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Kirin 9000s Analysis: Should be Made by SMIC's N+2 Process

Maximus

Member
This Chinese news nicely summarized current findings on Kirin 9000s (soc of Huawei Mate 60 Pro)
Key points:
1. The process should be SMIC N+2 (claim as close to tsmc N7)
2. CPU performance is close to Snapdragon 865/870 (by tsmc N7)
3. Performance/power is relatively poor: Similar performance to Exynos 2100 (by Samsung 5LPE) but consumed 50% more power
4. Very large heat spreader (almost cover entire phone area, probably the largest in the history) also indicates the poor performance/power ratio
 
This Chinese news nicely summarized current findings on Kirin 9000s (soc of Huawei Mate 60 Pro)
Key points:
1. The process should be SMIC N+2 (claim as close to tsmc N7)
2. CPU performance is close to Snapdragon 865/870 (by tsmc N7)
3. Performance/power is relatively poor: Similar performance to Exynos 2100 (by Samsung 5LPE) but consumed 50% more power
4. Very large heat spreader (almost cover entire phone area, probably the largest in the history) also indicates the poor performance/power ratio

The article is Taiwanese,not Chinese.

The author claims that SMIC somehow get an "export license" from the US to make 7nm chip for Huawei,this is nonsense. Firstly,SMIC making anything below 28nm is "illegal" by US standard. Secondly,the US would never approve any fab to make 7nm chips for Huawei. Thirdly,why would SMIC need US "export license" in the first place,since they can operate 7nm production line without input from US companies(US companies cannot help SMIC anything on sub 28nm by law)now?

They didn't do electronmicroscope inspection,everything they said is all speculation. No one knows whats really inside the chip until thorough inspection
 
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https://www.scmp.com/tech/big-tech/...anced-chips-its-latest-mate-60-pro-smartphone

Research company TechInsights said in a note on its WeChat account that SMIC has used existing equipment and applied its second-generation 7-nanometre process, known as the N+2 node, to manufacture the 5G-capable Kirin 9000s for Huawei. The California-based research firm said it would provide more details on the phone’s connectivity next week.
 

Techinsights will release a report on mate 60 pro next week. Pity I have no membership thus can not see the report,hopefully people who have access to the report can share some findings with us.
They have (more or less) confirmed it is 7nm-class, probably close to TSMC N7 style.
But if pictures are available in the future, and the layouts look more like Samsung style, I would call it Samsung 5nm-class. Tests showed it could be compared to the 888 (5LPP): https://www.gizchina.com/2023/08/29/huawei-mate-60-pro-processor/.
 
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They have (more or less) confirmed it is 7nm-class, probably close to TSMC N7 style.
But if pictures are available in the future, and the layouts look more like Samsung style, I would call it Samsung 5nm-class. Tests showed it could be compared to the 888 (5LPP).
Miner chips made by SMIC N+1 node are similar to tsmc N7. So I would guess N+2 is tsmc style too.
 
They have (more or less) confirmed it is 7nm-class, probably close to TSMC N7 style.
But if pictures are available in the future, and the layouts look more like Samsung style, I would call it Samsung 5nm-class. Tests showed it could be compared to the 888 (5LPP).

Yes,they didn't release more details such as transistor density. I guess only paid member can see it
 
The author claims that SMIC somehow get an "export license" from the US to make 7nm chip for Huawei,this is nonsense. Firstly,SMIC making anything below 28nm is "illegal" by US standard. Secondly,the US would never approve any fab to make 7nm chips for Huawei. Thirdly,why would SMIC need US "export license" in the first place,since they can operate 7nm production line without input from US companies(US companies cannot help SMIC anything on sub 28nm by law)now?
My understanding is that SMIC makes anything more advanced than 28nm is NOT illegal. It's just US restrict the essential equipment for making 14nm and beyond. However, SMIC gets many equipment for 14nm and beyond (except EUV) before restriction begin. (Future maintenance might be problematic) Also there are many other Chinese companies buy those advanced equipment that those companies could secretly sell them to SMIC.

Some Chinese streamers even hint that SMIC might assist Huawei to build Huawei's own production line. (Possible if CCP demand) Though selling 7nm chips to Huawei is illegal, in this scenario, Huawei is making their own chips.

Huawei's Sep 12 press conference might provide more details.
 
My understanding is that SMIC makes anything more advanced than 28nm is NOT illegal. It's just US restrict the essential equipment for making 14nm and beyond. However, SMIC gets many equipment for 14nm and beyond (except EUV) before restriction begin. (Future maintenance might be problematic) Also there are many other Chinese companies buy those advanced equipment that those companies could secretly sell them to SMIC.

Some Chinese streamers even hint that SMIC might assist Huawei to build Huawei's own production line. (Possible if CCP demand) Though selling 7nm chips to Huawei is illegal, in this scenario, Huawei is making their own chips.

Huawei's Sep 12 press conference might provide more details.

Not just 7nm chip,selling anything that contains US technology to Huawei is illegal by US definition. But Chinese technology firms like SMIC are on US blacklist already, so I guess it doesn't make much difference.

But I agree that it is possible that SMIC didn't make the chip,rather they have licensed their N+2 IP to Huawei,Huawei made the chip at their own fab.
 
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But if pictures are available in the future, and the layouts look more like Samsung style, I would call it Samsung 5nm-class. Tests showed it could be compared to the 888 (5LPP).
To clarify what I said earlier, I refer to Figure 4 available from here: https://www.techinsights.com/blog/e...er-technological-independence-and-advancement

Samsung 5LP clip (TechInsights).png

It's from a Samsung 5LPE layout, but the design rules are in line with TSMC N7.
 
Not sure if they showed anything different from Geekbench: https://www.gizchina.com/2023/08/29/huawei-mate-60-pro-processor/
Not just Geekbench scores. They do massive performance/energy testing on Kirin 9000S' individual big/medium/little core and compare to SOC by tsmc/Samsung.
In conclusion, the performance/energy curve of SMIC's N+2 is better than Samsung's 5nm (Snapdragon 888) but worse than tsmc's N7 (Snapdragon 865).
They haven't retracted their Youtube video but only Bilibili video.
Youtube video:
 

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The gate patch CDs are somewhat relaxed compared to other 7nm process nodes, but still shrunk compared to SMICs N+1 version. This suggests the gate density is less versus other 7nm devices in the market. However, with other design-technology co-optimization (DTCO) features implemented on this die, like single diffusion break (SDB).the gate density gap is reduced.

Lower metal layers feature similar routing strategies to SMIC's N+1 version, but with smaller CDs bring this SMIC N+2 process closer to other 7nm nodes. These enhancerments enabled SMIC to shrink its standard cell height (-5%) and standard cell area (-10%) compared to its N+1 implementation.

Discovering a Kirin 9000s chip uting SMIC's 7nm (N+2) foundry process in the new Huawei Mate 60 Pro smartphone demonstrates the technical progress China's semiconductor industry has been able to make without EUV lithography tools.

蜂蜜浏览器_火狐截图_2023-09-05T09-53-53.848Z.jpg
 
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One interesting feature of this core,is that it has Hyper-Threading. Very unusual for mobile processor
 
One interesting feature of this core,is that it has Hyper-Threading. Very unusual for mobile processor
It's discussed in the Geekerwan's video. TaiShan cores have hyperthreading because they were originally designed for server application. Considering the cost and delivery time, it's more convenient to modify TaiShan cores for mobile applications than develop totally new cores.
 
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