9Tripod (九鼎创展) has just launched X3399 system-on-module powered by Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core Cortex A72/A53 processor, and as well as a corresponding development board for people wanted to get started quickly before designing their own baseboard.
Click to Enlarge
X3399 core board preliminary specifications:
SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with two ARM Cortex A72 cores up to 2.0 GHz, four Cortex A53 cores, and a ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU with OpenGL 1.1 to 3.1 support, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL and DX 11 support
System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 (2x Samsung K4E8E304EE-EGCF)
9Tripod does have a forum in English, but the company provides most of the information in Chinese. I could not find details about Linux or Android images and source code, except a few mentions of Linux Qt, Ubuntu, and Android OS on a WIP Wiki, and that the bootloader used is xboot open source bootloader managed by 9Tripod community. There are some PDF documents with more details, but I failed to download them even after registration. If somebody could download them, and re-uploaded them somewhere, it would be appreciated.
Click to Enlarge
The company also provides X399BV1 development board with the RK3399 system-on-module soldered on, and the following (preliminary) specifications:
Storage – micro SD card
Video Output / Display IF – HDMI 2.0, 2x MIPI DSI connector, 1x MIPI DSI dual connector
Audio – Via HDMI, optical S/PDIF 3.5mm headphone jack, left and right speaker headers, 2x on-board microphones
Camera – MIPI CSI connector, CIF camera connector
Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, Ampak AP6354 wireless module with 802.11 n/g/n/ac WiFi 2x2MIMO, and Bluetooth 4.1 LE, micro SIM slot
USB – 1x USB type C port, 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 host ports.
Serial- DB9 RS-232 port, TTL UART connector
Misc – Buttons, RTC + battery slot
The specifications above have been derived from the board’s photos only. I could not figure the two “connectors” on the bottom of the board are for. An IO header appears to be completely missing from the board, a big omission for a “development” board.
We will the first hardware platforms shipping with a Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor later this month and in March, with Firefly-RK3399 development board, and various TV boxes / mini PCs such as Vorke Z3,Yundoo Y8, and Remix IO+. Another option is “R-TV BOX K99” with 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.1ac WiFi… that’s currently up for pre-order on GeekBuying for $139.99, and scheduled to ship in 3 days.
R-TV BOX K99 specifications:
SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz, 4x ARM Cortex A53 cores, Mali-T860MP4 GPU @ 800 MHz with support for OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL, DX11, AFBC (frame buffer compression)
Video Codecs – 4K 10-bit H.265, H.264 & VP9 decoding up to 60 fps
Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi (867 Mbps) + Bluetooth 4.0
USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB type C port with OTG mode, and DisplayPort 1.2 video/audio support
Misc – Power button, recovery port
Power Supply – 5V/2.5A
Dimensions & Weight – N/A
K99 runs Android 6.0 operating system, and ship with a power adapter, an IR remote control, a HDMI cable, and a user’s manual.
Please note that Rockchip RK3399 is not a TV box SoC, and lacks the latests features like HDR, and HD audio (TrueHD / DTS HD) pass-through is not guaranteed to work. However, you’ll still be able to watch most videos, and performance will be much better than previous generations leading to smoother games, and faster web browsing and general user experience. From that point of view, Rockchip RK3388 boxes might be seen as Android mini PCs, rather than TV boxes focusing on the best AV experience. We’ll have to see what the first reviews reveal to find out.
We’ve been waiting for Rockchip RK3399 TV boxes for a long time since the processor was first unveiled in January of last year, and the good news is that the first RK3399 TV box has now been launched (sort of), as you can pre-order Yundoo Y8 for $110.73 shipped with shipping planed for early March Yundoo Y8 specifications:
SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz, 4x ARM Cortex A53 cores
System Memory – 2 or 4GB DDR3
Storage – 16 or 32 GB eMMC flash + SD card slot
Video Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz
Video Codecs – 4K H.265 & VP9 decoding
Audio Output – HDMI, optical S/PDIF
Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0
USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB type C port with data and video support
Misc – Power button, recovery port
Power Supply – 5V
Dimensions – 11.60 x 11.60 x 2.35 cm
Weight – 290 grams
The device will run Android 6.0, and ship with a power adapter, an IR remote control, a HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English.
Note that it’s unlikely you’ll experience better video playback with RK3399 TV box, but if you are using it as a mini PC, you should experience much better performance while browsing the web, playing games, and so on.
Beside the 2GB/16GB version going for $110.73, you can pre-order the 4GB/32GB version for $144.17 on the same link [Update: coupon GBYDY8 brings that down to $129.99]. A few more 3D renderings can be found on Yundoo Y8 product page.
Acer Chromebook R13 was unveiled in September as one of the first 64-bit ARM Chromebook. Based on Mediatek MT8173C quad core Cortex A72/A53 processor with 4GB RAM, the “Chromebook” now ships in three variants running either Chrome OS as expected, but also Windows 10 Home.
All three models share the same specifications, except for storage and operating system options:
SoC – Mediatek M8173C quad core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.1 GHz, 2x ARM Cortex A53 cores, and a PowerVR GX6250 GPU
Acer Chromebook R13 is the most powered ARM Chromebook so far thanks to its Mediatek MT8173 quad core processor combining two ARM Cortex A72 cores and Cortex A53 cores, as well as a PowerVR GX6250 GPU, 4GB RAM and a 13.3″ touchscreen display. But unless you live in the US or other markets where Chromebooks are sold, it’s pretty hard to buy, and that model is relatively expensive as it sells for close to $550 on Amazon. Emdoor, a Chinese design house, has made 2-in-1 hybrid laptops based on the processor with a 11.6″ or 13.3″ touchscreen display, 1 to 2GB RAM, and 16 to 64GB storage, which – once launched – should be easier to buy, and cost less.
Both EM-T8513 and EM-T8516 models share most of the same specifications, except for the display:
SoC – Mediatek MT8173 quad core processor with 2x Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz, 2x Cortex A53 cores, and a PowerVR GX6250 GPU
EM-T8516 – 11.6” IPS LCD screen with 1366 x 768 resolution, 10-points capacitive touchscreen
EM-T8513 – 13.3” IPS LCD screen with 1920 x 1200 or 1366 x 768 resolution, 10-points capacitive touchscreen
Video Output – mini HDMI port
Audio – mini HDMI port, 3.5mm combo audio jack,
Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS via MT6630 chipset
USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port
Camera – 2MP front-facing camera
Sensor – G-sensor
User Input – QWERTY keyboard and touchpad
Battery – 10,000 mAh; good for a typical 6 to 7 hours on EM-T8516 model
Power Supply – 5V/2.5A
Dimensions & Weight
EM-T8516 – 297.5 x 202 x 17.5mm – 1340 grams
EM-T8513 – 330 x 227.7 x 18.9mm – 1480 grams
The laptops run Android 6.0 by default, but Jide’s Remix OS can also be installed instead.
If you are interested in Linux, you could try to adapt the instructions to install ArchLinux ARM on Acer Chromebook R13 to Emdoor laptops. The instructions are relying on Chrome OS, but you’d have to handle it from Android instead, so there will be differences.
Pricing and availability information have not been disclosed yet. You may be able to find more details via Emdoor’s products page (N.B: It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to load a page for me).
I was expecting devices based on Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor to launch by the end of this year, that is about right now, but finally it looks like products will only start the show by the end of Q1 2017, as Firefly-RK3399 development board is scheduled to ship to backers in March 2017, while GeekBuying has started teasing us with their Vorke Z3 TV box powered by Rockchip RK3399 with 4GB RAM slated to launch in February 2017.
Vorke Z3 preliminary specifications:
SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core processor with 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores at up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex A53 cores, and an ARM Mali-T860MP4 GPU
System Memory – 4GB LPDDR3
Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, external SATA interface (hopefully implemented via the PCIe interface), micro SD slot
Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi up to 1200 Mbps (300 Mpbs + 867 Mbps)
USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB type C port (for data and power external devices?)
Misc – IR receiver, mechanical power switch
Power Supply – TBD
Dimension & Weight – TBD
The box will run Android 6.0, and currently gets about 72,500 points in Antutu 6.x with 16,519 points for 3D graphics, 25,805 points for UX, 25,905 points for CPU, and 4254 points for RAM tests. There’s hope a good Linux support on Rockchip RK3399, as Google and Rockchip are working on RK3399 Chromebooks, actively committing code to mainline kernel, and Firefly has ported Ubuntu 16.04 to their RK3399 development board with 3D graphics acceleration, and hardware video decoding is coming.
Price has now been announced yet, but for reference, Firefly-RK3399 development board with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage is now offered with all accessories for $199 on Kickstarter, and Remix IO+ TV Box also sells with 4GB/32GB configuration sells for $139 shipped, so I’d expect Vorke Z3 to sell for about the same price.
Firefly-RK3399 is the first, and for now the only one, development board equipped with the latest Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core Cortex A72 & A53 processor. It’s just not available yet, but the board has now been launched on Kickstarter where it is offered for $139 to $199 depending on options.
Firefly-RK3399 board specifications:
SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with dual core ARM Cortex A72 up to 2.0 GHz and quad core Cortex A53 processor with ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU with OpenGL 1.1 to 3.1 support, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL and DX 11 support
1x mini PCIe for LTE, 1x PCIe 2.1 M.2 slot B-key (2x PCIe, SATA, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HSIC, SSIC, Audio, UIM, I2C)
SIM card slot
Misc – RTC battery header; power & user LEDs; power, reset and recovery buttons; IR receiver
Power Supply – 12V/2A DC (5.5×2.1mm barrel connector)
Dimensions – 12.4 x 9.3 mm (8-layer PCB)
Weight – Board: 89 grams; board + cooling fan and heatsink: 120 grams
The company will provide Android 6.0.1 and Ubuntu 16.04 firmware images for the board, including a dual boot image. There are also work-in-progress documentation and placeholder links to Android SDK and schematics in the product page which will hopefully soon link to the actual documents and files, as well as a work-in-progress Wiki. It may also be worth monitoring the company’s Github account.
The company aims to raise $50,000 from the crowdfunding campaign, and you’d have to pledge $139 to get “Firefly-RK3399 Development Kit” with 2GB RAM, and 16GB flash together with a 12V/2A power adapter, a USB Type C adapter, a USB to UART serial board, a USB cable, and a a cooling fan (I assume with an heatsink). After the 50 first pieces, the price goes up to $159, and if you want the “Plus development kit” with 4GB RAM and 32GB flash, you’d need to pledge $199 instead. Shipping adds $5 to $30 depending on the destination country, and delivery is planned for March 2017.
Mediatek has just announced upgrades to their Helio X20 and X25 deca-core processors with respectively Helio X23 and X27 boasting higher CPU and GPU frequencies, higher camera quality, as well as lower power consumption thanks to MiraVision EnergySmart Screen power-saving technology.
Click to Enlarge
The two new processor still feature MediaTek tri-cluster deca-core architecture with two ARM Cortex A72 cores, four ARM Cortex A53 core, and 4 more low power Cortex A53 cores, but Helio X23 Cortex A72 cores’ max CPU frequency increased from 2.1 GHz to 2.3 GHz, and Helio X27 got a small boost to 2.6 GHz for the Cortex A72 cores (vs 2.5 GHz) and 1.6 GHz for the low power Cortex A53 cluster, as well as a higher frequency ARM Mali-T880 MP4 GPU at 875 MHz instead of 850 MHz for Helio X25.
MediaTek Helio X23 and X27 also support dual camera photography with the upgraded MediaTek Imagiq image signal-processing solution integrating color and mono cameras and depth-of-field applications into a single ISP.
MiraVision EnergySmart Screen technology modifies the display parameters based on the on-screen content and ambient light in order to deliver up to 25% reduction in display power consumption. The processors also integrate an Envelope Tracking Module dynamically adjusting the output voltage based on signal strength from the power amplifier for an average of 15% reduction in power consumption during peak output.
The company did not give any specific availability for smartphones powered by MediaTek Helio X23 and X27, except it will be available “soon”. You’ll find a few more details on Mediatek Helio X20 series product page.