We were recently invited to an exclusive HUAWEI Kirin 980 tech briefing session. Here is everything you need to know about the HUAWEI Kirin 980, with videos of the demos and its development board. Now you can pretty much guess how the upcoming HUAWEI Mate 20 will perform before its official launch on 16 October 2018!
The HUAWEI Kirin 980
Although Apple was the first to launch smartphones with a 7nm mobile SoC, the HUAWEI Kirin 980 is technically the first 7nm mobile SoC in the world. Take a look at the Kirin 980 development board, and how small the Kirin 980 really is.
The HUAWEI Kirin 980 is also the first to feature the ARM Cortex-A76 processor core, and Mali-G76 GPU, as well as the first to come with two NPUs, a Cat.21 modem and support for faster LPDDR4X-2133 memory.
It took HUAWEI and TSMC 36 months of joint research and co-engineering to develop the Kirin 980. The process, which started in 2015, involved over 1000 semiconductor design and process experts.
Thanks to their efforts, the 7 nm process technology delivered a 20% speed improvement, with a 40% boost in power efficiency, and a 60% greater transistor density. This allowed HUAWEI to cram 6.9 billion transistors into the Kirin 980.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what’s new in the HUAWEI Kirin 980!
New CPU Architecture
The HUAWEI Kirin 980 pairs four new ARM Cortex-A76 high-performance cores, with four ARM Cortex-A55 cores. However, instead of the traditional big.LITTLE 4+4 clusters, HUAWEI uses a 2+2+4 cluster architecture.
The four ARM Cortex-A55 cores, running at 1.8 GHz, are used for low loads and background tasks, while two ARM Cortex-A76 cores, running at 1.92 GHz, will be used for most loads, together with some of the A55 cores.
But when you really need a big boost in performance, the last two Cortex-A76 cores kick in. With a higher clock speed of 2.6 GHz, they offer a big boost in performance. But to conserve battery life, they are meant to be used in short bursts.
Here is a table that illustrates the kinds of loads that will trigger each cluster :
New Mali-G76 GPU
The HUAWEI Kirin 980 is the world’s first mobile SoC to deploy the ARM Mali-G76 GPU. HUAWEI did not reveal how many cores it has, but they say that it offers 46% better performance than the Mali-G72 GPU used in the Kirin 970, with 178% better power efficiency.
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