Huawei has officially announced the Kirin 960 SoC with the new ARM Cortex A73 cores and Mali G71 MP8 GPU. This is the company’s newest flagship processor and will possibly power up the upcoming Huawei Mate 9. The newly launched chipset brings a healthy dose of improvements over the previous Kirin 950 and Kirin 955.

The Huawei Kirin 960 houses eight processing cores. The CPU is divided into two clusters with the implementation of the big.LITTLE architecture. The performance oriented cluster has four high-end ARM Cortex A73 cores, while the power efficient one has a quad-core set-up with ARM Cortex A53 processors. Similar to its predecessors, the brand new chip is constructed using the 16 nm manufacturing process.

It is the graphics department which has received most of the improvements. The Kirin 960 sports the octa-core ARM Mali G71 GPU. This is around 180 percent faster and 20 percent energy efficient than the quad-core Mali T880 GPU of the Kirin 950. We presume this will solve one of the most important drawbacks of the Huawei’s HiSilicon chipsets, which is lacklustre graphics performance.

Another notable aspect of the latest Kirin 960 is its ISP (Image Signal Processor). Huawei has stated that the new ISP will bring significant improvements to the dual camera arrangements. This is very interesting as the previous Kirin 950 and Kirin 955 already boast excellent dual camera management. Huawei has possibly added 4K recording capability to the newly unveiled chipset, which has been surprisingly missing all through the company’s previous line-up.


Huawei Kirin 960 natively supports the CDMA network. It is also compatible with an extensive range of 4G LTE spectrums starting from 330 MHz all the way to 3.8 GHz. The SoC comes with an LTE Cat. 12 and Cat. 13 modems featuring the highest download speed of 600 Mb/s and maximum upload speed of 150 Mb/s.The Kirin 960 also supports the latest Vulcan API. The chipset is fully compatible with LPDDR4 RAM and UFS 2.1 storage.

With the latest Cortex A73 cores and Mali G71 MP8 GPU, the Kirin 960 will surely fare a lot better than its predecessors. After the MediaTek Helio X30, this is probably the second chip to house the latest ARM Cortex A73 CPU. This new silicon offers 30 percent more performance than the previous Cortex A72 architecture. While Huawei has not yet mentioned any timeline regarding the availability of the newly launched SoC, speculations suggest that the forthcoming Mate 9 may be the first to sport it. The Huawei Mate 9 is tipped to launch on November 3, 2016.


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