Leica Penta Camera System
– 50 MP main camera (f/1.9 with OIS)
– 40 MP ultra-wide camera (f/1.8 aperture)
– 8 MP 10X SuperZoom camera (f/4.4 with OIS)
– 8 MP 3X telephoto camera (f/2.4 with OIS)
– 3D depth sensor
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 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 this mobile SoC.
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!
The Kirin 980 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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Kirin 980 Has Dual NPUs
The HUAWEI Kirin 980 retains the same NPU that was first introduced in the Kirin 970.
However, HUAWEI double its AI performance by using two of them, instead of just one.
The boost in AI performance allows HUAWEI to introduce new AI-related technologies like :
the HUAWEI AI Loading Prediction technology, and
the Real-Time Multi-Person Gesture Recognition technology.
We will take a closer look at these two technologies below.
HUAWEI AI Loading Prediction Technology
The HUAWEI Kirin 980 manages its CPU and GPU performance using an AI Loading Prediction Technology.
It basically predicts when a game will require more power, or less; and pre-emptively boosts or reduces the CPU and GPU clock speeds accordingly. It also determines when the CPU’s turbo cluster (of two Cortex-A76 cores running at 2.6 GHz) should be activated for a boost in performance.
The combination of much faster CPU and GPU cores, with AI Loading Prediction Technology, allows the Kirin 980 to hit and sustain 60 fps even with strenuous games.
Note that while it can go beyond 60 fps in this demo of NBA 2K18, the AI Loading Prediction Technology caps its frame rate to reduce power consumption and extend battery life.
Real-Time Multi-Person Gesture Recognition
Thanks to its greater AI processing capabilities, the HUAWEI Kirin 980 can perform real-time multi-person gesture recognition.
It can also determine their distance using a single camera, allowing it to know when someone has gone in front of, or behind, someone else.
Most impressively, it accomplished this using a single camera. Imagine how much more accurate it can be using two cameras which would offer much better depth perception.
Kirin 980 Has Dual ISPs
It has two image signal processors which offer a 46% boost in performance, a 33% reduction in recording latency, and 23% better power efficiency.
The boost in performance greatly expands its ability to “massage” the raw images to produce better photos.
Although HUAWEI did not detail how they did it, their sample photos above appear to be using HDR to bring out details in the shadows while correcting for overblown highlights.
For sharp images, it will needs to be paired with a fast image sensor that can take multiple photos with different exposures in quick succession.
Kirin 980 Has Faster LTE + WiFi Speeds
The HUAWEI Kirin 980 boasts a new LTE Cat.21 modem, which allows it to deliver download speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps! Upload speed remains at 200 Mbps.
When paired with the HUAWEI Hi1103 chip, it can offer WiFi transfer rates of up to 1.7 Gbps.
Kirin 980 Introduces Dual-Frequency GPS
This is arguably its most underrated feature – support for dual-frequency GPS.
By using both L1 and L5 frequencies, it can deliver 10X better positioning accuracy. You won’t ever have to worry taking the wrong turn!