Refreshing Intel's Coffee was quite effective

Subject: Processors | October 19, 2018 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: 2700x, amd, coffee lake, coffee lake refresh, i5-9600K, i7-9700K, i9-9900K, Intel, ryzen 7, Z390

With the advent of the 9th generation of Core processors from Intel, we see the market return to what we have been used to in the past.  Intel's offering is now faster and more effective than AMD's Ryzen, but it is also significantly more expensive.  Instead of getting an APU and heatsink for ~$300, you will be paying ~$530 for just the processor with no cooler.  That said the i9-9900K makes sense for those who have spent the money on an RTX 2080 Ti and a high resolution monitor, since they've already set a large budget; while those with less lofty dreams will be very happy with the Ryzen 7 2700X.

The question of overclocking is an interesting one, as Ken had no luck getting the chip to run above 5GHz.   [H]ard|OCP had a slightly better experience, hitting 5.14GHz with a 3600MHz memory bus, which could not match the content creation power of Threadripper 2 even though it was sucking down more juice.  Check out their review and then browse through the ones below.

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"The new 9th generation Intel i9-9900K CPU is upon us! AMD has been pushing into Intel's desktop market and Intel knows it. Today Intel is pulling the curtain back on "not paid for" reviews and we are happy to be serving you one of those up here today. Is the i9-9900K better than the Ryzen 7 2700X, and is it worth the staggering price premium?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Overview

One of the most radical changes to happen in the last two years in the PC hardware space has to be the launch of AMD's Ryzen processors. Despite the failure that was the FX-series with their Bulldozer architecture, AMD managed to shock the industry with the performance of their next generation Zen architecture.

After generations upon generations of consumer processors topping out at four cores going back to the Core 2 days, Intel finally launched their first 6-core processor for consumers with the 8700K almost exactly a year ago.

AMD's continued to persevere with the launch of the second generation Ryzen 7 2700X earlier this year, which managed to improve the single-threaded performance gap between AMD and Intel. 

Still, this performance gap existed, leaving room for what Intel is launching today, their first 8-core mainstream consumer processor, the Core i9-9900K. Finally having core count parity with AMD, and still holding an advantage in single-threaded performance, this launch has garnered a lot of attention.

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  Core i9-9900K Ryzen 7 2700X Threadripper 2950X Core i9-7900X Core i7-8700K Core i7-7700K
Architecture Coffee Lake Refresh Zen+ Zen+ Skylake-X Coffee Lake Kaby Lake
Process Tech 14nm++ 12nm 12nm 14nm+ 14nm++ 14nm+
Cores/Threads 8/16 8/16 16/32 10/20 6/12 4/8
Base Clock 3.6 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.7 GHz 4.2 GHz
Boost Clock 5.0 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.7 GHz 4.5 GHz
L3 Cache 16MB 16MB 32MB 11MB 12MB 8MB
Memory Support DDR4-2666 (Dual-Channel) DDR4-2933 (Dual-Channel) DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2666 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2666 (Dual-Channel) DDR4-2400 (Dual-Channel)
PCIe Lanes 16 16 64 44 16 16
TDP 95 W 105 W 180 W 140 W 95 W 91 W
Socket LGA1151 AM4 TR4 LGA-2066 LGA1151 LGA1151
Price (MSRP) $499 $329 $899 $1000 $349 $329

Click here to continue reading our review of the Intel Core i9-9900K

Intel unveils updated X-Series HEDT processors, 28-core Xeon for Workstations

Subject: Processors | October 8, 2018 - 11:14 AM |
Tagged: xeon w-3175x, xeon, x299, Intel, i9-9890xe, C621, 9th generation, 28-core

Consumer processors weren't the only Intel products to see an update today, as Intel announced updates to their HEDT lineup, as well as a new platform for their 28-core processor previously announced at Computex.

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First is the Xeon W-3175X, which readers will remember from the now infamous Intel demonstration at Computex, featuring a 5 GHz overclock achieved through the use of a 1HP water chiller.

Today we were introduced to the final product iteration of this 28-core demo, the Xeon W-3175X. Utilizing the same C621 chipset, this processor is essentially a Xeon Platinum 8180 which launched in late 2017 but with an unlocked multiplier and running at higher clock speeds.

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The Xeon W-3175X provides a 600 MHz base clock and a 500 MHz Turbo Boost 2.0 clock advantage over the Xeon Platinum 8180. Along with these clock speed increases comes a TDP increase to 255W, compared to the 205W TDP of the Xeon 8180.

Additionally, Xeon W-3175X will support the same six-channel ECC memory configuration as the Xeon Platinum 8180. Similarly, the Xeon W-3175X will use the LGA3647 socket, currently only found on the Xeon Scalable family of processors.

Given that current lack of LGA3647-based workstation motherboards and the TDP increase over the Xeon Scalable processor, this new Xeon-W part will mean the release of all-new motherboards, a sneak peak of which we saw at Computex. ASUS and Gigabyte are said to be the launch partners, with motherboard options to be available in December alongside the processor.

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On the slightly more reasonable side, we have the refresh of Intel's X-series HEDT processors.

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Topping off with the 18-core i9-9980XE, this lineup looks very familiar to Intel's current HEDT lineup, aside from some clock speed and core count increases.

Instead of starting at a 6-core, 12-thread configuration like the 7th generation, the 9th generation HEDT parts now start at the same 8-core, 16-thread configuration we see with the i9-9900K. Similarly, there are now two 10-core SKUs, the i9-9820X and i9-9900X.

Across the board, we see a 300-400 MHz increase on the base clocks of these new parts compared to the previous generation, as well as a 200-300 MHz to the Turbo Boost 2.0 clock speeds.

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The X-series processors will once again feature a soldered connection between the die and heatspreader for increased thermal performance.

These new X-series processors will continue to use the X299 platform, although we expect to see a few newly revised motherboards based on the X299 chipset from partners as we have for other HEDT launches.

While the new 9th generation consumer CPUs feature a combination of hardware, software, and microcode updates for side-channel attack vulnerabilities like Spectre and Meltdown, both the new X-series CPUs as well as the Xeon W-3175X only feature microcode and software fixes as detailed below:

  • Speculative side channel variant Spectre V2 (Branch Target Injection) = Microcode + Software
  • Speculative side channel variant Meltdown V3 (Rogue Data Cache Load) = Microcode
  • Speculative side channel variant Meltdown V3a (Rogue System Register Read) = Microcode
  • Speculative side channel variant V4 (Speculative Store Bypass) = Microcode + Software
  • Speculative side channel variant L1 Terminal Fault = Microcode + Software
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One of the points that Intel stressed this morning when announcing these new products is the importance of their Mesh architecture as compared to AMD's Infinity Fabric-based solution to core count scaling. 
 
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Intel claims the performance benefits that the unified memory architecture, where all cores can access memory, provides over the Threadripper 2990WX are significant in some applications including Autodesk Maya, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Unreal Engine build times.
 
In general, the announcements of these high-core count processors are relatively tame compared to the updates that Intel's consumer desktop CPUs saw today. AMD has been very aggressive with their second generation Threadripper processors in term of pricing and performance, so it will be interesting to see how these new Intel X-series processors change the HEDT market outlook.
 
As for the 28-core Xeon-W part, it seems odd for Intel to be launching a whole new desktop platform in-order to compete with the likes of the 24 and 32-core second generation Threadripper processors from AMD. 
 
The Xeon W-3175X will be available starting in December, while the new Intel X-series processors will be available in November.
Source: Intel

Intel announces 9th Generation Core processors with up to 8-cores, 16-threads

Subject: Processors | October 8, 2018 - 11:14 AM |
Tagged: Z390, STIM, ryzen, Intel, i9-9900K, i7-9700K, i5-9600K, 9th generation, 2700x

At their event in New York City today, Intel took the wraps off of their much-rumored 9th generation series of desktop processors.

Built upon the same "14 nm++" process technology as Coffee Lake, this new 9th generation is launching with 3 new processor models.

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At the lower end, we have the i5-9600K, replacing the current i5-8600K. Staying with the same 6C/6T configuration, the 9600K improves the base frequency by 100 MHz, while adding 300 MHz to the rated single-core Turbo Boost 2.0 clock speed.

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Moving onto the 8-core processors, we have the i7-9700K and the i9-9900K. Coming with Intel's first consumer i9 processor also comes the first i7 desktop processor not to feature Hyper-threading. While both processors have eight physical cores, only the i9-9900K will feature Hyper-threading allowing for a 16-thread configuration. Both processors maintain the same 95W TDP as the i7-8700K.

The lack of Hyper-Threading on the i7-9700K will provide quite the interesting performance comparison with the current flagship 6C/12T i7-8700K.

The flagship Intel Core i9-9900K has a base clock 100 MHz lower than the i7-8700K but features the same 5.0 GHz single-core Turbo Boost clock as the i7-8086K. Intel has also said that the all-core frequency for the i9-9900K is 400 MHz faster than the i7-8700K. Additionally, the i9-9900K features 16MB of cache, compared to the 12MB found on the i7-8700K.

Price-wise, both the i5-9600K and i7-9700K are similar to the 8th generation processors they are replacing, while the i9-9900K will come in at $500. 

IMG_5456.png

Addressing one of the most common complaints from enthusiasts about recent Intel processors, the 9th generation series of processors will come with what Intel is referring to as "Solder Thermal Interface Material" (STIM). 

Switching back to solder as the TIM for these CPUs should provide significantly improved thermal conductivity, resulting in additional overclocking headroom as well as cooler and quieter operation at stock frequencies without the need of delidding.

Alongside these new processors comes the launch of a new chipset from Intel, Z390. In addition to native USB 3.1 Gen 1 (10 Gbit/s) support, Intel claims the Z390 chipset will sport improved power management for the 8-core processor variants, as well as integrated 802.11 AC connectivity. 

IMG_3191.png

The Z390 platform will continue to feature the same "up to 40" PCI Express lanes that we've seen for several generations, with 16 lanes being directly connected to the CPU, and the rest coming from the chipset which is still connected via a DMI 3.0 link.

Despite the launch of a new chipset in the form of Z390, these new 9th generation chipsets will maintain compatibility with all previous 300-series Intel chipsets, such as Z370 through updates that will be made available by motherboard manufacturers. 

These new 9th generation processors will also feature a combination of hardware and software fixes for the following side-channel attack security vulnerabilities like Spectre and Meltdown:

  • Speculative side channel variant SpectreV2 (Branch Target Injection) = Microcode + Software
  • Speculative side channel variant Meltdown V3 (Rogue Data Cache Load) = Hardware
  • Speculative side channel variant Meltdown V3a (Rogue System Register Read) = Microcode
  • Speculative side channel variant V4 (Speculative Store Bypass) = Microcode + Software
  • Speculative side channel variant L1 Terminal Fault = Hardware

While the almost $500 price tag is substantially higher than AMD's $330 8-core Ryzen 7 2700X, Intel's advantage in single-threaded performance combined with matched core counts should provide for quite the interesting comparison.

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The i9-9900K is available for pre-order today, and will launch on October 19th. No word on the rest of the 9th generation lineup, but we expect them to launch at the same time as the i9 processor.

Source: Intel

AMD Announces Threadripper 2970WX, 2920X Availability, New Dynamic Local Mode Feature

Subject: Processors | October 5, 2018 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, Threadripper, 2990wx, 2970wx, 2950x, 2920x, dynamical local mode, NUMA, UMA

AMD has provided an update to their continued rollout of 2nd generation Threadripper CPUs, including the 12 and 24-core variants.

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Both of these new Threadripper SKUs will be available starting on October 29th, for a price of $649 for the 12-core 2920X and $1299 for the 24-core 2970WX.

The more surprising announcement comes in the form of a new software feature for the Threadripper WX-series processors called "Dynamic Local Mode" which aims to address some of the performance issues caused by the non-traditional memory structure of these processors, where not all CPU cores have direct access to a memory controller.

WX-structure.png

A diagram of the memory structure utilized in the Threadripper WX-series processors

According to the blog post on AMD's website, Dynamic Local Mode will run as a Windows 10 service and measure how much CPU time each thread is utilizing.

This service will then begin to reallocate these demanding threads to the CPU cores which have direct memory access until it runs out of available cores. In that case, the service will start to assign threads to the remaining cores.

This dynamic operation ensures for applications that aren't consuming all 48/64 threads on the WX-series processors, that direct memory access will be available when needed. In particular, this should provide an advantage to gaming, which typically takes up less than eight cores, but is dependant on fast memory access.

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Users will be able to enable and disable this feature on the fly through the Ryzen Master, and it will not require a reboot unlike the existing Dynamic/Local mode toggle for the Threadripper X-seres processors. 

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AMD is claiming that they've measured up to a 47% increase in performance with Dynamic Local Mode enabled while gaming in certain titles.

Dynamic Local Mode is set to be enabled with a new version of AMD's Ryzen Master software, available alongside these new Threadripper SKUs on October 29th. We hope to have hands-on this software beforehand to test how this fixes some of the issues we saw in our initial review of the Threadripper 2990WX. Stay tuned for more info!

Source: AMD

$55 of Athlon agility, the 200GE

Subject: Processors | September 18, 2018 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: amd, athlon, 200GE

If you are building a system on a budget, AMD is currently the king of the low cost machine.  For a mere $55 you can grab the dual core, four thread, 3.2 GHz Athlon 200GE and it's three Radeon compute units, add in a motherboard for the same price, a spare SSD and the only major remaining cost would be the DDR4.  The Ryzen 3 2200G is a better performing chip overall and is unlocked but it costs twice as much and might not be needed for some builds as you can game quite comfortably at 720p with the 200GE as Techspot demonstrates in their review.

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"AMD's most affordable Zen based processor yet, the Athlon 200GE is just dual-core, but before your shrek louder than the coil whine of a cheap graphics card, consider the price, this is a $55 processor."

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Source: TechSpot
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Retesting the 2990WX

Earlier today, NVIDIA released version 399.24 of their GeForce drivers for Windows, citing Game Ready support for some newly released games including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout Beta, and Assetto Corsa Competizione early access. 

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While this in and of itself is a normal event, we shortly started to get some tips from readers about an interesting bug fix found in NVIDIA's release notes for this specific driver revision.

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Specifically addressing performance differences between 16-core/32-thread processors and 32-core/64-thread processors, this patched issue immediately rang true of our experiences benchmarking the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX back in August, where we saw some games resulting in frames rates around 50% slower than the 16-core Threadripper 2950X. 

This particular patch note lead us to update out Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX test platform to this latest NVIDIA driver release and see if there were any noticeable changes in performance.

The full testbed configuration is listed below:

Test System Setup
CPU

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX

Motherboard ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme - BIOS 1304
Memory

16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3200

Operating at DDR4-2933

Storage Corsair Neutron XTi 480 SSD
Sound Card On-board
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB
Graphics Drivers NVIDIA 398.26 and 399.24
Power Supply Corsair RM1000x
Operating System Windows 10 Pro x64 RS4 (17134.165)

Included at the end of this article are the full results from our entire suite of game benchmarks from our CPU testbed, but first, let's take a look at some of the games that provided particularly bad issues with the 2990WX previously.

The interesting data points for this testing are the 2990WX scores across both the driver revision we tested across every CPU, 398.26, as well as the results from the 1/4 core compatibility mode, and the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X. From the wording of the patch notes, we would expect gaming performance between the 16-core 2950X and the 32-core 2990WX to be very similar.

Grand Theft Auto V

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GTA V was previously one of the worst offenders in our original 2990WX testing, with the frame rate almost halving compared to the 2950X.

However, with the newest GeForce driver update, we see this gap shrinking to around a 20% difference.

Continue reading our revised look at Threadripper 2990WX gaming performance!!

Huawei Kirin Cheating Extends to Geekbench, P20 Pro Tested

Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 9, 2018 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: p20 pro, Kirin 970, Kirin, Huawei

This story first appeared on ShroutResearch.com.

Last week the gang at Anandtech posted a story discovering systematic cheating by Huawei in smartphone benchmarks. In its story, AT focused on 3DMark and GFXBench, looking at how the Chinese-based silicon and phone provider was artificially increasing benchmark scores to gain an advantage in its battles with other smartphone providers and SoC vendors like Qualcomm.

As a result of that testing, UL Benchmarks (who acquired Futuremark) delisted several Huawei smartphones from 3DMark, taking the artificial scores down from the leaderboards. This puts the existing device reviews in question while also pulling a cloud over the recently announced (and impressive sounding) Kirin 980 SoC meant to battle with the Snapdragon 845 and next-gen Qualcomm product. The Kirin 980 will be the first shipping processor to integrate high performance Arm Cortex-A76 cores, so the need to cheat on performance claims is questionable.

Just a day after this story broke, UL and Huawei released a joint statement that is, quite honestly, laughable.

"In the discussion, Huawei explained that its smartphones use an artificial intelligent resource scheduling mechanism. Because different scenarios have different resource needs, the latest Huawei handsets leverage innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to optimize resource allocation in a way so that the hardware can demonstrate its capabilities to the fullest extent, while fulfilling user demands across all scenarios.

To somehow assert that any kind of AI processing is happening on Huawei devices that is responsible for the performance differences that Anandtech measured is at best naïve and at worst straight out lying. This criticism is aimed at both Huawei and UL Benchmarks – I would assume that a company with as much experience in performance evaluation would not succumb to this kind of messaging.

After that AT story was posted, I started talking with the team that builds Geekbench, one of the most widely used and respected benchmarks for processors on mobile devices and PCs. It provides a valuable resource of comparative performance and leaderboards. As it turns out, Huawei devices are exhibiting the same cheating behavior in this benchmark.

Below I have compiled results from Geekbench that were run by developer John Poole on a Huawei P20 Pro device powered by the Kirin 970 SoC. (Private app results, public app results.) To be clear: the public version is the application package as downloaded from the Google Play Store while the private version is a custom build he created to test against this behavior. It uses absolutely identical workloads and only renames the package and does basic string replacement in the application.

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Clearly the Huawei P20 Pro is increasing performance on the public version of the Geekbench test and not on the private version, despite using identical workloads on both. In the single threaded tests, the total score is 6.5% lower with the largest outlier being in the memory performance sub-score, where the true result is 14.3% slower than the inaccurate public version result. Raw integer performance drops by 3.7% and floating-point performance falls by 5.6%.

The multi-threaded score differences are much more substantial. Floating point performance drops by 26% in the private version of Geekbench, taking a significant hit that would no doubt affect its placement in the leaderboards and reviews of flagship Android smartphones.

Overall, the performance of the Huawei P20 Pro is 6.5% slower in single threaded testing and 16.7% slower in multi-threaded testing when the artificial score inflation in place within the Huawei customized OS is removed. Despite claims to the contrary, and that somehow an AI system is being used to recognize specific user scenarios and improve performance, this is another data point to prove that Huawei was hoping to pull one over on the media and consumers with invalid performance comparisons.

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Some have asked me why this issue matters; if the hardware is clearly capable of performance like this, why should Huawei and HiSilicon not be able to present it that way? The higher performance results that 3DMark, GFXBench, and now Geekbench show are not indicative of the performance consumers get with their devices on real applications. The entire goal of benchmarks and reviews is to try to convey the experience a buyer would get for a smartphone, or anything else for that matter.

If Huawei wanted one of its devices to offer this level of performance in games and other applications, it could do so, but at the expense of other traits. Skin temperature, battery life, and device lifespan could all be impacted – something that would definitely affect the reviews and reception of a smartphone. Hence, the practice of cheating in an attempt to have the best of both.

The sad part about all of this is that Huawei’s flagship smartphones have been exceptional in nearly every way. Design, screen quality, camera integration, features; the Mate and P-series devices have been excellent representations of what an Android device can be. Unfortunately, for enthusiasts that follow the market, this situation will follow the company and cloud some of those positives.

Today’s data shows that the story of Huawei and benchmarks goes beyond just 3DMark and GFXBench. We will be watching this closely to see how Huawei responds and if any kinds of updates to existing hardware are distributed. And, as the release of Kirin 980 devices nears, you can be sure that testing and evaluation of these will get a more scrutinizing eye than ever.

Athlon rides again!

Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 6, 2018 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: amd, athlon, Zen, Vega, 200GE, PRO 200GE, ryzen, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700X, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700, Ryzen 5 PRO 2600

AMD is returning the Athlon name to active service with the arrival of the Athlon 200GE, combining their current Zen core with three Radeon Vega 3 GCUs and a GPU core of 1GHz.  The dual core, multithreaded processor will run at 3.2GHz with a TDP of 35W, which should give you an idea of where you will find this new chip. 

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Along with the new Athlon comes four new Pro chips, the AMD Athlon PRO 200GE, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700X, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700 and Ryzen 5 PRO 2600.  These will be more traditional desktop processors with enterprise level features to ensure the security of your systems as well as offering flexibility; with a cost somewhat lower than the competitions.

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Source: AMD

Huawei Announces Kirin 980: Is the World's First 7nm SoC Passing Snapdragon?

Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 2, 2018 - 11:45 AM |
Tagged: SoC, octa-core, mobile, Mali-G76, Kirin, Huawei, HiSilicon, gpu, cpu, Cortex-A76, arm, 8-core

Huawei has introduced their subsidiary HiSilicon’s newest mobile processor in the Kirin 980, which, along with Huawei's claim of the world's first commercial 7nm SoC, is the first SoC to use Arm Cortex A76 CPU cores and Arm’s Mali G76 GPU.

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Image credit: The Verge

Huawei is aiming squarely at Qualcomm with this announcement, claiming better performance than a Snapdragon 845 during the presentation. One of its primary differences to the current Snapdragon is the composition of the Kirin 980’s eight CPU cores, notable as the usual 'big.LITTLE' Arm CPU core configuration for an octa-core design gives way to a revised organization with three groups, as illustrated by AnandTech here:

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Image credit: AnandTech

Of the four Cortex A76 cores just two are clocked up to maximize performance with certain applications such as gaming (and, likely, benchmarks) at 2.60 GHz, and the other two are used more generally as more efficient performance cores at 1.92 GHz. The remaining four A55 cores operate at 1.80 GHz, and are used for lower-performance tasks. A full breakdown of the CPU core configuration as well as slides from the event are available at AnandTech.

Huawei claims that the improved CPU in the Kirin 980 results in "75 percent more powerful and 58 percent more efficient compared to their previous generation" (the Kirin 970). This claim translates into what Huawei claims to be 37% better performance and 32% greater efficiency than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845.

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Image credit: AnandTech

The GPU also gets a much-needed lift this year from Arm's latest GPU, the Mali-G76, which features "new, wider execution engines with double the number of lanes" and "provides dramatic uplifts in both performance and efficiency for complex graphics and Machine Learning (ML) workloads", according to Arm.

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Image credit: AnandTech

Real-world testing with shipping handsets is needed to verify Huawei's performance claims, of course. In fact, the results shown by Huawei at the presentation carry a this disclaimer, sourced from today’s press release:

"The specifications of Kirin 980 does not represent the specifications of the phone using this chip. All data and benchmark results are based on internal testing. Results may vary in different environments."

The upcoming Mate 20 from Huawei will be powered by this new Kirin 980 - and could very well provide results consistent with the full potential of the new chip - and that is set for an official launch on October 16.

The full press release is available after the break.

Source: AnandTech