What is HUAWEI's new chip? (brand theory)
On August 31, Huawei Hess officially released a new chip product, Kirin 980, at the International Consumer Electronics Fair in Berlin, Germany. According to Huawei's official introduction, the chip has created six "world first" competitors, such as Ultra-high performance, Apple and so on.
Under the backdrop of Sino US trade friction, such slogans are doomed to be heated. Public opinion quickly split into two camps: one hailed Huawei's breaking of foreign technology monopolies, which marked the rise of the "China Core" and the other poured cold water on the chip, pointing out that many of the "micro-architectures" in the chip were purchased from abroad and were still low-tech "assembly goods". The media's inconsistency is often confused by ordinary readers. So how do we view HUAWEI's chip?
It must be admitted that many of Huawei's Kirin 980 micro-architectures do need to be sourced from foreign vendors.
For example, four out of the six "world No. 1" companies need to buy microarchitectures designed by other vendors: CPU (Central Processor) from Japanese-owned British company ARM; GPU (Graphic Processor) from ARM; NPU (Neural Network Processor) from Chinese AI Chip Design Company Cambrian; and the latest Low power double data rate memory, according to media reports, is from SK, Hynix, a Korean manufacturer. There is also the world's first, the world's earliest commercially available 7-nanometer process, although Huawei itself needs to do a lot of pre-design work, but success depends mainly on the downstream chip manufacturers TSMC.
So, can we conclude that Huawei's Kirin 980 chip is only a low-tech "assembly goods"? This is not the case.
First of all, Huawei's last "world first" is just the most powerful, and is a solid independent research and development. This is the baseband technology in charge of communication function.
The reason why mobile phones are mobile phones is that they can make phone calls. Powerful CPU, GPU, advanced process technology, although these technologies are important, but if the signal is not good, communication is not smooth, other powerful functions, can only say more like a tablet computer, not a telephone.
Huawei's Kirin 980, whose baseband performance has smoothed the industry's highest level, not only demonstrates Huawei's deep technical strength in communications technology, but also means that Huawei Hess has laid a solid foundation for further chip design in the future.
Secondly, as important as the ability to independently develop various types of micro-architectures, is whether these micro-architectures can be delicately combined to keep them in their best state and maximize their utility, which is the ability of "system integration".
System integration and simple assembly are by no means a concept. The difference between them is just like the difference between ordinary people and professional designers in the decoration TV program Dream Modifier. Given the same housing frame, area, in the hands of the designer, the original narrow forced, damp and cold housing may become a reasonable layout, sufficient light warm cottage. Behind this ability to schedule and optimize, there must be a deep "internal work" as a support, not just "assembly" so simple.
Of course, it should be pointed out that even if the system integration capability has been achieved, it does not mean that Huawei can slow down the pace of independent research and development of micro-architecture. Independent and controllable capability of micro-architecture research and development is essential to avoid the risk of "shock" in extreme situations.
Apple and Qualcomm, the two big chip giants, although also from ARM company licensed to do CPU, but it can be called independent research and development. The reason is that the two big companies have a higher level of authorization: instruction set authorization. If ARM's patent is a blank room, then Huawei and other companies can only free decoration in a given blank room, household size and area can not be changed, while Apple, Qualcomm can take down the blank room to repair, according to their own needs to build a new and better blank room for decoration.
In short, Huawei's Kirin 980 is a high-end commercial chip that can compete with rivals such as Qualcomm and Apple, but objectively speaking, Kirin 980 is still far from solving the problem of "China Core" being held hostage to others. It is reported that Huawei Hess has been authorized by ARM instruction set, and has started self-research work on micro-architecture, hoping to hear their good news as soon as possible.
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