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Bionic Battle: Huawei Kirin 990 Vs Apple A13 Bionic Chip
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Bionic Battle: Huawei Kirin 990 Vs Apple A13 Bionic Chip

Recently at IFA 2019 (Europe’s Biggest Tech Show), hundreds of tech companies gathered for annual consumer tech conferences and exhibited their upcoming launches. These were announcements from some of the world’s biggest electronics brands, smartphone companies, wearables, gadget manufacturing companies.

One major announcement in the smartphone segment was from HiSilicon company about the launch of Kirin 990 in collaboration with Huawei to power the all-new Huawei Mate 30 Pro. Huawei Kirin 990 is one of the straight competitors to Apple’s A13 Bionic for iPhone 11 and soon will be known as the best chipset for Android Smartphones. Let’s understand the difference between both the chipsets exploring their features and capabilities.

Huawei’s Kirin 990

Huawei’s Kirin 990

CPU & GPU: Kirin 990 is the first high-end mobile application processor powered with an efficient 5G modem in a chip style design that is going to power Huawei Mate 30 Pro series. Kirin 990 comes with a tri-cluster octa-core CPU. Huawei Kirin 990 is a second-generation 7nm EUV lithography powered with Mali-G76 MP16 (16 cores) GPU. Kirin Processor cores can support 2xCortex-A76 at 2.86GHz, 2xCortex-A76 at 2.34GHz, 4xCortex-A55 at 1.9GHz with 10.3 billion transistors.

Kirin Modem: Kirin is equipped with a 5G Balong integrated Modem that will provide you 2.3Gbps of download speed, 1.25Gbps upload speed without mmWave with just sub-6Ghz and 4 antennas. As of now, this is the first processor supporting a 5G network connection.

AI Interface: Kirin 990 has got the most power-efficient AI with a wonderful image processing and video encoding power of up to 8K HDR at 30fps. Kirin 990 has got the first BM3D DSLR-level imaging and Dual Domain video noise reduction support. The Quad-core NPU made it all possible.

Benchmark Scores: As per the Antutu & Geekbench Benchmark Scores, Huawei Kirin 990 scored 3842 for single-core, and 11644 for multi-core. This is an early cut without hands-on experience on both the chipsets.

Apple A13 Bionic

CPU & GPU: Apple Bionic is using Hexa-core CPU integrated with two Lightning Performance cores running @2.65GHz with a 6% increase compared to last year’s A12. The CPU also has four efficiency cores known as Thunder with a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip. The company is claiming to offer 20% faster CPU speed and 30% more power efficiency in the usage. Apple confirms that iPhone 11 will have A13 Bionic chipset with 8.5 billion transistors. Apple A13 is still loaded with the same quad-core GPU which was there with A12, though apple claims to deliver 20% faster speed and 40% great power in comparison to A12’s GPU.

A13 5G Support: Unlike Huawei Kirin 990, A13 Bionic is yet to introduce 5G support on their devices. Apple has plans to launch 5G network support from 2020. Huawei Mate 30 series is going to introduce 5G connectivity with Kirin 990.

AI Interface: Apple’s A13 Bionic is going to add two machine learning accelerators to its six CPU cores (2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores). The chipset will now be able to perform six times faster matrix multiplication. A13 Bionic is equipped with octa-core Neural Engine to handle all the AI tasks.

Benchmark Scores: As per the Antutu & Geekbench Benchmark Scores, Apple’s A13 Bionic was able to manage 5,415 points in single-core and 11294 points in multi-core results on Geekbench. This gives A13 power to show a 12.5% improvement in the single-core results over the A12 and a 49.5% improvement over the SD855+.

Release Date9/12/20189/10/20198/31/20189/6/2019
Manufacturing Process7nm TSMC7nm TSMC7nm TSMC7nm TSMC EUV
Transistors6.9 Billion8.5 Billion6.9 Billion10.3 Billion
CPUCPU Cores2+42+42+2+42+2+4
Performance CPU2 Vortex CPUs (2.49 GHz)2 Performance CPUs with 20% Faster and 30% Lower PowerCortex-A76 (2.6GHz) x 2 + Cortex-A76 (1.92GHz) x 2Cortex-A76 (2.86GHz) x 2 + Cortex-A76 (2.36GHz) x 2
Efficiency CPU4 Tempest CPUs4 Efficiency CPUs With 20% Faster and 40% Low PowerCortex-A55 x 4Cortex-A55 (1.96GHz) x 4
Max Clock (GHz)2.49N/A2.62.86
GPUGPUInternally-Designed GPUFastest GPU Ever For SmartphonesMali-G76Mali-G76
GPU Cores441016
AI AcceleratorAI Processor8-Core Neural Engine8-Core Neural EngineDual NPUTriple NPU
5G5G ModemNoNoNoBalong 5000 Modem
RAM Frequency2490N/A21332133
Max BandwidthN/AN/A34.134.1
ConnectionAntutu3,63,580 Points (V7)N/A3,96,813 points (v7)
4,97,179 point (v8)
4,62,098 points (v7)
ISPApple-designed ISPSpectra 380 dual-core ISPISP 5.0


Which One Is The Best?

Well, it’s hard to comment on which one is the best as both are using different platforms, still, as per research and expert reviews, we can say that A13 will continue its dominance in single-core performance. At the same time, Huawei Kirin 990 5G will keep up its superiority in many other aspects.

As per the technical specifications, Kiri 990 wins the comparison though a regular user will not even recognize any difference while using both the chipsets. Maybe the one big caution for Apple is the lack of a 5G option which they are already working on.

No doubt, A13 is superior to A12 as it has improved a lot to work with iPhone 11, however in terms of technical specifications, it couldn’t beat Huawei Kirin 990.

Summing Up

Here we have reviewed and shared an unbiased comparison between two of the most powerful chipsets. Huawei Kirin 990 and Apple iPhone’s A13, both had improved massively from their previous version and got a tight competition to each other.

Kirin 990 with 5G technology turned out to be the editor’s choice and was compared ahead in terms of technical specifications. If you think, we missed out on anything. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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