Mystery Huawei device surfaces on Kirin 990 SoC benchmark; chip still falls short of A13 Bionic

Mystery Huawei device surfaces on Kirin 990 SoC benchmark; chip still falls short of A13 Bionic
Huawei's recently announced Kirin 990 chipset does feature a variant with an integrated 5G modem saving battery life and freeing up some additional memory. The component is designed by the Chinese manufacturer's HiSilicon unit and is manufactured by TSMC using its 7nm+ EUV process. Essentially, EUV, or extreme ultraviolet lithography, is a more precise method to create patterns on a chip. This allows more transistors to fit inside the integrated circuit making it more powerful and energy-efficient. The 5G version of the chipset contains 10.3 billion transistors while the 4G variant carries "only" 8 billion. The Kirin 990 will debut inside the Huawei Mate 30 line and is expected to power the foldable Mate X (whenever the device launches) and next year's P40 series.

Recently, an unknown Huawei device running the Kirin 990 SoC was benchmarked on Geekbench. For those unfamiliar with the benchmarking process, it is done to objectively compare two different devices or the same device running with different specs or components. It is simply a way to make these comparisons without interjecting one's personal feelings into the equation. Last Thursday, an unknown Huawei device with the model number NLE-AL00 was listed on Geekbench (via WCCFTech) and was running Android 10. A source cited by GizmoChina says that the device is not one of the new Mate 30 models and could be the Mate 30 X or a new flagship for the Honor brand. Besides running Android 10 (which is questionable for any upcoming Huawei model in light of the U.S. supply chain ban), the mystery device is equipped with 8GB of RAM.

Apple's A13 Bionic is, for now, the fastest chipset found in a smartphone


With the release of this benchmark test, it appears that Apple wasn't lying when it said that the A13 Bionic SoC,  powering the iPhone11 and iPhone 11 Pro models unveiled last week, is the fastest chipset currently found inside a phone. While the Kirin 990 had single-core and multi-core scores of 3842 and 11644 respectively, the A13 Bionic rang up a single-core score of 5472 and a multi-core score of 13769. Based on the 1.86GHz clock speed that was listed on the Kirin 990's Geekbench test, the results would appear to come from the 4G LTE variant of the chipset. That's because the Cortex-A55 cores on the 5G version of the Kirin 990 run at 1.95GHz while on the 4G LTE version, these cores run at 1.86GHz.


We should point out that the A13 Bionic is designed in California by Apple, but is also manufactured by TSMC using an enhanced version of its 7nm+ EUV process called N7 Pro. And get ready for even more powerful chips in the near future. TSMC should start pumping out 5nm chipsets next year followed by 3nm chips as soon as 2022. To show you exactly what is at stake here (and if the 10.3 billion transistors inside a single 5G Kirin 990 SoC doesn't blow your mind), a single chip made using the 5nm process will contain 171.3 million transistors per square millimeter. And while some say that the industry might not be able to move past 3nm, at least at the speed that we've experienced since the early 1970s, TSMC says it is looking at ways to improve the packaging of a chip. One method being looked at would stack transistors vertically instead of side-by-side. Another possibility is a move away from silicon and toward material with different properties. Last month we told you that TSMC is combing through the periodic tables looking for a possible replacement for silicon.

FEATURED VIDEO

50 Comments

1. Alcyone

Posts: 488; Member since: May 10, 2018

Get ready for an across the board price increase. Silicon is cheap compared to what the next element may cost. Prices should come done over time, as production increases.

23. Marcwand3l

Posts: 446; Member since: May 08, 2017

Silicon is not cheap especially silicon on 7nm+. Also developing a chip on a bleading edge manufacturing process costs hundreds of millions of dollars.

26. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

In everyday use there's no performance difference in any of these high-end chips. However the Kirin 990 with an integrated 5G modem is way ahead of the A13, they're not even in the same conversation.

30. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2253; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

In what ways? The 990 is equivalent to the A11 chipset in terms of performance. Just because it has a 5G integrated chipset doesn’t make the 990 better than the A13. Better yet, I bet you don’t live in a 5G area nor do you have a 5G phone. So why is 5G relevant to you?

33. scarface21173

Posts: 700; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Future proof, 5G is going to be everywhere soon.

45. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2253; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Scarface...good luck finding a signal.

48. agsystems

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 16, 2019

Future proof on a phone? what's the likelihood anyone is keeping their phones past 5 years?

52. baldilocks

Posts: 1540; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

No Android is future proof.......so there's that.

35. Gustaurus

Posts: 22; Member since: Sep 03, 2018

A11? Lol.. Have u ever watch real speed test between Kirin 980 vs A12? Watch it! And then think about your statement after u have watched. A11 is not on class with Kirin 980. Benchmark is run on different OS, so it's just a number. It's not real because it is compared with different work of the OS. We can only see Android vs Android benchmark (for example ROG II and Meizu 16s Pro is on top Antutu). Of course we can see the benchmark between latest iPhone and older iPhone. The problem of Android is that OS feels heavier and less smoother than iOS because of the framework. So the Android SoC makers run more heavy than Apple SoC on running iOS.

39. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

What u call a real speed test is more about random/sequential read-write sppeds of storage and about app optimizations on different OSes than about processors. So get to know that stuff before talking about 'real speed tests'.

38. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

I don't need to live in a 5G area to comment on the most advanced chip available. Even Qualcomm haven't released a chip with an integrated 5G modem and they're the main modem supplier to Apple for the time being. A13 is undoubtedly fast but it's going to be virtually useless in China which already has wide 5G coverage. Pull your head out of your a$$ and stick to the facts.

2. Priyam009

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 23, 2018

Its easy to optimize a chip on a inhouse developed OS to get the highest score on any benchmarking website! Nonetheless Geekbebch always tends to lean towards Bionic chips anyway... In real world performance review almost every reviewer found kirin 980 was as fast as last years A12 whereas they had a huge gap in Geekbebch scores! So these cross platform benchmarking doesn't matter as of now this is the fastest chip for Android till SD865 arrives & then Kirin 1000 and the cycle goes on!

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yea with CPUs I'm more interested in efficiency improvements We need more performance in ML/AI and image processing The Kirin 990 5G's NPU is supposedly +25% in FP16 and +80% in INT8 compared to the A12 Whereas the A13's NPU is supposedly only +20% faster than the A12

40. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

I don't get why so many people liked ur stupid post. If you actually do some research, u and all of ur likers would realize how much faster Bionics are compared to Kirins in CPU speed. An example is exporting large videos or photos. That requires tons of CPU power and A12 destroys snapdragons and kirins in that regard. And for your info, according to Gary from Android Authority (and not me), Geekbench is a far more realistic representation of a CPU's performance than Phonebuff-style speedtest. Since geekbench doesn't take into account app optimizations or read/write speeds of storage. How about that mr.genius? You can't deny Gary if u thought I am a liar.

42. Priyam009

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 23, 2018

They liked it perhaps just like your DP suggests you are a brainless isheep others might prefer using their head a bit more! Go and watch YouTube full of speedtest videos where your puny overhyped apple stutters despite having huge benchmark uperhand! Ofcourse isheeps can unsee things that others can't cheers!https://youtu.be/ngF15Etl7zY just for everyone's reference Watch mighty Apple a12 gets kicked by kirin980

50. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Dude, u joined last year. U don't know trash about me, haha! And if u think my pic denotes that I am an Apple fanboy, then you're seriously mistaken my friend. U clearly need to know not to question veterans of this site. I have plenty of honest friends who can tell u how biased or unbiased I am, but sadly PA's new design makes it impossible for me to tell them to give some knowledge to u. U ignored all my words above and still keep rambling about all that stupid stuff. Stay stupid if u like to do so. Go pray to Kirin 980 to solve all ur problems. See if I care....

47. Marcwand3l

Posts: 446; Member since: May 08, 2017

>You can't deny Gary if u thought I am a liar.< Gary didn't say specifically that " Geekbench is a far more realistic representation of a CPU's performance than Phonebuff-style speedtest". He codenamed the fact that not all speed tests on youtube are consistent enough to be considered the equivalent of a benchmark program or a very accurate representation of the capabilities of the devices tested. Phonebuff's speedtest is probably the best in terms of consistency and control so knowing Gary he would only have words of praise for Phonebuff's test style. A combination of fast CPU, GPU storage and balanced amount of RAM is what makes a phone feel fast and consistent in daily usage. And if the Android phone feels fast and responsive why it's so important how much the A13 scores in Geekbench especially when Apple fans don't even care about the multicore score because Android SOCs are competitive in that area. Another thing. Kirin 990's competitive NPU, no Apple fans cares about it if it doesn't "win" in a benchmark against Android SOCs.

49. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

No dude, I never said benchmark scores are more important. ofcourse a device feeling snappier is more important than benchmarks.

3. Shaaki

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 13, 2019

I request the phone makers to make a phone for the people who are not working in offices. Currently the phones coming out are delicate and glassy and can break screen easily. I work as courier driver and need a phone like a brick , strong and big battery and with bazzles. I hope they will listen this.

5. Papa_Ji

Posts: 859; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

You should try Galaxy active series....or import from Aliexpress.

9. Ham149

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 09, 2019

The glass sandwich design exists for a reason, which is to enable wireless charging.. either glass or plastic/polycarbonate

17. XyAzario

Posts: 53; Member since: Mar 15, 2019

There are a lot of phones that cater to that need. e.g Samsung active devices or CAT phones which are really tough and meant for people who work in industrial areas. As a courier, Samsung might be more for you. Or, you could even import rugged phones from Aliexpress.

4. OneLove123

Posts: 1189; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

So, what's the A13 antutu score, you guys keep talking about geekbench. Did the A13 finally beat sd 855 or 55+ in that? You cant6 say it has the fastest chip when it's not king of antutu.

6. Loveneesh

Posts: 443; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

Well antutu and geekbench scores should not used as a meter to rank chipset as they are dependent on other things in the phones too. Sd855+ may be not better chipset compared to a13 but in real life no one can tell the difference. I have SD845 poco f1 and I don't see it any slow compared to my k20 pro and my brother's iPhones Xs.

7. Loveneesh

Posts: 443; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

*even my poco f1 is getting snappier after updates.

14. Papa_Ji

Posts: 859; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

No....your brother's iPhone Xs is getting slower.

16. Loveneesh

Posts: 443; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

That's the reason why I don't buy iPhones anymore, As I use my phone for minimum of 2years.

41. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

yes the Poco f1 is an amazing phone. And 855+ is awesome with minimal speed differences in light day-to-day tasks compared to A12/A13. No one can deny that. I personally am disappointed that there's no Poco F2 though the k20 pro relieves some of that disappointment.

51. Loveneesh

Posts: 443; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

Redmi k20 pro is actually poco f2 but with different name and branding, I think they want to build there redmi brand more than the poco.

11. whatev

Posts: 2332; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Lol, Antutu, the benchmark where you get 500000, then in the second run 10000 and the third 300000, so reliable :)))))

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.