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Huawei’s new Kirin 950 processor joins the CPU elite

Huawei has unveiled its new mobile CPU, the Kirin 950, and its level of performance could give Qualcomm and co. something to think about.

Huawei is the world’s third biggest smartphone manufacturer, according to some sources, but it also has a stake in the semiconductor business.

Up to now, Huawei’s Kirin line of processors has been seen as a lesser option behind several established rivals. It’s been nothing that would trouble the high-end efforts from Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia, and Apple for raw performance.

However, the new Kirin 950 looks set to be a little different. Following Apple’s A9, the 64-bit Kirin 950 is one of the first chips to use TSMC’s 16nm FinFET Plus production process. This means that it’s extremely energy efficient.

Performance is also much improved over previous Huawei chips. The Kirin 950 has an octa-core big.LITTLE set-up, alternating between four Cortex-A72 and four Cortex-A53 cores.

On the graphics side, the Kirin 950 gets bumped up to ARM’s top-level Mali-T880 GPU.

Like the Apple A9, the Kirin 950 will have a co-processor, called the i5, that will take all sensor-based operations off the CPU. This means that the CPU won’t have to constantly wake just to record motion, thus saving precious battery life.

Related: Huawei P9 release date

As Anzhuo (via SlashGear) reports, early AnTuTu benchmark results suggest that the Kirin 950 trumps the almighty Nvidia X1 for performance, and will be more or less on a par with Qualcomm’s forthcoming Snapdragon 820.

Expect to see the Kirin 950 in action inside the Huawei Mate 8, which looks set to be unveiled on November 26.

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