Should the flagship 5G mobile phone chip be integrated or plug-in? We'll know the answer soon.
By Abram Eschbach 2020-02-14 1697 28
In 2020, major mobile phone manufacturers will launch their own 5G mobile phone products one after another. After all, no one wants to miss 5G, an important industry outlet. But if you compare closely, you will find that the 5G chips used by the major mobile phone manufacturers are actually very different. One is the integration of 5G baseband in the processor, such as the Kirin 9905G developed by Huawei. Now it is generally said that the 5G chip using this scheme is 5G SoC;, and the other needs to be used with a special 5G baseband chip, that is, what we often call a plug-in, which is also often seen on 5G mobile phones. Which of the two 5G chip schemes is strong and which is weak is also a focus of many netizens' discussion about 5G.
There has also been an episode on this focus issue. In the previous discussion between @ Honor Lao Xiong and Lu Weibing, the former asked the latter: why use a plug-in baseband chip solution? But the latter did not respond directly. At this stage, integration and plug-in themselves are solutions for 5G chips, and it is difficult to directly prove who will be more dominant, but due to China's leadership in the 5G field, more diverse voices can be heard.
In the past 1G era, Qualcomm had obvious patent advantages in related communications, chips and other technology fields, which affected the development of related industries to a great extent, but since the 4G era, China has changed from a participant to a rulemaker, from "following" to "going hand in hand".
In the new 5G era, things have changed again. In 2017, Huawei's main Polar Code scheme became the eMBB scene coding scheme for 5G control channels. As of March 2018, 32% of the international standard documents submitted by China accounted for 32% of the world's 5G international standard manuscripts, and the leading standardization projects accounted for 40%. The promotion speed and quality were among the highest in the world. According to the 5G patent report released by the German patent data company IPlytics, Huawei, ZTE, OPPO and China Telecom Science and Technology Research Institute together own 36% of the global 5G standard necessary patents. All these represent the improvement of the voice of Chinese communication manufacturers and related institutions in the field of 5G and become the rulemakers of today's 5G standards.
Because of the improvement of 5G voice, the world has begun to pay attention to how Chinese manufacturers make and design 5G chips.
In January 2019, Huawei launched the 5G baseband chip Barone 5000, and in July of the same year, it launched its first 5G mobile phone, the Huawei Mate 20X (5G). The phone features Kirin 980 + Barone 5000, a 4G chip with 5G baseband to support 5G networks. This phone supports NSA/SA 5G dual-module network, which well meets China's early 5G network deployment and terminal requirements. At the same time, phones that use Qualcomm Snapdragon855 Plus plug-in X50 baseband are the same collocation principle and original intention.
But after all, this is only a transition from the 4G era to the 5G era, and Huawei predicted that the 5G commercial process might accelerate, deploying 5G SoC-- Kirin 9905G, the flagship integrated baseband, and launched by the Huawei Mate30 series. In addition to the Mate30 series, the subsequent release of the Honor V30 PRO also carries Kirin 9905G, which is equivalent to the 5G SoC, used in the high-end product lines of Huawei-Honor phones, which is enough to show Huawei's attitude in this regard.
It is worth noting that Huawei & Honor is so keen on the integration scheme, which has a lot to do with the amount of space used by the chips under this scheme. Kirin 9905G has an area of 10.68x10.61mm, compared with 825x9.16mm, 75.57mm, but because Huawei Mate 20X (5G) uses a plug-in scheme, it is necessary to reserve space for 5G baseband chips. Baron 5000 covers an area of 85.83mm, which adds up to 161.4 square mm. In this way, the Kirin 9905G saves 48.09mm of space compared with the Kirin 980 + Barone 5000 scheme, and this extra space may mean that the phone can install more antennas, larger batteries or other components, which can directly or indirectly enhance the competitiveness of the phone, of course, depending on the specific positioning of the specific product.
In addition, for processors, the more transistors, the stronger the performance and the higher the integration density. Kirin 9905G integrates 10.3 billion transistors in its limited space and uses 7nm+EUV technology. This 5G SoC is also the first mobile processor with more than 10 billion transistors.
By the way, some users do not agree with Kirin 9905G, not because it is not good at 5G, but because its performance is definitely not as good as Qualcomm 8 series chips, so it is difficult to generate a sense of identity. In fact, this and the early performance of Kirin chip has a lot to do with, the early K3V2, Kylin 910, etc. in the performance is indeed unsatisfactory, sometimes there will be games are not compatible with the phenomenon, but in recent years Kylin 810, Kirin 980, Kirin 990 series, the performance has made great progress, enough to directly face other flagship chips. In addition to the regular running software, users can also try Geek Bench, GFX Bench, ETH AI and other testing software, so that you can have a more complete understanding of the current Kirin mobile chip.
In fact, Qualcomm, which has a considerable say in the 5G field, also has a follow-up integration plan. At the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in 2019, Qualcomm announced that Snapdragon765/765G, integrates X525G baseband and supports NSA/SA 5G dual-mode network, which is also Qualcomm's first Snapdragon chip to integrate 5G baseband. The use of these two chips, especially Qualcomm Snapdragon765G mobile phone products, such as Redmi K305G, realmeRealme X50, etc., have a good market performance.
Qualcomm Snapdragon865, which is located at the high end and has the strongest performance, still adopts the plug-in scheme and is packaged and sold with X555G baseband to meet the performance requirements of mobile phone manufacturers for 5G flagship phones. Although there are reports that Qualcomm will launch a new generation of Snapdragon8 chips integrated with 5G baseband by the end of 2020, officials have not yet responded to the news.
In addition to the two major manufacturers mentioned above, Samsung and MediaTek also launched 5G chips using integrated solutions last year. On September 4, 2019, Samsung Electronics released the 5G SoC--Exynos980,. On November 26th of the same year, MediaTek released the Phecda1000, in Shenzhen. These two 5G SoC have integrated 5G baseband and support NSA/SA 5G dual-module network.
The most influential manufacturers in the industry have followed the integration scheme, which is enough to see that the integration scheme is a major trend in the development of 5G mobile phone chips in the future. The mobile phone market in 2020 is expected to be a situation in which both integration and plug-in co-exist, and in the next 1 to 2 years, we may be able to see the integration solution in mobile phone products, especially in flagship products. become a "standard" existence.
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