When we talk about mobile chipset, we often focus on the performance of CPU and GPU. However, latest mobile chipsets are also consisted of many other modules and features. Qualcomm has recently released its first 5nm chipset, the Snapdragon 888. It joins the Huawei Kirin 9000 and Apple Bionic A14, which also have 5nm technology. Due to the improved miniaturization, it is possible for chip designers to put more features.
AI and Machine Learning
Improved machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming standard features among latest mobile chipsets. As an example, the AI inferencing performance of Apple A14 reaches 11TOPs, which is a significant improvement compared to the Bionic A13 at only 6TOPs. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 boasts 26TOPs of AI performance, while the Snapdragon 865 is only at 15TOPs. Huawei claims that the Kirin 9000 has 240 percent higher AI processing performance compared to Snapdragon 865 with its dedicated NPU module.
These new chipsets also have dedicated image processing features, with support for improved video capture, multi-frame image processing and multiple cameras. The Apple A14 Bionic introduces 60fps video recording with Dolby Vision and ProRAW editing. Both Huawei Kirin 9000 and Snapdragon 888 support much better noise reduction, object segmentation and multi-exposure HDR. The Snapdragon 888 has unique features, including simultaneous processing of three cameras and 10-bit HEIF imaging support.
For smartphones, data connectivity is a crucial factor. Without it, smartphones could be rendered near useless, which will be useful only making voice calls and sending text messages. The Huawei Kirin 9000 and Snapdragon 888 have built-in 5G module within their chipset. On the other hand, Apple A14 Bionic relies on an external or separate 5G modem, which is the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem. Built-in 5G solutions are more efficient and have smaller footprint. The Snapdragon 888 has the more improved Snapdragon X60 modem and it also includes 5G VoNR (Voice-over-NR) feature. For improved data speed, it also includes mmWave and sub-6GHz technologies.
Without doubt, the transition from 7nm to 5nm manufacturing process is more about higher performance and energy efficiency. Although Apple is lagging in certain areas, they still benefit from in-house designs of CPU and GPU. This results in real improvements in benchmark results. Similarly, all of them are focusing on machine learning and image processing. It means, any artificial intelligence and top-tier photography tasks will run flawlessly. Even so, it could be difficult to make direct comparisons between these three 5nm chipsets. Unlike A14 Bionic and Kirin 9000, the Snapdragon 9000 will be used multiple Android device manufacturers. It will depend on each smartphone market to take advantage every little trick that Qualcomm includes in Snapdragon 888. We could only wait how the Snapdragon 888 will perform in real life situation. The competition in performance and features among premium-tier chipsets will be quite interesting. Regardless of the type, each chipset should provide exceptional performance and features list for users. The race in the mobile processing sector has entered a new phase and it will be very interesting to observe.