Huawei Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 845: Performance, Efficiency, Graphics and AI

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Huawei has announced its latest in-house manufacturer flagship SoC for its upcoming smartphones, the Kirin 980. The brand announced the newest chipset and the successor to the Kirin 970 at the IFA 2018. With this new piece of hardware inside its phone, Huawei will bring performance improvements thus putting it against Qualcomm’s top-end processor, the Snapdragon 845. Huawei has also made assertions that the Kirin 980 is a better performer than the Snapdragon 845. However, we are yet to get the details right. As for now, read ahead to see which one is a better processor of the two on paper.


Huawei Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 845: Performance and Architecture

The Kirin 980’s cores can be divided into three segments as it houses eight cores with two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.6GHz, two Cortex-A76 cores at 1.92GHz and lastly four high-efficiency Cortex-A55 cores at 1.8GHz. The processor has been built on TSMC’s latest 7nm manufacturing process. The GPU accompanying this setup is ARM’s Mali-G76 MP10 GPU which attains a clock speed of 720MHz.

The Snapdragon 845, on the other hand, has been built on Samsung 10nm LPP process. This chipset features two sets of four cores each involving - four Kryo 385 Gold clocked at 2.8GHz and four Kryo 385 Silver at 1.77GHz. Notably, these two classifications have been done based on the customisation of Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 cores by ARM respectively. The Adreno 630 GPU is the one powering the graphics along with the chipset.


Overall, it is clear that the Huawei Kirin 980 features a better architecture of 7nm manufacturing process as compared to the 10nm manufacturing process of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. Similarly, although the Kirin 980 hasn’t used the Cortex-A75 cores as such, the small optimisations to the performance make all the difference. As for the GPUs, Huawei has claimed that the Mali-G76 will render graphics with 22% higher frame rates with a 32% reduction in power reduction as compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.

Users might also see some apparent improvement as the Kirin 980 supports DDR4X memory clocked up to 2133MHz while the Snapdragon 845 makes do with 1866MHz. This setup will lead to 22% reduction in latency and a 20% improvement in bandwidth.

Huawei Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 845: Connectivity, Network and Modem

The Kirin 980 features Cat. 21 LTE modem which supports download speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps against the Snapdragon 845’s Cat. 18 based X20 LTE modem which is only able to attain max download speeds of 1.2 Gbps. Since around the globe, the LTE speeds remain much lower compared to these levels; the difference remains only on paper.


Huawei Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 845: AI Processing

Huawei has been that one brand which has put a lot of emphasis on AI in their phones and chipsets. As such, this time the brand has doubled the AI prowess on the Kirin 980 chipset as compared to its predecessor by embedding the SoC with two Neural Processing Units (NPUs). As per Huawei’s claims, the Kirin 980 will be able to recognise 4,500 images per minute via the Resnet 50 model, where the Snapdragon 845 remains limited to 2,371 images per minute. Not only this, but the dual Image Signal Processor (ISP) on the Kirin 980 has also been touted to outperform the Snapdragon 845’s Spectra 280 ISP. Given the amount of emphasis that Huawei puts on camera and imaging, the new SoC has definitely notched up people's expectations.


Huawei Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 845: Verdict

Huawei’s latest Kirin 980 seems to be a step up from the Snapdragon 845 on paper, and the chipset has also performed well on the tests conducted by Huawei. Now we will have to wait for the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro which will be the first phones in the market to sport the Kirin 980. When these two phones are launched on October 16, we would like to see how they collide head-on with the other flagship phones sporting the Snapdragon 845.

In its upcoming event, the electronics giant Apple will also be launching its A12 SoC; it will also be interesting to test the Kirin 980 against the latest Apple flagship chipset which will make its place in the soon-to-be-launched new iPhones.

Reported By


Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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