Huawei develops and launches 7nm mobile processor with SMIC


US trade sanctions against China are getting tougher, but it seems that the Celestial Empire is still finding ways to solve the problem. Moreover, with the support of the state, companies continue to develop, implementing a program for the development of the domestic electronics industry.

So, Huawei recently announced a new smartphone HUAWEI Mate 60 Pro. It is not he who is interesting, but his processor. This Kirin 9000S is a completely Chinese development, and the chip was released using a 7nm process technology. Details are under the cut.

What is this processor?

The HUAWEI Kirin 9000S is the first mobile ARM processor to support the hyper-threading technology familiar to Intel and AMD chips. It has 8 physical cores with 12 threads. The cores are “specialized” as follows: one high-performance Taishan core at 2.62 GHz, three medium-sized Taishan cores at 2.15 GHz, and four energy-efficient Cortex-A510 cores at 1.5 GHz.

Details about the processor came to light thanks to several users who were able to test the chip and put the results online. One of these users was the author of the video posted below.

As it turned out, the performance of the main core of the chip is much lower than the performance of the Cortex X1 in the Snapdragon 888, but at the same time it consumes about 1 W more energy. Similarly, the Cortex-A710 loses energy efficiency and the average core. But the Cortex-A510 does better, at least in tests it showed better energy efficiency compared to the A510 as part of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

The chip itself received 1005 points in single-core mode and 4019 points. The power consumption of the process at full load is about 13 W, which is better than that of the Snapdragon 888. Well, the Maleoon-910 graphics received four 750 MHz cores at once, in terms of power and energy consumption it can be compared with the GPU of the same Snapdragon 888.

In general, you can see that the Chinese processor is weaker in many ways. But the more powerful Kirin 9100 is already being prepared for release, which will be received by the HUAWEI Mate 60 Pro + and Mate 60 RS smartphones.

Well, the processor and the processor, what’s wrong with that?

Everything is much more interesting than usual. According to the analytics company TechInsightsThe Huawei Kirin 9000S SoC, which is used in the new Huawei Mate 60 Pro smartphone, is rumored to be commercially produced by the Chinese company SMIC using a second-generation 7nm process and stacking.

As far as you can understand, the technology on the basis of which the processor is produced is called N + 2 SMIC. The company itself briefly mentioned it back in 2020, when it improved the previous generation, N + 1. True, in 2022, the Chinese press called N + 2 a technology for the production of processors using a 5-nm process technology. SMIC has never confirmed or denied the possibility of producing such chips. But, as we have already said, SMIC definitely released the MinerVa Semiconductor bitcoin mining ASIC using its 7nm N + 1 class technology.

As for the stacking itself, it is still unclear what and how the Chinese are doing. It’s likely they put the modem chip on top of the CPU chip and graphics to save space. But be that as it may, the current technology is a breakthrough for SMIC and Huawei. If companies have received or developed equipment for the production of modern chips, we will soon hear about other innovations.

Inventions and achievements of the Chinese

In mid-November 2022, Huawei filed a patent application with the US National Intellectual Property Office. The application has been registered, its number is 202110524685X. The authors of the document describe the main components of the EUV scanner, including the 13.5 nm light generator, plus a set of mirrors and a lithography system.

Of course, the application itself does not guarantee anything – perhaps Huawei simply decided to secure a patent for itself, and the Chinese cannot yet implement this system. The problem is that to build a scanner, very specific components are needed, the production of which will also have to be organized. It is unlikely that any of the foreign partners will agree to transfer these elements to China, since most large and not so large companies are afraid of secondary sanctions.


We also wrote that Chinese chip manufacturers are gradually increasing purchases of equipment for the production of semiconductor wafers. This is done in order to ensure the normal operation of their own enterprises. It is clear that the Celestial Empire conducts such transactions covertly, so that partners and Chinese companies themselves do not once again attract the attention of US regulators.

Not one company does this, but many electronics manufacturers from China. For example, SMIC, HuaHong, Nexchip, Silan Microelectronics and other companies purchase not only whole used lithographic machines, but also individual components and spare parts for them. Buys equipment and Huawei.

For Huawei, this is also associated with plans to deploy its own factory, which will produce modern chips. The company develops part of the equipment on its own, and for the time being, it buys some abroad.

In any case, electronics manufacturing is actively developing in China. The import substitution program – and we are talking about the replacement of American technologies in the production of electronic components, is working.

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