During this year’s IFA 2017 in Berlin, Huawei unveiled the Kirin 970. Basically a flagship SoC, this one is different as it comes with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) computing ability.
So instead of promoting it as a CPU configuration, Huawei is promoting the Kirin 970 as an AI mobile computing platform.
It runs on a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) which, compared to its CPU, performs 25 times better and 50 times more efficient. So it’s faster and less energy-consuming.
"As we look to the future of smartphones, we're at the threshold of an exciting new era," said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group. "Mobile AI = On-Device AI + Cloud AI. Huawei is committed to developing smart devices into intelligent devices by building end-to-end capabilities that support coordinated development of chips, devices, and the cloud. The ultimate goal is to provide a significantly better user experience. The Kirin 970 is the first in a series of new advances that will bring powerful AI features to our devices and take them beyond the competition."
Huawei says Cloud AI has seen solid improvements over the last couple of years, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement, mostly around latency, stability and privacy. Kirin 970 is powered by an 8-core CPU and a new generation 12-core GPU. It is being manufactured by TSMC, using a 10nm advanced process. The chipset comes with 5.5 billion transistors in a square centimetre.
The media are saying this CPU is very much like the Kirin 960, with four ARM Cortex-A73 cores, and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores. However, they’re this time clocked at 2.4GHz and 1.8GHz.
Kirin 970 is the first commercial SoC that uses ARM’s Mali-G72 GPU.