Last year the Kirin 970 paved the way for some of the best smartphone performance of the year. Will the Kirin 980 live up to that mark? Image Credit: Supplied

Your smartphone is packed with a display, a camera (or a few in most in smartphones), a battery, charging ports, speakers and so much more. All this technology in your smartphone and it’s all controlled by the processor. So obviously you want the best processing power out there right now. Keeping this want in mind Huawei launched their all new Kirin 980 chipset at IFA 2018 last week.

In his keynote 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.

Huawei Kirin 980 Image Credit: Supplied

What’s new in the Huawei Kirin 980?

The Huawei Kirin 980 comes with six main new features:

World’s First 7nm SoC

The cutting edge TSMC 7nm process technology the Kirin 980 packs upto 6.9 billion transistors within a 1 cm cm2 die size. Compared to the 10nm process, the 7nm process delivers 20 per cent improved SoC performance and 40 per cent improved SoC power efficiency.

World’s 1st Cortex-A76 Based CPU

The Kirin 980 is also the first SoC to embed Cortex-A76 cores, which are 75 per cent more powerful and 58 per cent more efficient compared to their previous generation. Taking full advantage of this unique octa-core configuration, Huawei developed an innovative Kirin CPU subsystem with Flex-Scheduling technology that flexibly allocates the right cores to the right tasks. This solution enables quicker app launch times, better multi-tasking and a generally smoother user experience.

World’s 1st Mali-G76 GPU

Debuting with the Kirin 980, Mali-G76 offers 46 per cent greater graphics processing power at 178 per cent 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.

World’s 1st Dual-NPU

Last year Huawei proved to the world that On-Device AI is the future of AI in smartphones with its Neural Processing Unit (NPU). This year Huawei takes this a step further.

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. The Kirin 980 can recognize up to 4,500 images per minute, up 120 per cent compared to Kirin 970. Additionally, Kirin 980 supports common AI frameworks such as Caffee, Tensorflow and Tensorflow Lite, and provides a suite of tools that allow developers to easily tap into the leading processing power of the Dual NPU.

Huawei integrated its proprietary fourth-generation ISP (Image Signal Processor) into the SoC Image Credit: Supplied

All new Dual ISP

The Huawei P20 Pro proved to the world that not only does the company want a name in the world of smartphone photography, they want to lead it. In pursuit of the best smartphone photography experience, Huawei integrated its proprietary fourth-generation ISP (Image Signal Processor) into the SoC.

The new Dual ISP provides 46 per cent increaser in data throughput, better support for multi-camera configurations, an all new-HDR colour reproduction technology and improved low-light capabilities.

Keeping the new age of media in mind, the new ISP also comes with improved motion tracking and a new pipeline dedicated to processing video captures, allowing the camera module to shoot videos with 33 per cent shorter delay.

World’s 1st Cat.21 Modem

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.

Is the Kirin 980 a marginal upgrade to last year’s Kirin 970?

Kirin 970 vs Kirin 980 Image Credit: Supplied

The Kirin 980 is 20 per cent faster than last year’s 970 chipset and is 40 per cent more efficient. Thanks to the new Coretex-A76 based processor brings processing performance up by 75% and power-efficiency by 58%. The Mali-G76 takes graphical performance up 46 per cent and improves power efficiency during gaming by a giant 178 per cent. The Dual NPU is more than double Image Recognition Speed. You’ve also got 16% improvement in network speeds thanks to the Cat.21 modem.

Is the Kirin 980 going to be the fastest and most powerful processor this year?

You might be thinking, ok the above stats are all in comparison to a processor from last year, what about this year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 845? Huawei seems to have that covered too.

The power of Kirin 980 Image Credit: Supplied

The Kirin 980 is 37% more powerful than the Snapdragon 845 and 32% more power efficient. In terms of something as powerful as gaming, the Kirin 980 performs 22% better but consumes 32% less power, providing a better and longer gaming experience. This also allows gaming at higher framerates. The processor and its Dual NPU also allow for greater image processing. The Kirin 980 provides three times better faster image processing compared to Apple’s A11 chipset and two times faster image processing compared to the Snapdragon 845.

So where do you get your hands on the Kirin 980?

The first devices to show the prowess of the Kirin 980 will be Huawei’s Mate 20 series. The devices launch on October 16th 2018.