Huawei Shares Details of the Upcoming Kirin 970 SoC
About this time of the year we’re used to hearing something from Huawei about a new Kirin SoC they’ve been working on. We were impressed with how well the Kirin 960 performed last year and compared it to multiple chipsets that were available at that time. Huawei is hoping to build upon that momentum this year with the upcoming Kirin 970. This time though, the company is marketing the addition of dedicated neural network silicon inside the chip.
It makes sense that Huawei would want to focus on this too. Google has doubled down on their machine learning technology and we’re seeing competitors building similar features in their chips. There are benefits to having this technology in the cloud as well as on the device as it will give developers more options for how they implement their product. Huawei is calling their technology a Neural Processing Unit (also referred to as an NPU), and its performance is said to be rated at 1.92 TFLOPs of FP16.
Internal tests show this performance capability allows the Kirin 970 to process 2005 images per minute, which is up from 97 images per minute without the NPU. The new chipset from Huawei is similar to the previous Kirin 960 but sporting higher frequencies, being an eight-core SoC with four being Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.40 GHz and the other four being Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.80 GHz. The GPU Huawei has chosen to go with is the newer ARM Mali-G72MP12, but the company has yet to announce its clock speed.
They did, however, confirm it will have a dual ISP, but again, didn’t go into detail about its performance. It will be equipped with the Kirin 970 Integrated LTE modem (a Category 18 modem) with download capabilities of 1.2Gbps. The last bit of information that was announced at IFA this year was that it would be built on a 10nm process from TSMC. The company normally has big press events for their new chips, and since that wasn’t the case at IFA, it is likely why they didn’t reveal any more details about it.
Adding to the scarcity of information, the only models shown were generic models hooked up to development boards. We’ll just have to wait until Huawei is ready to know the full specs of the Kirin 970 SoC and which devices it’ll be featured in.
Source: AnandTech (Give them a visit for more info & coverage!)