IFA 2018: Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor based on 7nm technology announced

Image Huawei

Stay tuned for the launch of the first Kirin 980-powered Mate Series device, which is scheduled to arrive in October*. It's actually in line with the launch dates of previous year - which means Huawei has not broken the yearly schedule yet. We won't see the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, the latest in the series, until the fourth quarter.

We've done a piece about why chipset matters and how it works. "Equipped with all-new CPU, GPU and Dual NPU, the Kirin 980 is the ultimate engine to power the next-generation productivity and entertainment applications". Yesterday, the company announced its upcoming bezel-less device with a slide-out camera mechanism, the Huawei Magic 2 and today, Huawei launched its all-new flagship processor, the Kirin 980.

"Last year, we showed the world the potential of On-Device AI with the Kirin 970, and this year, we've designed an all-round powerhouse that features outstanding AI capabilities, and brings cutting-edge raw performance to consumers", said Mr. Yu.

Kirin 980 has 20 percent better bandwidth and 22 percent lower latency than the Snapdragon 845.

The new Kirin, which contains 6.9 billion transistors within a 1cm2 die size, 60 percent more than the 970, also marks the debut of the new, gaming-orientated Mali-G76 GPU, which offers 46 percent greater graphics-processing power and a 178 percent improvement in power efficiency over the previous generation. According to the OEM, to distribute tasks among the various cores it follows a flex-scheduling system.

The Huawei Mate 20 will be the first smartphone to come with the Kirin 980 SoC. Mali-G76 also features an innovative clock boosting technology that utilizes AI to intelligently identify gaming workloads and adjust resource allocation for optimal gaming performance.

The Kirin 980 also comes with dual NPU (Neural Processor Unit) which improves AI performance. This performs AI assisted image recognition tasks at a rate of 4500 images per minute, according to Huawei. For example, the chip can support real-time video recognition as well as still image recognition.

In the Kirin 980 the CPU architecture works in the same way, but instead of simply fast and slow cores, there are three types of CPU core on the chip: two high-power 2.6GHz cores; two middle performance cores running at 1.92GHz; and four lightweight cores running at 1.8GHz for what Huawei calls "extreme power efficiency".

Huawei believes that the Kirin 980 is far better than the Snapdragon 845, which has already been out for some months now. That's why Huawei's new Camera ISP, for which Huawei is claiming a 46% improvement in performance, is important. The NPU on the Kirin 980 also comes with AI frameworks like Caffee and Tensorflow.

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