Huawei announced its flagship system-on-chip (SoC), the Kirin 980, the world’s first 7nm chip at IFA 2018 tech trade show in Berlin. Equipped with AI capabilities, the new chipset is claimed to deliver 20 per cent enhanced SoC performance and 40 per cent reduction in power consumption. Notably, Huawei Kirin 980 is the first commercially available chip to be fabricated on TSMC’s 7nm process and the first to embed ARM’s Cortex-A76 CPU cores and feature dual NPUs (Neural Processing Unit). The first HiSilicon Kirin 980-powered Huawei device is scheduled to arrive in October. Here’s everything you need to know about Huawei Kirin 980 chipset.
Huawei Kirin 980 chip: Speed and efficiency
Huawei’s new Kirin 980 chipset is manufactured on TSMC’s 7nm process as compared to the previous iteration that was fabricated on a 10nm process. Huawei claims that the Kirin 980 has 6.9 billion transistors in less than 1 square area centimetre. With an increase of 1.6 times compared to the 10nm manufacturing process used on Kirin 970, the new chipset is said to deliver better performance.
Huawei notes that the new 7nm fabrication will deliver a 20 per cent increase in SoC performance and power efficiency by 40 per cent. The new Kirin 980 is also the first chipset to embed Cortex-A76 cores, which are stated to be 75 per cent more powerful and 58 per cent more efficient compared to its predecessor. The new core architecture is built on ARM’s DynamiQ technology.
Huawei Kirin 980 chip: Architecture
The new HiSilicon chipset has an eight-core architecture, two Cortex-A76 2.6GHz “higher-performance cores” for heavy demanding tasks and two Cortex-A76 1.92GHz “middle cores” for day-to-day tasks and four 1.8GHz Cortex-A55 “efficiency cores” for lighter ‘workload.’ The Chinese OEM has introduced a CPU subsystem as well with “Flex-Scheduling” technology to allocate the “right cores to the right tasks.” Huawei claims that the Kirin 980 (via VentureBeat) will consume 33 per cent less power as compared to Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 845 SoC.
Huawei Kirin 980 chip: Graphics, camera
As for the memory, the Kirin 980 has support for 2133MHz RAM and the chipset is said to have 20 per cent better bandwidth and 22 per cent lower latency. The new graphics chip, Mali-G76 paired with the chipset is claimed to provide 30 per cent more efficiency and performance density as compared to the previous generation. Huawei claims that the graphics chip integrated into the Kirin 980 SoC will deliver 46 per cent better graphics processing and 178 per cent improved power efficiency that Kirin 970’s Mali-G72 GPU. For photography performance, Huawei has implemented a new dual ISP (image signal processor) which is said to be 46 per cent faster at camera processing and 23 per cent more efficient than its predecessor. Huawei notes that it will be able to capture “better contrast” and “finer details,” courtesy of the new high dynamic range (HDR) colour reproduction technology and a ‘multi-pass noise reduced’ algorithm.
Huawei Kirin 980 chip: AI, machine learning
Huawei’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU) made its debut in the Kirin 970 SoC last year. The NPU basically allows using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to recognise scenes and objects on the phone. Huawei taking a step ahead has implemented dual NPUs on the new Kirin 980 processor. With dual NPUs the chipset will be able to recognise up to 4,500 images per minutes compared to Snapdragon 845 and A11 Bionic chip that recognises up to 2,371 images and 1,458 images respectively.
“The Kirin 980 sets the foundation for future AI capabilities by providing complete framework support and rich tool keys for App developers,” Huawei states.
Huawei Kirin 980 chip: Cat.21 LTE
Moving on, Huawei’s latest HiSilicon Kirin 980 is the first chipset with a modem to support Cat. 21 LTE that supports downlink speed at 1.4Gbps. As per the company, with the Hi1103, it will support a theoretical peak download speed of 1.7Gbps and 160MHz bandwidth. Kirin 980’s modem has the “world’s fastest Wi-Fi” as well with peak downloading speeds at 1,732Mbps and the GPS receiver gets support by L1 + L5 dual frequency to deliver accurate target location while navigating in “complex terrains.”
Huawei Kirin 980: Launch date, compatible devices
Huawei’s flagship Kirin 980 chipset will debut in the Huawei Mate 20 series next month. The Chinese handset maker is hosting the event in London which is scheduled to happen on October 16. Huawei’s sub-brand, Honor also revealed its new Honor 2 Magic smartphone with Kirin 980 SoC. However, the company did not reveal the smartphone’s specific launch time frame. Honor Magic 2 features a pop-up camera quite similar to what we have seen on the Oppo Find X. The phone flaunts notch-free truly bezel-less display.