Huawei recently announced its Kirin 980 SoC, the company’s and world’s first mobile processor that is built on the 7nm die lithography. The new CPU was made in collaboration with Taiwan-based semiconductor maker, TSMC.
With 6.9 billion transistors fitted within a 1cm2 die, the Kirin 980 SoC packs 1.6 times more transistors than its predecessor, the Kirin 970. Huawei states that the new 7nm die will deliver up to 20% better processor performance, and up to 40% better processor efficiency.
Still an octa-core processor, the Kirin 980 is the first processor to be built using ARM’s Cortex-A76 CPUs and Mali-G76 GPUs. It’s also the first SoC that comes integrated with an LTE Cat.21 modem, which is capable of supporting download speeds of up to 1.4Gbps.
More importantly, the Kirin 980 also comes equipped with a new Dual NPU (Neural Processing Unit). Statistically, the Dual NPU will enable the Kirin 980 to recognise up to 4600 images per minute. Additionally, the Dual NPU also supports a variety of common AI frameworks, such as Caffee, Tensorflow, and Tensorflow Lite.
The Kirin 980 also has a more beefed up Image Signal Processor (ISP) integrated into it. Compared to its previous generation, the new ISP has a 46% increase in data throughput, as well as better support for multi-camera configurations, HDR colour reproduction, as well as a multi-pass noise reduction solution for removing artifacts while still retaining the image details.
In terms of availability, it appears that we won’t have to wait very long. Huawei says that the Kirin 980 SoC is slated to arrive in October this year. In fact, the company even says that the SoC will be the core of its upcoming Mate 20 series.