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Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970 | Key Differences, What We Know So Far!

Huawei, the Chinese phone maker has been on a roll lately with mid-range segment smartphones and 5G baseband chip-related announcements, and that roll is continuing with Kirin 980, a new mobile processor for their future flagship devices (Huawei Mate 20 Series).

Huawei Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970
Image Source: Huawei

Recently, the so-called Huawei Mate 20 Pro specification sheet appeared on the 3C certification website, and this product is expected to be officially announced in October this year. According to the web sources, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is equipped with the HiSilicon (subsidiary chip manufacturing of Huawei) Kirin 980 SoC (System-on-Chip). This post will highlight a few key differences between its predecessor (Kirin 970) and the upcoming Kirin 980 which is rumored to be manufactured in 7 nanometers.

Kirin 980 Specifications (Tentative)

  • Process Node: 7nm TSMC
  • Cellular: 5G & Previous LTE Cellular Specifications
  • WiFi Support: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac/ad (Dual Band)

Update 23rd July: No 5G

Huawei’s HiSilicon processor has made rapid progress, and the performance gap between Qualcomm and Samsung’s flagship processor is getting smaller and smaller. Now, with the rapid advancement of TSMC’s 7nm process technology, the Huawei HiSilicon 980 processor will also advance towards mass production.

As of now, we only know that the Huawei HiSilicon 980 processor will use the TSMC’s 7nm process technology. There are not many details about its specifications, however, there are reports that the HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor will be equipped with ARM’s latest A75 CPU architecture, and the GPU will use the custom-designed architecture, and the NPU (Neural Processing Unit) will evolve to the second generation.

Update 23rd July: The octa-core CPU will comprise of four ARM Cortex-A77 core clocked at a maximum frequency of 2.8 GHz and four Cortex-A55 for energy-efficient computing.

In fact, the key USP of the Kirin 970 is the on-chip NPU which made the chip to compete with the Apple A11 Bionic processor. Now the Kirin 980 boasting second-generation NPU, custom-designed GPU, 5G connectivity will mark Huawei’s place in the top tier.

Update 18th July 2018: It is also reported that the upcoming Kirin 980 chip may use Cambricon (Cambrian) processor IP. Cambrian recently launched 1M series chip which is the company’s new generation of AI chip fabricated (produced) using TSMC 7nm process technology for self-driving car platforms.

The third generation terminal AI chip Cambrian 1M (machine learning terminal processor) has an AI performance of 5 TOPS/watt (5 trillion times per watt). Cambrian will provide a processor core of three sizes, 2Tops, 4Tops, and 8Tops, to meet the needs of different levels of intelligent processing in different scenarios.

Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970

As we can see the brief specifications, there are significant differences between the Kirin 980 and Kirin 970.

Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970
System-on-Chip Kirin 980 Kirin 970
Process Node 7nm TSMC 10nm TSMC
CPU Cambrian IP Core/ARM Cortex-A75 Core 4 Cortex-A73 + 4 Cortex-A53
Cellular Enhanced LTE LTE Cat. 18
GPU Mali-G72 MP12 Custom Designed GPU

Kirin 980 Smartphones

Recent leaks indicate that the Huawei Mate 20 Pro will be powered by the Kirin 980 chip. The Mate 20 pro will adopt a three-camera module, similar to the Huawei P20 Pro – equipped with 40MP main/primary RGB sensor. With 20MP black and white camera and 8-megapixel telephoto lens. Other leaking details include a front dual camera, 40W fast charging, and under-screen fingerprint sensor.

Huawei will be the first to use the Kirin 980 in the Mate 20 flagship phone. As per the industry news, 980 chip has moved into mass production. In addition, it is reported that Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 will also adopt the 7nm process technology integrating the 5G Snapdragon X50 baseband.


What do you think about the Kirin 980, let us know in the comment section below?

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