Kirin 980 is official: World’s first 7nm chipset with two dedicated NPUs

by Habeeb Onawole 0

Huawei has unveiled its most powerful processor at the on-going IFA Berlin tech show.  The Hisilicon Kirin 980 was officially unveiled a short while ago and is the world’s first 7nm chipset.

Kirin 980 IFA announcement

The Kirin 980 is not only the first 7nm processor in the world, it is also the first chipset with the new Cortex-A76 CPU cores; the first chipset with a dual-NPU; the first with the Mali-G76 GPU, the first with a Cat. 21 LTE modem, and the first chipset to support 2133MHz LPDDR4X. That’s so many firsts!

The Kirin 980 has 8 cores in a tri-cluster arrangement (2+2+4). The four Cortex-A76 cores are separated into two – one set is clocked at 2.6GHz while the other is clocked at 2.2GHz. The former takes on high demanding short-term tasks while the latter handles high-demanding long-term tasks. The power-saving Cortex-A55 cores are clocked at 1.8GHz and handle simple everyday tasks. Huawei says it uses a flex-scheduling system which distributes tasks among the cores.

Kirin 980 vs SD845
Kirin 980 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

The GPU is the Mali G76 MP10 and it has a clock speed of 720MHz. Huawei says it brings a 48% increase in terms of performance and a 178% increase in power management. There is also a special boost mode called clock-boosting technology for when more graphics power is needed.

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The Kirin 980 also has a new ISP with a 46% increase in performance over last year’s model. It also brings a 23% improvement in recording power efficiency, and a 33% improvement in recording latency. There is also the new dual NPU chipset termed “Dual-Brain Power” that is about 120% faster than the NPU in the Kirin 970.

For the Wi-Fi chipset, Huawei is going with its own in-house chipset – the Hi1103. It supports 802.11ac offering speeds up to 1732Mbps. It also supports 2×2 MIMO.

The Kirin 980 has a total of 6.9 billion transistors and will be mass-produced by Taiwan’s TSMC. It will first appear in the Huawei Mate 20 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro.