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Posts Tagged ‘big little’

Tronsmart Draco AW80 is an Allwinner A80 Android mini PC with Up to 4GB RAM

October 31st, 2014 16 comments

An Allwinner A80 board for TV boxes / mini PC started to show up in the upcoming Z8C Alice TV box a few weeks ago, and the board, or another one with exactly the same layout, made it into Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta and Telos mini PCs with respectively 2GB RAM/16GB eMMC, and 4GB RAM/32GB eMMC, and selling for $149.99 and $199.99 on GeekBuying.

Tronsmart_AW80_DracoTronsmart Draco AW80 Meta/Telos specifications:

  • 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 – 2GB (Meta), or 4GB (Telos) DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB (Meta) or 32GB (Telos) eMMC + SD card slot + SATA port (via a USB 2.0/3.0 bridge)
  • Video  Output – HDMI 1.4b + AV port
  • Audio – HDMI, AV, and optical S/PDIF
  • (Main) Video Codecs – H.265/VP9 up to 1080p @ 30 fps (software decode?), H.264/VP8 up to 4K2K @ 30fps, 1080p120, or 720p240
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 OTG port (full size), 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Misc – IR receiver
  • Power Supply – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 16.4 x 16.4 x 2.75 cm
  • Weight – 442 grams

Allwinner_A80_TV_Box_Connectors

The box runs a rooted Android 4.4 firmware pre-loaded with XBMC/Kodi, Netflix, Youtube, Hulu Plus, Plex Skype, and supporting OTA updates. Linux (Ubuntu/Fedora?) beta images will be released by the end of November. Draco AW80 is sold with a simple IR remote control, a SATA cable, and HDMI cable, a male to male USB cable (for OTG port), a power adapter, and a user’s manual. Allwinner A80 Antutu scores are usually all over the place, but for reference only, this device manages to get 55,106 points in Antutu 5.1.5. Beside the fast processor, this is only of the rare boxes with fast interface include Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and SATA. The main downside is that the price is very close to competing fanless Intel based mini PCs.

Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta (2GB/16GB) will ship now, but the 4GB RAM version, AW80 Telos is only available for pre-order with shipping scheduled for the end of November. I understand people who purchased Tronsmart Orion R28 Beta may be able to get a $20 discount, and an SDK for the device will be released. However, based on previous experience, the Android SDK is likely to be outdated.

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Samsung Officially Announces Exynos 7 Octa big.LITTLE ARM Cortex A53/A57 Processor

October 16th, 2014 7 comments

Samsung started to commit code related to Exynos 7 processor to mainline kernel in August, but at the time details were scarce, and many tech websites referred to a Exynos 5433 64-bit processor from Samsung. Exynos 5433 for a Cortex A53/A57 SoC did not make much sense as the company recently announced Exynos 5430 based on Cortex A15 and A7 cores, so finally Exynos 5433 has been renamed to Exynos 7 Octa.

Exynos_7_OctaHere’s what we know about Exynos 7 Octa from information on Exynos 7 Octa page and an older Anandtech article about Exynos 5433:

  • CPU – 4x Cortex A57 cores @ 1.9 GHz , 4x Cortex A53 cores @ 1.3 GHz
  • GPU – Mali-T760 @ 700 MHz
  • Memory Controller – 2x 32-bit @ 825MHz (13.2GB/s b/w)
  • Display – Up to WQHD (2560 x 1440) / WQXGA (2560 x 1600) resolutions
  • Video – Advanced multimedia format codec (MFC) including support for H.265/HEVC @ 60 fps
  • Camera – Up to 16 MP 30fps rear camera, Up to 5MP / 30 fps front-facing camera, with dual ISP allowing for simultaneous video recording.
  • Process – 20 nm HKMG

A57 cores are said to provide 57% more performance than the A15 cores found in Exynos 5 Octa processors, whereas. Mali-T760 GPU should deliver up to 74% enhanced graphics performance over Mali-T628 used in Exynos 5 Octa.

Samsung Exynos 7 is used in the international version of the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone.

Via G for Games.

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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.

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A80 OptimusBoard Development Board Pictures and Benchmarks

August 29th, 2014 14 comments

A80 OptimusBoard is a development board featuring the latest AllWinner A80 SoC with 8 ARM Cortex A15/A7 cores in big.LITTLE configuration, and a PowerVR GC6230 GPU. Availability was announced about 2 weeks ago for $345, but partially thanks to reader comments on CNX Software, Merrii Technology decided to lower the price to $169 (and $50+ for shipping) to stay competitive against similar boards such as Hardkernel ODROID-XU3. I’ve now received a sample for evaluation. I won’t go again through the specs, but today I’ll take a few pictures of the board, and provide benchmark results to compare them to the ones I got with Rockchip RK3288. Normally, I would also play with the SDK provided with the board, but sadly (and amazingly), there’s currently no such SDK for A80 OptimusBoard, except a leaked Linux SDK which failed to build with recent tools and operating systems.

A80 OptimusBoard Pictures

I’ve received the board via DHL from WITS Technology in the following package.

A80_OPtimusBoard_PackageInside the package, we’ve got the board itself in a transparent acrylic “enclosure”, a 5V/3A power supply, and a USB to serial cable.

A80 OptimusBoard with Power Supply and Debug Cable (Click to Enlarge)

A80 OptimusBoard with Power Supply and Debug Cable (Click to Enlarge)

I’ve also taken several pictures of the board. The top view shows AllWinner A80 SoC with 4 SKHynix chips for 2GB RAM, an AP6330 Wi-Fi module, and AXP809 PMIC, as well as various header for camera, serial, GPIOs (32 pins), battery, and JTAG. There’s also an IR receiver, and two small buttons for reset and power\ on this side of the board.

Top of A80 OptimusBoard (Click to Enlarge)

Top of A80 OptimusBoard (Click to Enlarge)

One thing that surprised me is that they did not include a heatsink with the board. Normally these kind of board comes with heatsinks and even maybe a fan small to let developers push the performance.

On the back of the board, there’s mostly the 16 GB Samsung eMMC flash, and a micro SD slot.

Bottom of A80 OptimusBoard (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom of A80 OptimusBoard (Click to Enlarge)

Connectors include a USB 3.0 OTG port, HDMI output, two USB 2.0 host ports, the DC jack, an Ethernet port (RJ45), and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Connectors (Click to Enlarge)

Connectors (Click to Enlarge)

A80 OptimusBoard Benchmarks

I’ve connected an HDMI cable between the board and my TV, my air mouse RF dongle, an Ethernet cable, and the power supply to start the board. Boot time takes about 25 seconds.

Click for Original Size

Click for Original Size

I’ve been told the benchmarks may not be as high as for AllWinner A80 tablets. But let’s try anyway. Luckily, Google Play is installed with the firmware, but although I can login and search for apps, clicking on install did nothing. No problem, as I can install them by selecting “No Carrier AllWinner UltraOcta A80 OptimusBoard” on Google Play website.

But before running benchmarks, let’s get some details about AllWinner A80 SoC and the board with CPU-Z.

CPU-Z For AllWinner A80 (Click to Enlarge)

CPU-Z For AllWinner A80 (Click to Enlarge)

Since only some Cortex A7 cores (between 480 MHz and 1.20 GHz), CPU-Z appears to ignore Cortex A15 cores, and wrongly reports eight Cortex A7 cores. The codename of the board is “kylin_optimus”, which may be something useful to know when looking for information. It’s running Android 4.4.2 on top of Linux kernel 3.4.39, and everything have been built in early July. Resolution is 1920×1016, only 1205MB RAM is reported, most probably because some is reserved for the GPU, and some other hardware buffers. There’s 12.82 GB of internal storage.

The first benchmark I ran is Antutu 5, which they released yesterday.

Antutu 5 on A80 OptimusBoard (Click to Enlarge)

Antutu 5 on A80 OptimusBoard (Click to Enlarge)

It gets 33,921 which seems a little low, considering Amlogic S802 (Probox2 EX) got 37,000 with Antutu 5 (Beta), but as mentioned above they have not optimized the current firmware and hardware for performance. I haven’t run Antutu 5 on Rockchip RK3288 devices yet, so I can’t do a direct comparison yet. The firmware is also dated July 3,2014, so some more optimization may have been performed on the firmware since then. Yet no new firmware has been released.

Next… Quadrant benchmark could not run at all, and all I got was a black screen, just like with UyeSee G1H TV Box.

Vellamo worked, but I had to try twice to complete the benchmark.

A80_OptimusBoard_VellamoThe browser score is better on AllWinner A80 (2,308) than with Rockchip RK3288 (2,147), but A80 firmware defaulted to the Chrome browser, whereas UyeSee G1H used the stock Android Browser for this test, so both results can’t be compared. The Metal scores are somewhat similar with 1,287 (A80) and 1,323 (RK3288). Surprisingly, the Multicore (beta) test us much better on the quad core RK3288 (1,972) compared to the eight core A80 (1,340).

A80 Optimus Board Vellamo Multicore Comparison (Click to Enlarge)

A80 OptimusBoard Vellamo Multicore Comparison (Click to Enlarge)

During the tests, I also connected the serial console. Here’s what I got during the multicore test:

[   86.078970] CPU4: shutdown
 [   90.610468] CPU1: Booted secondary processor
 [   91.092528] CPU2: Booted secondary processor
 [   91.592556] CPU3: Booted secondary processor
 [   92.119633] CPU4: Booted secondary processor
 [   94.104631] CPU5: Booted secondary processor
 [   95.105115] CPU6: Booted secondary processor
 [   97.106251] CPU7: Booted secondary processor
 [   98.767201] CPU Budget: Limit state:1 item[1200000,4,1608000,4 0]
 [   98.774392] CPU Budget:update CPU 4 cpufreq max to 1608000 min to 600000
 [  100.591363] CPU7: shutdown
 [  100.917218] CPU Budget: Limit state:0 item[1200000,4,1800000,4 0]
 [  101.106648] CPU6: shutdown
 [  101.578869] CPU5: shutdown
 [  102.069103] CPU3: shutdown
 [  102.578981] CPU2: shutdown
 [  103.594914] CPU5: Booted secondary processor
 [  105.099015] CPU6: Booted secondary processor
 [  107.092366] CPU2: Booted secondary processor

AllWinner A80 cores are booted in sequences. The Cortex A7 cores with 500ms interval, and the first two Cortex A15 are started first in 1 second intervals, and then 2 seconds interval. These delays may explain the lower performance of AllWinner A80 compared to Rockchip RK3288, and are probably done to optimize power consumption, rather than performance. You’ll also notice that when all 8 cores are running the Cortex A15 frequency is limited to 1.6 GHz, and after CPU7 is shutdown, it is re-adjusted to 1.8 GHz. Checking “/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/scaling_governor” show it’s set to “interactive”. so it would probably be possible to get a higher performance, with the CPU governor set to “performance”. I’m not sure how to change the behaviour since “cpupower” does not seem to be available (by default) in Android, and “cpufreq” directory is not available with shutdown cores. Maybe I should study about this, and write my finding in a separate post. Tips are welcome.

I’ve also noticed that running “cat /proc/cpuinfo” will only show the cores that are not shutdown, so during idle time you may just see one core.

AllWinner A80 embeds an Imagination Technologies PowerVR GC6230, which is supposed to provide some decent performance. So I’ve also run “Ice Storm Extreme” tests part of Futuremark’s 3Dmark benchmark.

3DMarks Ice Storm Extreme on A80 Optimus Board (Click to Enlarge)

3DMarks Ice Storm Extreme on A80 Optimus Board (Click to Enlarge)

But yet again, the results are somewhat disappointing, as A80 OptimusBoard got 5,841 points against 7,278 points for Rockchip RK3288, but the main culprits are the Physics score and test which for some reasons are much lower on AllWinner A80. The other scores are similar to Rockchip RK3288.

Finally some Linux benchmarks results. There’s still no Linux distribution available for A80 Optimius Board, but Linuxium ran some tests from the Phoronix test suite in a Linux chroot in Android comparing it to ODROID-U3 (Samsung Exynos 4412), MINIX NEO X8 (Amlogic S802), and Radxa Rock (Rockchip RK3188). These are all ARM Cortex A9 quad core processor, and the AllWinner A80 development board easily outperform these in most test.

A80_Optimus_vs_ODROID-U3_vs_MINIX_NEO_X8_vs_Radxa_Rock_LinuxAll these benchmark results should be taken with grain of salt, as the firmware is rather old, and I’d expect some performance improvement with newer firmware, and CPU governor set to performance.

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AllWinner A80 OptimusBoard Octa-core big.LITTLE Development Board is Now Available … for $169

August 16th, 2014 34 comments

A80 OptimusBoard powered by AllWinner A80 octa-core processor with four Cortex A15 and four Cortex A7 in big.LITTLE configuration had been announced at the end of 2013, and after numerous delays, several boards have recently been sent to developers and companies such as miniNodes, Linuxium, and others. The company behind the board is actually Shenzhen Merrii Technology (aka WITS), which had done all earlier development kits for AllWinner, and they’ve now made the board available for purchase on Aliexpress. Unfortunately the company has decided to leave to low cost development boards market to the likes of Cubieboard8 and PCDuino8, as A80 OptimusBoard sells for $345 plus about $30 for shipping by courier.[Update: they now offer it for $169]

A80 OptimusBoard (Click to Enlarge)

A80 OptimusBoard (Click to Enlarge)

  • SoC – AllWinner Ultra Core A80 4x Cortex 15, 4x Cortex A7 big.LITTLE processor with Imagination Technologies PowerVR GC6230 GPU with 64-cores, and support for OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, Directx 9.3
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND Flash + micro SD card up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a up to 4K30
  • Audio – AC100 Codec, headphone jack
  • Video Playback – UHD/4K H.264/VP8 4Kx2K @ 30 fps
  • Connectivity – Dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 (AP6330), and Gigabit Ethernet (GMAC)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 OTG port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Camera I/F – 16MP MIPI CSI
  • Debugging – UART and JTAG
  • Expansion – 32-pin GPIO header
  • Misc – IR receiver, reset and power LEDs.
  • Power management – AXP806, AXP809 “smart power management specialist”
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A, or battery
  • Dimensions – 135x70mm

The board comes with a power adapter, and a UART to USB cable. The board comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4.2 on top of Linux 3.4.39. So it’s not a device tree capable kernel, allegedly because AllWinner does not have enough good kernel developers… AllWinner promised support for 5 Operating Systems, but AFAIK, only Android has been provided at this stage, so we may need to wait a little longer for Ubuntu, Chrome/Chromium OS, Firefox OS, and Windows.

You can watch the video below for an overview of the board, and they also quickly show a “professional” AllWinner A80 development board.

Via armdevices.net

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Samsung Announces Exynos 5430 SoC, Manufactured with 20nm Process

August 14th, 2014 4 comments

Samsung already have a few octa-core big.LITTLE SoCs part of Exynos 5 Octa family with Exynos 5410, Exynos 5420, and Exynos 5422/5800, all based on 28nm process. The company has just announced a new Exynos 5 Octa processors with Exynos 5430, but this time manufactured using 20nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology providing 25% less power consumption compared to 28nm Exynos SoCs.

Samsung_Exynos_5430

Exynos 5430 SoC will feature four ARM Cortex A15 cores at 1.8 GHz, four Cortex A7 cores at 1.3 GHz, supports WQHD (2560×1440) and WQXGA (2560 x 1600) displays using hibernation display and Mobile Image compression (MIC) in order to lower power consumption. It also said to support HDMI, come with a Multi Format Codec (MFC) supporting HEVC/H.265 decoding, as well as an enhanced dual ISP, and up to 17GB/s of memory bandwidth. That’s about all the information I could get at this point. The CPU core frequencies are lower than Exynos 5422, but the maximum memory bandwidth appears to be higher (17GB/s vs 14.9GB/s), and of course the power consumption is significantly lower. It will also be found in the recently announced Galaxy Alpha smartphone.

More details should eventually surface on Samsung Exynos 5430 page.

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ARM and Qualcomm Release a New Guide About 32-bit to 64-bit SoCs

July 30th, 2014 1 comment

ARM and Qualcomm have been pretty successful with ARMv7 SoCs in the mobile space in recent years, and while 32-bit ARM (Aarch32) processors certainly have a few more years, both companies are now moving to 64-bit ARM (Aarch64 / ARMv8), and they released a document showing what has been achieved with ARMv7, the differences between ARMv7 and ARMv8, and new capabilities that will be attainable with 64-bit processing.

Aarch32 vs Aarch64

Aarch32 vs Aarch64

The document covers the following:

ARM vs x86 vs Architecture Indepent Code for 100 Top Apps in Google Play (US)

ARM vs x86 vs Architecture Independent Code for 100 Top Apps in Google Play (US)

  • Introduction
  • ARM Business Model
  • The Mobile Computing Revolution (Tablets replacing Laptops)
  • Android on ARMv7-A and ARMv8-A
  • ARMv8-A Architecture
  • Backward Compatibility to ARMv7-A
  • ARM Cortex A-53 and Cortex-A57
  • ARM big.LITTLE Technology
  • The Transition to the ARMv8-A Architecture (Fast Models, Tools, Linaro…)
  • Qualcomm Technologies: Transitioning to 64-Bit with Integrated Mobile Design
  • Custom and ARM Designed Processors: The Right Technology to Any Market
  • Multiple Foundries, Flexible Production
  • Flexible design practices in action (Performance, price point, development time. Snapdragon 410 vs 610 vs 810)
  • Conclusion

Both companies clearly promote their respective products via this document, but there are lots of interesting details such as Intel vs ARM optimized apps in Google Play, perfomance of A57 vs A15, A53 vs A7, side-by-side comparison between 32-bit and 64-bit ARM architectures, and so on. If you want to get the details, you can download the 20-page presentation entitled “ARM and Qualcomm- Enabling the Next Mobile Computing Revolution with Highly Integrated ARMv8-A based SoCs“.

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