Huawei’s new high-end SoC arrives with integrated 5G and 7nm lithography
Today we have known the new Honor 30, Honor 30 Pro and Honor 30 Pro +, three high-end devices that arrive on the market with a new processor. We speak, of course, of Kirin 985, a new platform developed by Huawei that is configured as the third SoC of the firm to have an integrated 5G modem.
The Kirin 985 is somewhat less powerful than the Kirin 990 (the one that mounts the Huawei Mate 30 Pro or the Huawei P40 Pro), but it shares with it the compatibility with both phases of the 5G rollout: NSA and SA. In this way, the processor will allow the high-end devices that mount it, that is, the respective Honor and Huawei, to access the current 5G networks and those that are to come soon.
Eight cores and 5G ready
Going to the raw numbers, the Kirin 985 is designed in seven nanometer lithograph, thus following other SoCs on the market such as the aforementioned Kirin 990 or the Snapdragon 865. Roughly, the lower the nanometers, the more efficiency and performance a processor offers. Seven nanometers is the most cutting-edge currently on the smartphone processor market, in the absence of TSMC, the company that makes the Kirin 985, begins mass-producing the five-nanometer models.
In the CPU we find eight cores divided into three blocks or clusters: one for maximum performance late, another for heavy tasks and another for lighter things. Thus, we have a 2.58 GHz Cortex A76, three 2.40 GHz Cortex A76s, and four 1.84 GHz Cortex A 55s. To put it in context, the Kirin 990 has two Cortex A76s at 2.86 GHz, another two at 2.09 GHz and four at 1.86 GHz, so in gross terms it is more powerful.
The GPU or graphics card is the Mali-G77, which is not exactly new, while ARM introduced the architecture in the middle of last year. It is a GPU very focused on machine learning, augmented and virtual reality and it is the first to implement the Valhall architecture. It’s 40% faster than the Mali-G76 and offers up to 60% faster machine learning speeds. In addition, it offers a 30% more energy efficient and uses 40% less bandwidth than its predecessor. In that sense, and always in numerical terms, this GPU is more powerful than the one mounted on the Huawei P40 Pro, which is, effectively, the Mali-G76.
HiSilicon returns to bet one neural processing unit or NPU, in this case with two cores (Large Core and Micro Core), which will take care of all the tasks related to artificial intelligence. The ISP is the Kirin ISP 5.0, so it’s the same as the Kirin 820 and Kirin 990. That, on a day-to-day basis, should translate into 15% more efficiency and 30% less noise in images than in the previous version.
We ended up talking about 5G, which is one of the great focuses of the industry. The Kirin 985 mounts the same modem as the Kirin 990 and is capable, according to Huawei, of getting some Theoretical maximum speeds of 1,277 Mbps download and 173 Mbps upload. Needless to say, it is compatible with 5G NSA and SA networks, so SoC arrives prepared for current and future networks. It operates in the bands n1, n3, n41, n77, n78 and n79.