Huawei‘s chip-making arm HiSilicon reportedly has yet another variant of its Kirin 9000 flagship SoC in the works. According to multiple reports on Chinese microblogging website Weibo, the new chipset is Called Kirin 9000L. The reports also claim that Samsung Foundry, the Korean company’s sister firm that deals with semiconductor fabrication, will manufacture the upcoming Kirin processor.
Much like the original Kirin 9000 and the Kirin 9000E, the new Kirin 9000L will also be based on a 5nm process node. The former two used TSMC’s 5nm process nodes while the upcoming solution will use Samsung’s EUV process node. However, the rumored CPU, GPU, and NPU configurations suggest it will slightly inferior to the other two models.
The Kirin 9000 and 9000E both have their prime Cortex-A77 CPU cores clocked at 3.13GHz but the Kirin 9000L will operate at a maximum frequency of 2.86GHz. And while the new chipset does still keep the Mali-G78 GPU, it only has 18 cores. The Mali-G78 GPU on the Kirin 9000 and 9000E has 24 cores and 22 cores respectively.
Moreover, the Kirin 9000L also gets a less powerful NPU. Reports on Weibo suggest it will equip a single large core NPU. The Kirin 9000 features two big and one tiny NPU cores. The Kirin 9000E, meanwhile, gets one large and one tiny NPU cores.
Reports suggest Huawei will use the Kirin 9000L in the P50 series, along with the Kirin 9000E. Perhaps the Pro model will feature the 9000E while the vanilla Huawei P50 will get the 9000L.
Samsung will reportedly manufacture the Kirin 9000L
While there’s no way to confirm the authenticity of this information, the sources claim that Samsung will manufacture the Kirin 9000L processor for Huawei. Samsung Foundry is the second-largest contract foundry in the world after TSMC.
However, you might already know that the latest US sanctions bar any company that uses American-origin software or component in the manufacturing process from supplying chips to Huawei. This is the very reason why the beleaguered Chinese company, which was once TSMC’s second-largest customer after Apple, can no longer have the Taiwanese chip giant manufacture its Kirin chipsets. These sanctions also affect Samsung Foundry.
That said, there have been reports that Samsung has tied up with Japanese and European manufacturers to build a small production line using equipment that doesn’t come from the US. If there’s truth in all these reports, then the Kirin 9000L SoC may go official sooner than later. We will keep you updated as and when more information emerges.