HiSilicon Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980 Chipset Comparison

HiSilicon Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980, Exynos 980 vs Kirin 990
HiSilicon Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980
HiSilicon Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980, Exynos 980 vs Kirin 990
HiSilicon Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980

HiSilicon Kirin 990 vs Samsung Exynos 980

Huawei announced its Kirin 990 chipset as the first 5G chipset which is the strongest chipset of the company till now. This chipset comes as the successor of the Kirin 980 launched last year and it brings many improvements over the Kirin 980. It brings major improvements in its network modem and AI processing. It has a built-in 5G Modem. While on the other side, Samsung also unveiled its first 5G SoC with built-in 5G Modem and Cortex-A77 cores. Till now the SoCs were using an external modem to use 5G network and now these two companies brought their chipsets with built-in 5G Modem. Here we will compare both company’s HiSilicon Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980 chipset and know which one is better between both.

Samsung Exynos 980 also brings many improvements with itself. It has improvements in AI, CPU, GPU and Camera department. Here we will compare all these features of both of these SoCs. If you also want to know which chipset is better between the Kirin 990 and the Exynos 980 then this comparison is for you. To know about read it completely. Let’s know about them.

ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 990Samsung Exynos 980
Manufacturing Process7nm EUV+ (TSMC)8nm FinFET
CPU2 x Cortex-A76@2.86GHz
2 x Cortex-A76@2.36GHz
4 x Cortex-A55@1.95GHz
2 x Cortex-A77@2.20GHz
6 x Cortex-A55@1.80GHz
GPU16 Core Mali G76 MC16Mali-G76 MP5
CameraSingle - 64MP
Dual - 40MP + 24MP
Single - 108MP
Dual - 20MP + 20MP
RAMLPDDR4X@2133MHzUp to 10GB LPDDR4X@2093MHz
StorageUFS 3.0UFS 2.1 & eMMC 5.1
DisplayUp to 4K UHDWQHD+ (3360x1440)
Download - 2.55Gbps
Upload - 1.28Gbps
Download - 1.38Gbps
Upload - 200Mbps
Download - 2.3Gbps
Upload - 1.25Gbps
Download - 1.4Gbps
Upload - 200Mbps

Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980 CPU and GPU

Manufacturing Process

Before comparing their CPU and GPU section, first, compare their manufacturing process. Here the Samsung’s Exynos 980 is built using the 8nm FinFET process whereas the Kirin 990 is fabricated on the 7nm EUV+ (TSMC) which is an upgrade over the 7nm process technology of the Kirin 980 and the Kirin 810. So here the Kirin 990 is more power-efficient chipset than the Exynos 980, the AI also helps it very much in power efficiency.


Talking about their CPU, here the Exynos 980 has an octa-core CPU which is based on 64-bit memory architecture. To optimize the performance, it uses two ARM Cortex-A77 big cores clocked at up to 2.2GHz and six Cortex-A55 little cores operating at up to 1.8GHz.

Whereas the Kirin 990 also features a 64-bit octa-core CPU which has 3 groups of CPU cores. The first is big, second is middle and third is little core group. Its big cores include 2 ARM Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.86GHz, middle cores include the same 2 Cortex-A76 cores with a different clock speed which is 2.36GHz. While the little cores include 4 Cortex-A55 cores running at up to 1.95GHz clock speed.

Here the Exynos 980 has two latest Cortex-A77 cores while the Kirin 990 has a higher frequency of all cores. So the CPU performance of both chipsets is expected to be closer to each other.


Looking at the GPU section where the Kirin 990 brings ARM Mali G76 MC16 GPU with 16 cores. The company claims that it optimizes the energy efficiency by 46% and the Kirin Gaming+ 2.0 offers an immersive gaming experience. While on the other side, the Exynos 980 also features Mali-G76 MP5 GPU. Here the GPU of both chipsets is the same but Huawei did improvements in the GPU of Kirin 990. With Kirin Gaming+ 2.0 it delivers a better experience in gaming and other graphical tasks. Here the GPU of the Kirin 990 is better than the GPU of Exynos 980.

Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980 Artificial Intelligence

This is also a part where Huawei did improvements in Kirin 990. The Kirin 980 has a dual-core NPU whereas the Kirin 990 brings a quad-core NPU. It is based on inhouse DaVinci Architecture. This NPU features a combination of Big+Small NPU Cores. The big cores handle high-level tasks whereas the small cores are for Always-On Applications. The combination of big and small cores maintains the power efficiency and the small NPU cores are up to 24x power efficient.

On the other side, the Exynos 980 features a neural processing unit (NPU) and digital signal processor (DSP). The combination of both of these delivers new levels of on-device artificial intelligence. According to the company it allows AI-powered tasks to be processed right on the device rather than sending personal information to the server for further processing, resulting in quicker response with better data privacy and security. This combination adds enhancements to smartphone applications such as secure user authentication, content filtering, mixed reality, intelligent camera, etc.

Here the Kirin 990 brings many improvements in its AI department than the Exynos 980. The Kirin 990 has a quad NPU using that it performs AI tasks smoothly than the Exynos 980. The AI performance is better of the Kirin 990 compared to the Exynos 980.

Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980 Camera, RAM, and Storage


Moving to the camera department, here the Kirin 990 brings 5th Gen. ISP which can handle a single camera up to 64MP with 4K recording at 60fps. This ISP also has a BM3D feature that provides Hardware-level Noise Reduction support like DSLR. This is the first time on any smartphone. In the case of dual camera, it has support for 40MP + 24MP single camera sensor.

At the same time, the Exynos 980 brings support for 108MP single camera and dual camera up to 20MP + 20MP. Here the Exynos 980 has better single camera support and Kirin 990 has better dual-camera support.

RAM and Storage

Here the Exynos 980 has support for LPDDR4X RAM up to 10GB clocked at 2093MHz and storage types of UFS 2.1 & eMMC 5.1 while the Kirin 990 has support for LPDDR4X RAM operating at up to 2133MHz and UFS3.0 based storage.


In this section, the Kirin 990 can handle up to 4K UHD displays while the Exynos 980 has support for WQHD+ (3360×1440) displays.

Kirin 990 vs Exynos 980 Connectivity Features

Connectivity-wise both chipsets have support for 5G network and brings an integrated 5G Modem. Using a 5G network, the Exynos 980 can deliver a maximum download speed of 2.55Gbps and 1.28Gbps uploading. While using a 4G network, it can provide up to 1.38Gbps downloading speed using LTE Cat.16 and up to 200Mbps uploading speed using LTE Cat.18.

At the same time, the Kirin 990 can capture a maximum downloading speed of 2.3Gbps and 1.25Gbps uploading speed. Whereas using the 4G network it can provide a downloading speed of 1.4Gbps using LTE Cat.21 and 200Mbps uploading speed using LTE Cat.18. Other connectivity features like WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Radio, etc. are the same in both chipsets.

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