论上上下行速率分别可以达到2.3Gbps和1.25Gbps。

There’s no doubt about it: The Kirin 990 5G is Huawei’s most ambitious chip yet. Only time will tell how it performs in the real world, of course, but we shouldn’t have long to wait. Huawei confirmed that the chip will feature prominently in the company’s upcoming Mate 30 series, which will be announced at an event in London in September.

毫无疑问,麒麟990 5G是华为迄今为止最具野心的芯片。当然,只有时间才能告诉我们它在现实世界中的表现,但我们不应该会等太久。华为证实,该芯片将在公司即将推出的Mate 30系列手机中搭载麒麟990 5G。Mate 30手机系列将于今年9月在伦敦的一个活动上发布

One thing’s sure: Huawei has Qualcomm firmly in its crosshairs. And if Huawei can deliver on its promises, it might just best its San Diego rival at its own game.


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