Archive

Posts Tagged ‘allwinner’

AllWinner A80 Octa Core big.LITTLE Processor CPU Usage Under Various Loads in Android 4.4 (Video)

November 23rd, 2014 4 comments

Allwinner A80 is one of the few octa core processors featuring ARM’s big.LITTLE technology currently available on the market. The processor comes with four ARM Cortex A15 (big) cores, and four ARM Cortex A7 (LITTLE) core, and tasks will be scheduled to different processor depending on the load to optimize power consumption on mobile devices. However, earlier big.LITTLE processors like Samsung Exynos 5410 has some serious limitations, as they only supported “cluster migration” meaning you could only use the Cortex A7 cluster or Cortex A15 cluster at any given time, so Exynos 5410 could only make use of four cores at most due to hardware limitations. They also used to be two software implementations: In-kernel Switching (IKS) and Global Task Scheduling (GTS). The former could only handle one type of core at the same, and the latter, which I believe is now used in all new devices, can handle any combination of cores, so an octa core big.LITTLE SoC can indeed make use of all its eight cores.

Antutu_3D_CPU_Usage
To make sure it was the case with Allwinner A80 SoC, I did a little test using PVRMonitor app on Tronsmart Draco AW80 mini PC. I did this test to check all eight cores can be used, and to see which cores and how many cores are used for various loads such as multi-tab web browsing and gaming. The scheduler was set to Performance with No-frills CPU Control app.

I’ve run Antutu, the Android stock Browser with multiple tabs open, and Beach Buggy Blitz 3D racing games in the video above. The takeaway for this short test is that Allwinner A80 can run its eight cores simultaneously, but in typical use, it’s rare to see more than four cores used simultaneously. I forgot to include video playback in the video, so I tried to play 4K videos and H.265 videos with Kodi 14, and normally (hardware video decoding) only two Cortex A15 are used (around 30% per core),  and when software video decoding is needed (H.265), at most four cores are used, so it looks like Kodi has not been optimized yet to make full use of octa systems, at least on Allwinner A80.

So in Android mini PCs, there’s usually very little gain from an octa core processor instead of a quad core processor, unless you run apps that can make use of all cores such as video transcoding apps, or you want it convert it into a Linux mini PC to compile software or run a server.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Android 5.0 Lollipop Coming to Allwinner A33 & A80, Rockchip RK3288, and More…

November 17th, 2014 8 comments

I can often see questions requesting whether SoC XYZ will support Android 5.0 Lollipop. The good news is that last week, I’ve read lots of news about Android 5.0 support on various devices including Nvidia Shield tablet, Motorola G & X smartphones, and of course the Google Nexus devices. A developer (Nanik T.) also ported Android Lollipop to ODROID U3 development board based on Exynos 4412, and he mentioned that “porting was pretty straight forward as KK and 5.0 does not have a lot of differences in terms of HAL”, which means there’s hope for more recent devices and SoCs getting the update.

Rockchip_RK3288_LollipopChinese SoC vendors are also getting the word out that they are working on Android 5.0. Rockchip announced Lollipop support for RK3288 processor (original news in Chinese) probably coming to tablets first, and Android TV boxes later. They used their reference platforms in the provided pictures, and did not publish ETA for public availability.

Allwinner also showcased Android 5.0 on an Allwinner A33 tablet (see embedded video below), and I’ve been told Android 5.0 and Chrome OS would soon be released for Android A80 too.

XDA Developers also reported some other smartphones got the Lollipop treat.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

How-to Install Ubuntu on Allwinner A80 Powered pcDuino8 and A80 OptimusBoard

November 17th, 2014 5 comments

Last month, pcDuino released Android 4.4 and Ubuntu images for pcDuino8 board powered by Allwinner A80 octa core processor, and since it’s the same board layout as A80 OptimusBoard, I decided to try it out, but it failed as the update script would try to flash it to a partition that’s too small for the root file systems. But last week, Ian Morrison and Minidodes gave it another try, and successfully booted Ubuntu, or more exactly Lubuntu, on A80 OptimusBoard.

Lubuntu Screenshot in A80 OptimusBoard

Lubuntu Screenshot in A80 OptimusBoard

Both their screenshot reports sun9i platform in /proc/cpuinfo, so that’s definitely Allwinner A80, but only one core is shown. I’m not sure if it’s because the other are idled and don’t show, or for some reasons, the kernel only supports one core at this stage.

Anyway, here’s how they did to install Lubuntu:

  • Flash the kernel (pcduino8_kernel_livesuit_20141008.img) with PhoenixCard or Livesuit first. See instructions to use Livesuit with A80 OptimusBoard.
  • Extract the rootfs (pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.rar) to an SD card or USB flash drive. There should be two files: pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.img and update.sh.
  • Boot the board, but don’t insert the SD card or USB flash drive yet.
  • update.sh script will attempt to copy the rootfs to /dev/nandd, but there’s not even space, so it will fail. So instead login as root (no password) and kill update.sh: ps ax | grep update, kill “pid”.
  • Now connect the mass storage device to pcDuino3 / A80 Optimusboard, and mount it to /mnt
  • Flash the Ubuntu image to /dev/mmcblk0p1:
    dd if=pcduino8_ubuntu_20141008.img of=/dev/mmcblk0p1 bs=1M
    sync
  • Now reboot the board and interrupt the boot sequence to enter U-boot, and use ‘env’ to change the bootargs with mmc_root to /dev/mmcblk0p1 and init to /sbin/init.
  • Save the environment with env save, and boot the board to start Ubuntu.

I have not tried (yet), since I’m busy with other hardware, so let me know if the instructions above need improvement. [Update: the procedure may depend on the Android firmware / flash partition, as described in the comments section]

On a side note, Merrii released some new SDKs for A10, A20, A31, and A80.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Allwinner H64 based Nobel64 Could the First Affordable 64-bit ARM Development Board

October 13th, 2014 10 comments

Based on the comments I read on this blog many people are early waiting for 64-bit ARM boards. There are already ARMv8 server boards by Applied Micro, AMD and others, but these cost several thousand dollars and are not sold to individuals, and ARM recently launched Juno development board, but it should be well over the budget of most hobbyists too. But the wait may soon be over, as Padnews found out Allwinner and Merrii Technology showcased Nobel64 development board powered by a yet to be announced Allwinner H64 64-bit ARM SoC at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair.

Low_Cost_64-bit_ARM_development_board

Nobel64 development board specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H64 quad core 64-bit ARM processor, most probably based on Cortex A53 cores.
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC + micro SD card slot
  • Video / Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 + AV port.
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports (Including on OTG port)
  • Camera – Camera connector (below 3814 marking on the pic) for 5MP sensor
  • Expansion – 2x headers
  • Power Supply – N/A
  • Dimensions – 118 x 70 cm

Allwinner SoC roadmap published about a year ago mentioned an Octa-core 64-bit processor (A9X) for Q4 2015, so there must have been changes in their plan, and the company decided to speed up their 64-bit roadmap. Allwinner have A-series (Application), V-series (Automotive Video (camera)), and H-series (Home Entertainment?) processor families, so H64 could be specifically designed for TV boxes and game consoles, just like the recently announced Allwinner H8 processor. Having said that, Allwinner claims “Nobel64 board is suitable for development projects such as tablets, OTT boxes, notebooks, digital signage and AIOs, etc.” The board will support Android L.

The company has not released any pricing or availability information, but based on the features, and PCB dimensions, I would  expect the board to cost a couple hundred dollars at most.

Via Tom Cubie

Update: I’ve received an email from Allwinner with an explanation for different series:

A series processors are used for mobile applications, mainly referring to tablet application here;
H for “Homlet”, mainly used in home entertainment applications, including smart OTT boxes, HDMI mini PCs, gaming boxes, etc;
V for video-related applications, including video surveillance, automotive DVR, etc;
F series are processors based on Allwinner’s melis OS, mainly used in smart video radios, video MP5, etc;

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Allwinner A80 Android TV Boxes Coming Soon, Starting with Zero Devices Z8C Alice

October 12th, 2014 18 comments

Allwinner A80 based tablets such as Onda V989, and development boards such as A80 OptimusBoard started to ship one to two months ago, but there was absolutly no news about Android mini PCs / media player based on the latest Allwinner processor. This is about to change as ZeroDevices twitted about their Z8C Alice TV Box, apparently designed by Sunchip, and in collaboration with a UK based digital signage company called Eclipse Digital Media.

Zero_Devices_Z8C_AlicePreliminary technical specifications that we can infer from the picture above:

  • SoC – AllWinner Ultra Core A80 4x Cortex 15, 4x Cortex A7 big.LITTLE processor with Imagination Technologies PowerVR GC6230 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, Directx 9.3
  • System Memory – N/A
  • Storage – ?? GB eMMC + SD card slot + SATA port (most probably via a USB 2.0/3.0 bridge)
  • Video  Output – HDMI + AV port
  • Audio – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, probably Bluetooth too
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 OTG port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver (not soldered on the picture above).
  • Power Supply – N/A
  • Dimensions – N/A

There’s a header at the back of the picture that might be used to connect a small board with for power button, and/or LEDs (TBC). The four through holes very close to the power barrel and S/PDIF connector is most likely the UART pins. Zero Devices also started a thread on Freaktab, where they posted a picture with showing the device get 54,253 points in Antutu. For some reasons, Antutu scores reported with devices and boards powered by Allwinner A80 have varied a lot from just a little over 30,000 to 65,000 depending on the firmware used, so any score should be taken with a grain of salt.

Pricing and availability are unknown at this stage.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Allwinner H8 Octa-core Processor is Designed for Game Consoles and OTT Boxes

October 10th, 2014 7 comments

Allwinner Technology has just introduced its new octa-core H8 System on Chip (SoC) for “high-end” gaming consoles and video OTT (over-the-top) boxes, right before the Hong Kong Electronics Fair taking place on October 13-16. The processor feature eight Cortex A7 cores clocked at up to 2.0 GHz, coupled with Imagination Technology PowerVR SGX544 GPU @ 700 MHz with support for OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1, OpenCL 1.1 APIs. 

Allwinner_logoOther key features includes:

  • Multi-format 1080p@60fps video processing including H.265/HEVC codec.
  • HDMI video output up to 1080P@60fps, with HDCP 2.0 support; support HDMI CEC
  • Integrated 8M image signal processor
  • USB – USB Host, and USB dual-role interfaces
  • Gigabit Ethernet MAC
  • Three SD/MMC controllers
  • SmartColor technology to deliver higher image quality and better visual effects
  • Manufactured with 28nm HPC (High-Performance Compact) process by TSMC.

We don’t have the full details, but it does look very similar to Allwinner A83T announced last month, but except of focusing on tablets, H8 focuses on Android TV boxes and game consoles. Interestingly, they’ve chosen not to include 4K UHD support in their SoC.

OTT boxes powered by Allwinner H8 are scheduled to hit the market in Q4 2014. That schedule might be a little optimistic, since H8 devices are still nowhere to be seen on Alibaba, or anywhere else on the web for that matter.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Linux 3.17 Released

October 9th, 2014 5 comments

Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux Kernel 3.17 on Sunday:

So the past week was fairly calm, and so I have no qualms about releasing 3.17 on the normal schedule (as opposed to the optimistic “maybe I can release it one week early” schedule that was not to be).

However, I now have travel coming up – something I hoped to avoid when I was hoping for releasing early. Which means that while 3.17 is out, I’m not going to be merging stuff very actively next week, and the week after that is LinuxCon EU…

What that means is that depending on how you want to see it, the 3.18 merge window will either be three weeks, or alternatively just have a rather slow start. I don’t mind getting pull requests starting now (in fact, I have a couple already pending in my inbox), but I likely won’t start processing them for a week.

Anyway, back to 3.17. Nothing major happened during the last week, as you can see from the appended shortlog. Mostly drivers (i915, nouveau, ethernet, scsi, sound) and some networking fixes. With some misc noise all over.

Go out and test,

Linus

Kernel 3.16 added Nouveau drivers for GK20A GPU (Tegra K1), ARM64/EFI boot, improved support for Xen, KVM, EFI, NFS, as well as various changed to networking, and more…  Some noticeable changes for Linux 3.17:

  • Gamepads – Added Microsoft Xbox One controller support, improvements to Sony SIXAXIS support
  • Toshiba “Active Protection Sensor” support which stops your harddrive from spinning when the accelerator detects your laptop is in free fall…
  • “Cross-thread filter setting” for secure computing facility:
        int seccomp(unsigned int operation, unsigned int flag, const char *args);
    

    See manpage for details.

  • Enhanced AMD Radeon R9 290 support
  • Miscellaneous Nouveau driver improvements, including Kepler GPU fixes

New features and improvements specific to the ARM architecture include:

  • AllWinner
    • A10/A20 – IR driver
    • A31 – PIO/R_PIO external interrupts, DMAengine, GMAC
    • A23: Timers, UARTs, initial bringup, Basic clocks,  PIO/R_PIO drivers
    • New boards: ba10-tvbox; Merrii A31 Hummingbird; pcDuino V3
  • Rockchip
    • Enabled RK3288 SoC support
    • Added RK3xxx I2S controller, RK3288 clock controller, RK3066 and RK3188 clock driver.
    • Added RK3288 evaluation boards
  • Added basic support for Mediatek MT6589 SoCs
  • NEON implementation of crypto algorithms (SHA1; SHA512).
  • Marvell Kirkwood now fully “device tree-ified”, mach-kirkwood directory deleted
  • Added APM X-Gene SoC ethernet driver support.
  • Various changes for Broadcom BCM7xxx STB SoCs, Fresscale i.MX, Samsung Exynos & S5PV210, Nvidia Tegra, Renesas SH and TI AM43xx SoCs.
  • ARM64 / ARMv8 – Added 48-bit adress space, CONFIG_CC_STACKPROTECTOR (GCC’s -fstack-protector), audit support, and context tracking

I’ve also been asked about MIPS changes last time, so here it is:

  • Add Loongson-3B support
  • Add NUMA support for Loongson-3
  • BCM47XX: Detect more then 128 MiB of RAM (HIGHMEM)
  • BCM47XX: add Microsoft MN-700 and Asus WL500G
  • Support CPU topology files in sysfs
  • kernel: cpu-probe: Add support for the HardWare Table Walker
  • perf: Add hardware events for P5600

Further details on Linux 3.17 changes will soon be available on Kernelnewbies.org. For more details about ARM changes, remember to also check ARM architecture and drivers sections.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter