A80 OptimusBoard Features AllWinner Octa-Core big.LITTLE SoC

Allwinner is currently at CES 2014 showcasing their latest Octa-core A80 SoC, and corresponding  development board, the A80 OptimusBoard. Apart from the picture below, there were very little details for the initial announcement, but we now know, the board comes with 2 GB RAM, 8 GB NAND flash, and other features of the board, as well as the company behind the GPU in AllWinner A80.

AllWinner A80 Development Board (Click to Enlarge a bit)
AllWinner A80 Development Board (Click to Enlarge a bit)

A80 OptimusBoard specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner Ultra Core A80 4x Cortex 15, 4x Cortex A7 big.LITTLE processor with an unnamed Imagination Technologies PowerVR GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB NAND Flash
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4a
  • Connectivity – Dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Ethernet (GMAC)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 OTG HIC, 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Audio codec – AC100 Codec
  • Camera I/F – 12MP MIPI CSI
  • Debugging – UART and JTAG
  • Expansion – 32-pin GPIO header
  • Misc – IR receiver, reset and power LEDs.
  • Power management – AXP806, AXP809
  • Power Supply – DC IN (5V?), and battery
  • Dimensions – 135x70mm

So AllWinner A80 features a PowerVR GPU from Imagination Technologies, most probably one of PowerVR Series 6 GPUs (G6xxx) compliant with OpenGL 3.0 and OpenCL 1.x. This will probably disappoint a few people that hoped for Mali GPU in order to get better support in Linux.

That’s all I know for now, and I could not find details about supported operating systems, although Android is a given (Kitkat?), the company may also have decided to support one or more Linux distributions. Price information is not available either.

Via 1pad.cn

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Diego.
Diego.
6 years ago

Oh no. Not PowerVR again!

m][sko
6 years ago

PowerVR has drivers for Linux.
Look at beaglebone. They use TI with PowerVR.

Mali don’t have fully working opensource drivers.
We are still force to use binary blobs.

And PowerVR is much faster than Mali

passante
passante
6 years ago

Still no SATA port…

Rafael duarte
Rafael duarte
6 years ago

Good choice power vr they maybe find out all the driver problems,better than Mali and keeping the low as I said before,this is different with rock chip about GPU.

Noloqoq
Noloqoq
6 years ago

@Rafael duarte
Since the time powerVR exists, the bugs are generally not patched, and the linux support is the worst of all the existing GPU on earth. Look at early series of eeePC and other devices using them…

Rafael duarte
Rafael duarte
6 years ago

I don’t think that imagination technology are going to be behind in this competition, they are the leader in this platform, Mobil device,way Intel use their technology and apple still using. Mali its young and getting into.
The problems is Android os still young and far to get in this competition about GPU hardware acceleration, GPU compute,Linux
Driver and others if Google want to that,all is just software, they are companies working on this matter.
Android kit kat nothing mentioned about this,some peoples,says its going in the next version

Marius
Marius
6 years ago

Oh no, not PowerVR 🙁 With Mali at least there was hope with the Lima driver even though it’s not fully working but with PoweVR you’re pretty much doomed.
And no, PowerVR is not faster than Mali, the new Mali GPU as really fast, just look that the new Rockchip announce here on CNX.
Anyway I’ll probably grab one to use as a server so I don’t care about the GPU but SATA would be really nice.

Noloqoq
Noloqoq
6 years ago

@Rafael duarte No, PowerVR isn’t the leader, the leaders are Nvidia with Tegra and Snapdragon with Ardreno in term of performances. Closed source official mali driver (and ARM open source X11 driver) are not really optimized, some have already proven this. Open source driver, are not complet, but are alredy faster and should be a gage of stability. No hope of stability with PowerVR drivers, and some opensource hackers that tried to develop Opensource PowerVR have a really negative vision of the thing. There is only two GPU with fully closed driver and zero open source driver, the IT PowerVR… Read more »

Ian Tester
6 years ago

All mobile GPU makers are pretty bad when it comes to OpenGL support in their proprietary drivers:
https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/2013/09/26/dolphin-emulator-and-opengl-drivers-hall-fameshame/

Which is why open source drivers in Mesa/Gallium3D are so important.

At least the Lima project has made a pretty good start at an open driver for Mali. The Freedreno project for Adreno is doing even better – there’s code in the master git branches of Mesa and libdrm. And etnaviv for Vivante seems to be slowly doing something. But there’s nothing for PowerVR, as far as I know.

Noloqoq
Noloqoq
6 years ago

And as far I know, Intel thrown IT PowerVR and replaced them by their own GPU since at least 1 or 2 years, and their own GPU is serveral time faster, but also consume several time the electric power of ARM plarforms, so they are not adapted at all to the ~5W ARM SoCs devices world.

Rafael duarte
Rafael duarte
6 years ago

Good or bad as open source, while they are doing a good and decent hardware with the right software implementation in different platform support is OK to me, look for apple and windows. But I like open source. As far I search and read; Windows driver support OK we know,own platform Windows mobile driver don’t know but I think OK Android driver (Linux) no good, up top Google Intel: windows and Linux support driver,with Linux ok (open source). Amd: good hardware and software implementation drivers no good Linux support (android) Nvidia: good hardware and software implementation driver for windows (x86)… Read more »

Rafael duarte
Rafael duarte
6 years ago

Thanks for the information. Question: So reverse engineering done to the GPU/VPU in allwinner soc,maybe the key for hardware acceleration and GPU compute. Allwinner use Mali in their own technology gpu/VPU xcedarus,because Mali doest no support video decoder,that’s why allwinner it’s using power vr as GPU for the video decode engine. So far the emulation no bad compared to other Chinese soc , some people says about arcade emulation games some, Mali OK, Power vr too,about android high resolution games, Mali no good and power vr OK. Arm bought united 3d engine game software platform for Mali,and some video looks… Read more »

The Cageybee
The Cageybee
6 years ago

AFAIK PowerVR does no video decoding either. It’s a 2D/3D GPU. Not a VPU.

LeoKesler
6 years ago

@Ian Tester

Etna_viv is almost stalled. The author was asking for help, but no one is able (or want) to help with GC2000 (wandboard quad and others) development.

After wandboard (freescale / vivante etc…) graphics hell, my respect for opensource drivers have greatly enhanced.

(sorry for my bad english).

Harley
Harley
6 years ago

I hate PowerVR for their bad Linux support, and their attitude against open source

Kevin
Kevin
6 years ago

Apple must be really dumb to go with PowerVR if they are so bad.

Apple tablets must be really slooooow.

Xev
Xev
6 years ago

@Kevin
You got the money, then PoverVR is talking to you.
But no hobbyist or non-fortune500 company has that sort of cash, so PowerVR is absolute shit for hobbyists or budding companies.

Alexandru Voica
Alexandru Voica
6 years ago

Hi, I’d like to start by thanking you all for your feedback. It’s important for us to understand your issues and requirements; let me assure you we are listening and doing our best to address them. I would also like to take this opportunity to address some your comments and provide some resources for developers looking to build custom ROMs or use our open source binary drivers (yes, we have them just like everyone else) for their projects. Let’s start with some clarifications on the driver side first. – PowerVR reference platforms for driver development are Linux-based, and always have… Read more »

Ryan Houdek
6 years ago
Falcon1
Falcon1
6 years ago

@Alexandru Voica Nice comment, But, Where are the UM drivers for the Atom processors? And it was nor Imagination Nor Itel who released a proper KMS driver: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTUzMjU Besides Phoronix is littered with teasers from Imagination that opensource drivers are going to available. Haven’t seen any. But if there is OSS support now… good for you and hopefully us too. But that doesn’t mean older statements are untrue from now on. Your OSS support has been crappy, period. Please don’t forget that once your hardware is released without open drivers, it’s your responsibility to release updated, UM, drivers for new… Read more »

Rafael duarte
Rafael duarte
6 years ago

God lord We have imagination technology attentation,the other part and us,good CNX I like to says everything is valid,but all depending for the way that all we see,means,that me as costumer,we as a community even trying to do something good for us,themselves and the other part the company . The real true right now, community are getting bigger to HELP and that is what I am looking for as a costumer and for business. For what I see on the last couples years, open source, its a big thing in this worldwide in this matter. Arm,Linux, android?, ecosystem are bigger… Read more »

Rafael duarte
Rafael duarte
6 years ago

OK I was looking forward to see the unveiled of the A80 was nothing like that, same info,no interview with Eva,spokeswoman.
No video either, more for the other chipset.
I want more info about Chinese SOC, can CNX supply that.
Thanks

Tsvetan
Tsvetan
6 years ago

@Alexandru Voica Our support for Linux is therefore extremely strong

Where is your API and Register description which to allow open source drivers to be made? Binary blobs are not “open friendly source”

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[…] A80 OptimusBoard Features AllWinner Octa-Core big.LITTLE SoC (cnx-software.com) […]

Alexandru Voica
Alexandru Voica
6 years ago

@Tsvetan Hi, I’ve already provided this answer to one of the people commenting on our blog. I think the main problem with your reasoning is you are confusing us with a chipset company. We cannot be compared with Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm in this respect because we sell GPU IP, not chips. If we had sold SoCs, then yes, we would have had more flexibility with releasing our drivers. But we have tens of customers, each with a different microarchitecture, each with different CPU/GPU configurations, to which you add things like VPUs (hardware video encoders/decoders), ISPs, display controllers, memory controllers, sensor… Read more »

Alexandru Voica
Alexandru Voica
6 years ago

@Rafael duarte Hi, Let me try and give a clearer view of how drivers for mobile SoCs work with one simple example. We’ve recently partnered with Hardkernel and provided full access to the PowerVR DDK for their ODROID-XU boards. Thanks to this collaboration, the ODROID-XU board supports the full OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenCL 1.1 EP APIs on Android for the Samsung Exynos 5410 SoC. In theory Hardkernel could have supported Linux too since we granted full access to our OpenGL DDK, but Exynos 5410 was designed as an Android part and certain drivers, like the display driver, were not… Read more »

Rafael duarte
Rafael duarte
6 years ago

Alezandru hi So you are saying that mostly of the SOC, like, rock chip,allwinner, and others, that they don’t have their Own GPU,are doing or using the wrong OS,mean that it’s no optimization between CPU and GPU,because its a Mobil platform, no desktop and that’s why they are using android drivers design and,no Linux,so they are not doing a good job. So nvidia and Qualcomm they allways are going to better,because for the bond between CPU/GPU . Saying this its a bad business for imagination technology, even making a powerful GPU ,doesn’t make any Sense to me,sorry.therefore Which should be… Read more »

Alexandru Voica
Alexandru Voica
6 years ago

@Rafael duarte No, you have misunderstood me completely. What I was explaining was the fact that those open source drivers you ask for may not help you in the end because other parts of a mobile SoC might be completely closed. So having ONLY open source drivers for the GPU will not help if you can’t get the display driver, for example, to work. Our customers (Allwinner, Rockchip and others) have and continue to do a perfectly good job at integrating the graphics core in their designs. Please don’t try to twist my words to justify your personal opinions. I… Read more »

ade
ade
6 years ago

> “Also this code is closely tied to the hardware, which means each driver must be modified by our licensees for each separate chip to link it to all the hardware functions within the chip, and to ensure it works optimally. Imagination could never disclose any proprietary information of our licensees, such as hardware details or address maps. (…) This code is closely tied to the hardware, which means each driver must be modified by our licensees for each separate chip to link it to all the hardware functions within the chip and to ensure it works optimally” @Alexandru: I… Read more »

Falcon1
Falcon1
6 years ago

@Alexandru Voica Hi Alexandru, First my appreciation on continuing to reply. Too bad I didn’t get any from you. I wonder why… Something with nails and head perhaps You’re comlaining that you can sit on the OEM chair. While true. That doesn’t mean Imagination can be the deliverer/maintainer of the driver, albeit with the OEM or not. The other complaint is about diversity. Let cosider. CPU Architectures: x86 32/64 BIT,MIPS,ARM,SPARC,etc. OS’es:Windows/Linux/IOS/ Window systems:Windows/X11/Wayland/IOS/SurfaceFlinger GPU Interfaces: Direct3D,OpenGL,Gallium,etc. VPU Interfaces: DrirectVideo,XV,V4L2,va-api,vdpau,etc, While that seems a lot. The hardware in question does not change. You IP core gets reused. Thus the driver doesn’t… Read more »

Falcon1
Falcon1
6 years ago

@Falcon1
LOL

Either I’m on the right track or only down talk leads to reply.

Or like Achmed said: Silence!…. I kill you!

PowerVR is bad m’kaay.

Rafael duarte
Rafael duarte
6 years ago

Good falcon 1
Nvidia make statement for initial open source, for people and community,a very good first step.

m][sko
6 years ago

If anybody interested in wayland and powerVR GPU
https://gitorious.org/wayland-sgx

it is wayland 1.3 compatible

Floyd
Floyd
6 years ago

Vaporware? At MWC the marketing folks are anouncing it again. But it one ask directly (when and how much?) the comapny says it is an internal dev board with no plan to sell it.

Marius
6 years ago

CubieBoard4 will use this SOC but I’ve not idea when it will be launched.

tonikasch
6 years ago

@alexvoica @Falcon1 At linux-rockchips we are making some progresses regarding graphics support. Not to be said about the GPU part which, thanks to ARM who released the different parts of the stack and different developers who integrated them, has come to work under linux. But perhaps soon about the VPU: it comes to be a On2 Hantro H1 Decoder + G1 Encoder(s). Having On2 been purchased by Google, who has integrated these products into the WebM project, has given us the right direction to go: ask Google/WebM Project for the IP drivers, ask them to open source them, regardless of… Read more »

trackback

[…] big.LITTLE SoC ahead of the Hong Kong Electronics Fair 2014, and we’ve learned more about OptimusBoard, as well as tablets and TV boxes availability through a video interview shot by Charbax at the […]

trackback

[…] have been waiting for A80 OptimusBoard development board powered by AllWinner A80 octa-core big.LITTLE SoC to come to market. It could be […]

99guspuppet
5 years ago

I want 8GB of RAM to use the board as a server running FreeNAS. FreeNAS.com

trackback

[…] 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,… Read more »

trackback

[…] 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… Read more »

Marius
Marius
5 years ago

@onebir
Haha, good one but I got a Tegra K1 board ( Jetson TK1 ) for less on ebay. And Tegra K1 has mainline kernel support, SATA, open source GPU driver … shall I continue ?

onebir
onebir
5 years ago

@Marius Sure – just noticed it for sale. Does seem a little pricey for a board with an Allwinner SOC…

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