Huawei launches the world’s first 7nm processor with Kirin 980

As IFA 2018 opens in Berlin, Huawei CEO Richard Yu took to the stage his own keynote address and introduced the Kirin 980, the company’s next evolution in their processor line. Notable for the Kirin 980 is the fact that it claims the title as the first commercially available processor manufactured using a 7nm process.

Using the new 7nm process means Huawei, in partnership with TSMC, was able to pack 6.9 Billion transistors in a 1cm2 area. With all of those extra transistors – 1.6 times more than chips manufactured with a 10nm process – Huawei says the Kirin 980 will deliver 20 percent better performance while at the same time delivering 40 percent better power efficiency. The improvements don’t stop there. Huawei also decided to integrate a Mali-G76 GPU onto the Kirin 980 in order to supercharge graphics capabilities projected to be 46 percent greater than the predecessor. The whole system also utilizes AI to identify graphics intensive activities, like gaming, to reallocate resources to handle the additional demand.

Huawei has always been one to focus on AI for their flagship chips and the Kirin 980 is no exception. The new chip represents another significant step in this area with the implementation of a dual neural processing unit architecture that Huawei describes as “dual-brain” power. With this extra processing capability, Huawei says the Kirin 980 will be able to process up to 4,500 images per minute, a 120 percent increase over the Kirin 970.

While production of awesome camera images involves lots of different components, the Kirin 980 should help carry the load for its portion of the process. Huawei added a new generation ISP that they say will better support multi-camera configurations, new HDR color technology, and a new multi-pass noise reduction solution that helps eliminate artifacts. That latter capability should help with low-light images. On the video side, Huawei says the chip uses a new pipeline for video data that will result in 33 percent faster processing.

In another first, the Kirin 980 will come equipped with the world’s first modem with support for LTE Cat.21 that supports a peak download speed of 1.4Gbps.

With all of these improvements, Mr. Yu had the following to say about the new Kirin 980:

“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 not only features outstanding AI capabilities, but also brings cutting-edge raw performance to consumers. Equipped with all-new CPU, GPU and Dual NPU, the Kirin 980 is the ultimate engine to power next-generation productivity and entertainment applications.”

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About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a Mazda MX-5 Miata, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three grown kids and a golden retriever.