Kirin 980 (Huawei): The processor that could surpass the Snapdragon 845

Today at the IFA 2018, which takes place in Berlin, Huawei announced its newest system on a chip, the Kirin 980; that has a series of world premieres.
Kirin 980 (Huawei): The processor that could surpass the Snapdragon 845
It is the first 7nm mobile processor, the first built around the ARM Cortex-A76 CPU and the Mali-G76 GPU, the first with a Cat.21 smartphone modem that supports speeds up to 1.4Gbps, and the first chip compatible with 2,133MHz of LPDDR4X RAM. The Kirin 980 has 6.9 billion transistors; but I've seen it by myself and it's not bigger than a miniature.

The road to today's announcement began three years ago for Huawei, with the company involving more than 1,000 senior experts in semiconductor design and shaking more than 5,000 engineering prototypes. The final result is approximately a 20 percent speed improvement; in addition to a 40 percent reduction in energy consumption compared to Huawei's previous generation.

But the product with which Huawei really wants to compare the Kirin 980 is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845; the chip contained in virtually all Android flagship phones not manufactured by Huawei. It is worth noting that the 845 has been off for many months; while Huawei's 980 will not be on any retail device until next month at the earliest (Huawei let it go that it is planning its announcement of Mate 20 for October 16). Even so, the margin of improvement that Huawei is citing about its main rival is impressive.
Kirin 980 (Huawei): The processor could surpass the Snapdragon 845
On the memory front, Huawei says that the Kirin 980 has a bandwidth 20% better. Also 22% less latency than the Snapdragon 845. In practical terms, that means a faster application launch across the range of the world's most popular applications. In gaming applications, the 980 has been shown to produce 22 percent more frame rates than the 845; and its energy consumption when it is said that games are 32 percent lower.

The performance of the photograph is another important improvement for the Kirin chip, according to the Huawei numbers. Using a new dual ISP (image signal processor), the Kirin 980 is 46 percent faster in camera processing than its predecessor; with a related improvement of 23 percent in energy efficiency during recording and a 33 percent improvement in latency.

Artificial Intelligence of the Kirin 980

Huawei has doubled in its AI processing aspirations, adding a dual NPU (neural processor unit) to the Kirin 980; who performs AI-assisted image recognition tasks at a rate of 4,500 images per minute. By the same measure, the Snapdragon 845 reaches 2,371 and Apple's A11; who enjoys performance advantages in other categories, gets only 1,458.

AI also helps the Kirin 980's energy efficiency, as Huawei says it uses it to more accurately and intelligently predict load requirements; making it more sensitive to the user's energy needs, both when the chip needs to turn on more cores and when its task is done and you can save energy by decreasing the speed.

The architecture of the Kirin 980 has eight cores: two are for so-called turbo performance, two are for long-term performance, and the last four and the smallest are used to maximize energy efficiency when not much happens.

The Kirin 980 will offer the fastest Wi-Fi speed in the world, recording 1,732 Mbps; which is substantially higher than the best 866 Mbps of the Snapdragon 845 with a Qualcomm modem or 1083 Mbps with a third-party modem. Then, according to all the metrics that matter to an end user, the new Kirin chip is shaping up as a winner.

Huawei, with the Mate 20, and its sub-brand Honor, with the Magic 2, will place the Kirin 980 in retail devices before the end of the year.

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