Monday, 03 September 2018 12:07

FULL KEYNOTE VIDEO: Huawei launches Kirin 980, billed as 'world’s first commercial 7nm SoC' Featured

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Beating Apple to the 7nm punch, and before Apple has launched its 2018 processors, Huawei launched its new 7nm Kirin 980 system on a chip which "will bring about the next evolution of mobile AI".

Huawei's Consumer Business Group chief executive Richard Yu introduced the company's new 7nm Kirin 980 SoC during his IFA 2018 keynote entitled "The Ultimate Power of Mobile AI" – with the full keynote video available to watch further down below. 

Billed as being set to "bring about the next evolution of mobile AI", the chip is the "world’s first commercial SoC manufactured with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturer Company’s 7nm process" and promises "best-in-class performance, efficiency, connectivity features, and Dual NPU AI processing power".

Larking Huang, managing director of Huawei Australia's Consumer Business Group, said: "The Huawei Kirin 980 is a further demonstration of our commitment to improve our customers’ experience. We look forward to seeing it in our future products to elevate our customers’ experiences such as in the camera, gaming and entertainment."

The promise of "absolute superiority"

Huawei says "the cutting edge TSMC 7nm process technology enables Kirin 980 to pack 6.9 billion transistors within a 1cm2 die size, up 1.6 times from the previous generation. Compared to the 10nm process, the 7nm process delivers 20% improved SoC performance and 40% improved SoC efficiency.

"The Kirin 980 is also the first SoC to embed Cortex-A76 cores, which are 75% more powerful and 58% more efficient compared to their previous generation.

"The Kirin CPU subsystem uses an intelligent Flex-scheduling mechanism that creates a 3-level energy efficiency architecture consisting of two super-big cores based on Cortex-A76, two big cores based on Cortex-A76, and four little cores Cortex-A55.

"Compared with the traditional big, this solution designates the large high-performance cores to handle immediate, intensive workloads; the large, high-efficiency cores to provide sustained performance; and ultra-efficiency cores to tackle every day, light activities with extreme power efficiency.

"Running at higher clock speeds compared to the prior generation, Kirin 980 enables quicker app launch times, better multi-tasking and a generally smoother user experience.

"As graphics in mobile games have become more and more sophisticated in recent years, Huawei has integrated the Mali-G76 GPU into the Kirin 980 to deliver unparalleled gaming experiences. Debuting with the Kirin 980, Mali-G76 offers 46 percent greater graphics processing power at 178 percent improved power efficiency over the previous generation.

"Mali-G76 also features an innovative clock boosting technology that utilises AI to intelligently identify gaming workloads and adjust resource allocation for optimal gaming performance".

Here's the keynote video in full, recorded by Notebook Italia – the article continues below, please read on:

Industry’s first “dual-brain” power

Here, Huawei proudly boasts the latest Kirin SoC represents "a new era of On-Device AI".

"The Dual NPU Kirin 980 elevates the On-Device AI experience with greater processing power and intelligence. The synergy between the Dual NPU results in an image recognition capability that is greater than the sum of two—the Kirin 980 can recognise up to 4,600 images per minute, up 120 percent compared to Kirin 970, further demonstrating Huawei’s industry leadership in the On-Device AI space.

"Additionally, Kirin 980 supports common AI frameworks such as Caffee, Tensorflow and Tensorflow Lite, and provides a suite of tools that simplifies the difficulty of engineering On-Device AI, allowing developers to easily tap into the leading processing power of the Dual NPU."

Full-featured ISP (image signal processor)

In pursuit of the best smartphone photography experience, Huawei says it "integrated its proprietary fourth-generation ISP into the SoC".

"In addition to a 46% increase in data throughput compared to its predecessor, the new ISP also provides better support for multi-camera configurations, as well as an all-new HDR colour reproduction technology that can manipulate picture contrast to highlight objects on various parts of an image.

"In addition, Kirin 980 utilises the Multi-pass noise reduction solution that accurately removes artefacts without scrubbing away image details, resulting in better quality on images taken in low-light scenarios.

"Another new feature of the ISP is improved motion tracking. When a user attempts to snap a photo of a moving person, the ISP can still recognise the subject with 97.4% accuracy, so any user can capture fleeting moments with ease.

"The rise of video-centric social media platforms brought together with it a surge of demand for video capture features. Kirin 980 adopts a new pipeline dedicated to processing video captures, allowing the camera module to shoot videos with 33 percent shorter delay."

World-class connectivity

To deliver the best connectivity to users of Kirin 980-powered devices, Huawei says it "integrated the world’s first modem supporting LTE Cat.21 with a peak download speed of 1.4Gbps".

"Additionally, the Kirin 980 supports carrier aggregation, even across frequency bands, so users are free to choose their mobile operators and still enjoy the same premium connectivity experience, regardless of where they are."

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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