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Huawei reportedly working on 3nm chipset for its Kirin 9020 processor

By Liu Hongzuo - on 4 Jan 2021, 2:25pm

Huawei reportedly working on 3nm chipset for its Kirin 9020 processor

Huawei Mate 40 Pro.

Seeing how Apple has already placed orders for 3nm chipsets in 2022 with TSMC, and how Samsung aims to mass-produce 3nm chips by 2022, it comes as no surprise that Huawei wants in on the 3nm game. However, what's up for discussion is the timeline for Huawei to produce its 3nm chipset.

Image credit: @RODENT950 on Twitter.

Tech publication GizmoChina spotted a tipster's (@RODENT950) Tweet a day after New Year, which said that Huawei's 3nm chipset would be the Kirin 9020. At the same time, the Kirin 9010 processor should be based on a "5nm+" architecture. Logically, it follows. The Kirin 9000 processor in the Huawei Mate 40 series uses the 5nm architecture, while both Apple and Samsung are expecting their 3nm chipsets to come in 2022, earliest. It would be some time until 3nm processors enter mainstream use, and TSMC is also working on 5nm+ chips, also known as N5P.

Image credit: @RODENT950 on Twitter.

However, not everything adds up with the Huawei leak. TSMC has since stopped taking chipset orders from Huawei back in May 2020 (because of the U.S. trade war), and reports said that the Chinese telecommunications giant was stockpiling chips. Huawei's very own Richard Yu also publicly stated that the Year 2020 very likely had "the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips". According to the Financial Times, the Huawei chip plant in Shanghai announced in November 2020 will be making 28nm chips by end-2021.

Basically, most - if not all - recent reports on Huawei's progress with chipsets show that it's not likely that a 3nm Kirin chipset would be ready by the time Samsung and Apple roll theirs out of the gate. Still, these challenges wouldn't necessarily stop Huawei from having 3nm chips under development, though.

Let's see what the giant has up its sleeve. At the very least, Huawei doesn't want to be seen as sitting on its thumbs - unlike this other chip maker.

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