The hobbyists of iFixit have made Huawei's first 5G smartphone Mate 20 X 5G and made an interesting discovery. The 5G multi-mode modem Balong 5000, which comes from the chip subsidiary HiSilicon, has its own main memory, which with 3 GB is not exactly small and is stacked.
The Balong 5000 is HiSilicone's second 5G modem and suitable for use in smartphones, after the Balong 5G01 was intended exclusively for 5G router and had correspondingly larger dimensions. It is a multi-mode modem, which in addition to the new 5G mobile standard also mastered the older standards LTE, 3G and 2G. Huawei connects the modem to the Kirin 980 and turns off its modem.
Balong 5000 hides under 3 GB of RAM
The craft professionals of iFixit have disassembled the Mate 20 X 5G in its individual parts and made an interesting discovery on the motherboard of the smartphone. After searching for the Balong 5000, the team decided to leverage a Samsung LPDDR4X chip. Lo and behold: Under the RAM chip iFixit found the Balong 5000. The memory supplied by Samsung has a size of 3 GB and probably serves as a kind of cache for the modem. The exact functionality is not known, ComputerBase has asked this to HiSilicon for an opinion.
Stacked construction speaks for HiSilicon
That the modem has its own RAM is the first interesting discovery that it is a stacked of modem and memory, the second and not unimportant. This speaks volumes for the advances in modem development made by HiSilicon for the Balong 5000. Because the stacked construction is usually only possible if the underlying chip does not have to dissipate very high heat. For example, a stacked operation of SoC and modem is not required – and not only at Huawei. Qualcomm also can not stack the Snapdragon X50 5G modem on the Snapdragon 855.
On the Kirin 980 is instead with 8 GB of RAM from Micron own LPDDR4 chip. The 256 GB NAND comes from Toshiba and is twice as big as the regular Mate 20 X without 5G support.
iFixit awards four out of ten points
The so-called reparability index indicates iFixit with 4 out of 10 points for the Mate 20 X 5G. Positive are the use of commercially available screws and the modular design that allows the replacement of many individual components, as well as the easy-to-remove battery after the back has been opened. On the other hand, iFixit sees the use of glue and the construction of the center frame critically, as it is blocked by the camera sensors and the flash. Badly the gluing of the front and rear glass panel is evaluated, also almost the entire smartphone must be disassembled for a replacement of the display.