In his IFA 2018 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 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 features outstanding AI capabilities, and 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 TSMC 7nm process technology enables Kirin 980 to pack 6.9 billion transistors within a 1cm2 die size, 1.6 times of the previous generation. Compared to the 10nm process, the 7nm process delivers 20 percent improved SoC performance and 40 percent improved SoC power efficiency, according to Huawei.
The Kirin 980 is the first SoC to embed Cortex-A76-based cores, which are 75 percent more powerful and 58 percent more efficient compared to their previous generation. The Kirin CPU subsystem uses an intelligent Flex-scheduling mechanism that creates a 3-level energy efficiency architecture consisting of two super-big cores based on Cortex-A76, two big cores based on Cortex-A76, and four little cores Cortex-A55. Compared with the traditional big.LITTLE design, 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.
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. Debuting with the Kirin 980, Mali-G76 offers 46 percent greater graphics processing power at 178 percent improved power efficiency over the previous generation.
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.
In pursuit of the best smartphone photography experience, Huawei also integrated its proprietary fourth-generation ISP into the SoC.
The Kirin 980 is also integrating the first modem supporting LTE Cat.21 with a peak download speed of 1.4Gbps. The device also has a custom Wi-Fi chipset with support for 160-MHz 802.11ac channel widths, leading to a peak claimed speed of 1732 Mbps.
Huawei says the Kirin 980 will appear in its upcoming Mate 20 series of phones, launching October 16, 2018.