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Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970 In 5 Points | A True Upgrade!

Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970
  • 10/10
    Kirin 980 - 10/10
  • 7/10
    Kirin 970 - 7/10


The Kirin 980 is a fully upgraded mobile processor. Compared to last year’s Kirin 970, Kirin 980 is too powerful. The performance difference is significant, however, Kirin 970 is still a great processor as we are not able to utilize a high-end processor optimally.

Yesterday, the HiSilicon Kirin 980 was announced at the IFA 2018, Berlin. The 980 chip is one of a kind as it uses 7nm process technology, ARM Cortex-A76, and Mali G76 GPU. We would see how does it compete with its predecessor, the Kirin 970.

Huawei Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970

Image Source: Huawei

As far as the specifications are concerned. Below are the technical specifications of the Kirin 980 (K980).

Kirin 980 Specifications


  • TSMC 7nm DUV Lithography
  • 6.9 billion transistors
  • 2+2+4 CPU Configuration (ARM Cortex-A76+A76+A55)
  • 2.6GHz/1.9GHz, 1.8GHz
  • Geekbench single-core core points:3360


  • Mali G76 MP10
  • 46% higher than the 970’s G72 MP12, 178% more effective
  • Next generation GPU Turbo


  • 2133MHz LP DDR4X, 20% increase in bandwidth and 28% lower latency than Snapdragon 845
  • Dual-core ISP (custom-designed)
  • Dual-core DSP
  • Supports Cat. 21/18 LTE, up to 1.4Gbps Download Speeds

Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970

As we can see the brief specifications, there are significant differences between the K980 and Kirin 970.

Kirin 980 vs 970
Image Source: Heijo Weibo

Kirin 980 Vs Kirin 970

1. Kirin 980 Has Better Design

Compared to the 10nm Kirin 970, the K980 is built on the TSMC’s advanced 7nm process node. This means, it can house more transistors in a smaller die size and can provide more computing power with less energy consumption. Kirin 970 integrates 5.5 billion transistors, on the other hand, K980 integrates 6.9 billion transistors which enables a performance boost by 20%.

2. Kirin 980 Has Powerful NPU

The biggest selling point of the Kirin 970 was the on-chip NPU for AI applications. In fact, in terms of NPU, Kirin 970 was ahead of Apple’s A11 Bionic processor. This time the K980 brings dual-core NPU which enables four times higher AI performance than the previous generation Kirin 970. The Dual NPU of the K980 can recognize 4,500 images per minute (an increase of 120%).

3. Kirin 980 Has Better CPU Cluster Design

In terms of the CPU, K980 has a 2+2+4 cluster. The four small cores are Cortex-A55 with a 128K L2 cache. The 2 big core is based on a modified version of Cortex-A76 which are clocked at 1.9 GHz. The 2+2 cores are actually a big core together, which has a low-frequency big core, with the ARM default 512K second-level L2 cache. The cluster also adds a DSU cluster, which can be easily understood as a large three-level (L3) cache.

The K980 single-core performance is 75% higher than the Kirin 970. The Kirin 970’s single-core run is 2000 points and the estimated single-core of K980 is 3500 points.

4. Kirin 980 Has More Powerful GPU

For the first time, ARM’s Mali-G76 GPU is being commercially adopted, and K980 is the first. Mali-G76 is almost equivalent to two G72, so the reduction from the previous generation of 12 cores (G72 MP12) to 10 cores (G76 MP10) can be said to be a sharp drop, but the long-term operation at 700m Hz is still under pressure and may be down-converted. Together with the GPU Turbo technology, the Mali G76 GPU can achieve a performance boost of 46%

5. Kirin 980 Has Better Co-processors (RAM, ISP, LTE, etc.)

The RAM frequency is increased to 2133 MHz. The new self-developed ISP should be able to better control the IMX600 sensor, and the photo is worth looking forward to. The decoding capability has not changed 2160p60 frames, and the coding ability is unknown. The self-research baseband supports Cat. 21 LTE with a maximum speed of 1.4 Gbps. A new generation of sensor processing units. The self-developed ISP 4.0 enables an increased pixel throughput by 46%. It also supports UFS 2.1 and boasts a wifi chip supporting 160MHz bandwidth.

Kirin 980 Smartphones

Honor Magic 2

The Honor Magic 2 is designed with a sliding screen structure to hide the front camera, enabling an almost 100% full view. Unlike OPPO Find X, Honor Magic 2’s sliding structure is manually operated by the user. It is powered by the Kirin 980 and uses the mainstream AI dual camera, primary 40 MP + 20 MP dual camera setup, and front 24 MP camera. In addition, it is equipped with a 40W super fast charge, which can reach 90% charging in 30 minutes.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

At the Huawei’s conference at IFA 2018, Huawei officially announced the Huawei Mate 20 series of new mobile phones will be the world’s first smartphone with Kirin 980 chip will debut on October 16.

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.

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? //