Huawei's Kirin 980 processor will give the Snapdragon 845 a run for its money
Huawei announced its latest mobile chipset, the Kirin 980 with a number of world firsts at IFA 2018.
The Kirin 980 is the world's first commercial 7nm processor manufactured with TSMC. The 7nm process technology allows the Kirin 980 to pack 6.9 billion transistors within a 1cm2 die size, which is 1.6x more than the current 10nm process. Therefore, the Kirin 980 is able to deliver 20% better performance and 40% more power efficiency than the 10nm chipsets found in most flagship smartphones today.
The Kirin 980 is also the world's first processor to use Cortex-A76 cores, which are 75% more powerful and 58% more efficient than the previous generation. The octa-core CPU configuration consists of two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores, two high-efficiency Cortex-A76 cores and four extreme efficiency Cortex-A55 cores.
To take advantage of this configuration, Huawei developed an innovative Kirin CPU subsystem with Flex-Scheduling technology that flexibly allocates the right cores to the right tasks. In real-world usage conditions, the Kirin 980 should enable faster app launch times, better multi-tasking and an overall smoother user experience.
The Kirin 980 also packs a punch in the graphics department; it is integrated with the Mali-G76 GPU for 46% greater graphics processing power at 178% improved power efficiency over the previous generation. The Mali-G76 GPU utilizes a clock boosting technology powered by AI to identify gaming workloads and adjust resource allocation for optimal gaming performance.
Building on the success of the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) of the Kirin 970, Huawei adds the industry's first dual NPU to the Kirin 980 which can recognize up to 4,500 images per minute. This is a 120% improvement over the NPU of the Kirin 970.
There is Huawei's proprietary 4th generation ISP built into the Kirin 980. The 4th-gen ISP boasts 46% increase in data throughout compared to its predecessor, provides better support for multi-camera configurations, an all-new HDR color reproduction technology which can alter picture contrast to highlight objects on various parts of an image, and improved motion tracking.
Low-light performance is also better thanks to the Multi-pass noise reduction technology which accurately removes artifacts without removing image details. For video recording, the Kirin 980 has a new dedicated pipeline for processing video captures which enables 33% shorter delays to shoot videos.
Huawei integrates the world's first modem capable of supporting LTE CAT 21 with a peak download speed of 1.4Gbps. The Kirin 980 can support carrier aggregation across frequency bands so that consumers can choose their telcos and enjoy the same connectivity experience everywhere they go.
In comparison, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is built on a second generation 10nm process technology and the integrated X20 LTE modem supports speeds of up to 1.2Gbps.
The upcoming Huawei Mate 20 and its sub-brand Honor with the Magic 2 phone will be the first Kirin 980-powered devices to enter the market by the end of this year.