Similar to last years IFA Huawei have announced their new flagship system on chip that will be available on the new Mate 20 phones that should launch a month from now.
The Kirin 980 brings some impressive improvements from the previous 970, and during our briefing, some exciting comparisons were made between the Kirin 980 and the Snapdragon 845.
The brief specification of the Kirin 980 includes:
- The world’s first 7nm SoC
- Cortex A76- Based 8-core CPU
- 2 big cores running an A76 at 2.6Ghz
- 2 medium cored running at 1.92Ghz
- Dual NPU
- Dual Image Signal Processor
- Mali G76 GPU
- 4Gbps Cat 21
- 2133Mhz DDR4
7nm SoC featuring Cortex A76
The new SoC is fabricated on a 7nm process meaning more transistors per mm allowing the chip to run faster and be more power efficient. Huawei claims that this has a 75% performance increase from the 10nm 970 and a 58% power efficiency increase
The chips cores are set up with 2 high powered cores, 2 medium cores then 4 small cores. This is a layout that has been common for a while but the new Kirin 980 has advanced features to delegate which cores are used when this then combined with AI load prediction that will learn your habits and predict when the phone needs more or less power. Using this AI power balancing the SoC is capable of saving as much power as possible while reducing issues with lag that occurs when the system doesn’t engage cores fast enough.
Mali G76 GPU
This is the first SoC to feature the Mali G76 GPU which apparently has a 46% improvement from the previous generation while also being 22% more powerful than the GPU in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.
What is more impressive is the power efficiency improvement, it is claimed that the new GPU is 178% more power efficient than the previous generation, and requires 32% less power than the Snapdragon 845.
The CPU and GPU are then complemented with the fastest DDR4 RAM on the market running at 2133Mhz giving the phone 20% more bandwidth and 22% less latency than the Snapdragon 845.
The real world performance differences mean faster app load times, for example, Facebook now loads in 1 second compared to 1.3 seconds.
The SoC now features a dual Image Signal Processor which offers significant improvements over a single ISP which includes 46% camera processing speed improvement, 23% reduction in recording power and a 33% reduction in recording latency.
The AI features have a similar improvement with a dual NPU now available that allows the SoC to recognise 4500 images per minutes compared to 2371 found on the Snapdragon.
The modem of the 980 has also been improved and cellular is now possible at 1.4Gbps using cat 21 and significant improvements with the reliability of data on metro or rail journeys. Smoot data streaming is apparently 10 times more reliable than the Snapdragon
Full press release below:
BERLIN, Germany—August 31, 2018—In his IFA 2018 keynote titled “The Ultimate Power of Mobile AI”, Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Mr. Richard Yu introduced the Kirin 980, the system on a chip (SoC) that will bring about the next evolution of mobile AI. As the world’s first commercial SoC manufactured with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturer Company’s (TSMC) 7nm process, Kirin 980 combines best-in-class performance, efficiency, connectivity features, and Dual NPU AI processing power.
“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 not only features outstanding AI capabilities, but also brings cutting-edge raw performance to consumers,” said Mr. Yu. “Equipped with all-new CPU, GPU and Dual NPU, the Kirin 980 is the ultimate engine to power next-generation productivity and entertainment applications.”
The cutting edge TSMC 7nm process technology enables Kirin 980 to pack 6.9 billion transistors within a 1cm2 die size, up 1.6 times from the previous generation. Compared to the 10nm process, the 7nm process delivers 20 percent improved SoC performance and 40 percent improved SoC power efficiency.
The Kirin 980 is also the first SoC to embed Cortex-A76 cores, which are 75 percent more powerful and 58 percent more efficient compared to their previous generation. In an octa-core configuration, the CPU in Kirin 980 is comprised of two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores; two high-efficiency Cortex-A76 cores; and four extreme efficiency Cortex-A55 cores. To take full advantage of this unique configuration, Huawei developed an innovative Kirin CPU subsystem with Flex-Scheduling technology that flexibly allocates the right cores to the right tasks. This solution designates the large high-performance cores to handle immediate, intensive workloads; the large, high-efficiency cores to provide sustained performance; and ultra-efficiency cores to tackle everyday, light activities with extreme power efficiency. Running at higher clock speeds compared to the prior generation, Kirin 980 enables quicker app launch times, better multi-tasking and a generally smoother user experience.
As graphics in mobile games have become more and more sophisticated in recent years, Huawei has integrated the Mali-G76 GPU into the Kirin 980 to deliver unparalleled gaming experiences. Debuting with the Kirin 980, Mali-G76 offers 46 percent greater graphics processing power at 178 percent improved power efficiency over the previous generation. 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.
Industry’s First “Dual-Brain” Power
The latest Kirin SoC represents a new era of On-Device AI. The Dual NPU Kirin 980 elevates the On-Device AI experience with greater processing power and intelligence. The synergy between the Dual NPU results in an image recognition capability that is greater than the sum of two—the Kirin 980 can recognize up to 4,500 images per minute, up 120 percent compared to Kirin 970, further demonstrating Huawei’s industry leadership in the On-Device AI space. Additionally, Kirin 980 supports common AI frameworks such as Caffee, Tensorflow and Tensorflow Lite, and provides a suite of tools that simplifies the difficulty of engineering On-Device AI, allowing developers to easily tap into the leading processing power of the Dual NPU.
In pursuit of the best smartphone photography experience, Huawei integrated its proprietary fourth-generation ISP into the SoC. In addition to a 46 percent increase in data throughput compared to its predecessor, the new ISP also provides better support for multi-camera configurations, as well as an all-new HDR color reproduction technology that can manipulate picture contrast to highlight objects on various parts of an image. In addition, Kirin 980 utilizes the Multi-pass noise reduction solution that accurately removes artifacts without scrubbing away image details, resulting in better quality on images taken in low-light scenarios. Another new feature of the ISP is improved motion tracking. When a user attempts to snap a photo of a moving person, the ISP can still recognize the subject with 97.4 percent accuracy, so any user can capture fleeting moments with ease.
The rise of video-centric social media platforms brought together with it a surge of demand for video capture features. Kirin 980 adopts a new pipeline dedicated to processing video captures, allowing the camera module to shoot videos with 33 percent shorter delay.
To deliver the best connectivity to users of Kirin 980-powered devices, Huawei integrated the world’s first modem supporting LTE Cat.21 with a peak download speed of 1.4Gbps. Additionally, the Kirin 980 supports carrier aggregation, even across frequency bands, so users are free to choose their mobile operators and still enjoy the same premium connectivity experience, regardless of where they are.
Inspired by Nature
At IFA 2018, Huawei also announced the launch of two new gradient variants for the HUAWEI P20 Series: Morpho Aurora and Pearl White , expanding its range of gradient colors to four. When creating these two unique hues, Huawei once again turned to nature for inspiration. The Morpho Aurora was inspired by the Morpho butterfly, while the Pearl White exudes the same elegance as the iridescent mother-of-pearl.
The next-generation AI experience is around the corner. Stay tuned for the launch of the first Kirin 980-powered Mate Series device, which is scheduled to arrive in October*.
I am James, a UK-based tech enthusiast and the creative mind behind Mighty Gadget, which I’ve proudly run since 2007. Passionate about all things technology, my expertise spans from computers and networking, to mobile, wearables, and smart home devices.
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