ARM Cortex A15/A17 SoCs Comparison – Nvidia Tegra K1 vs Samsung Exynos 5422 vs Rockchip RK3288 vs AllWinner A80

We’re now starting to get quite a few players with ARM Cortex A15 cores on the market, as well as some with ARM Cortex A17. So a comparison table of different quad and octa SoCs might be a useful thing to do. I’ve put aside SoCs such as HiSilicon K3V3, and OMAP5, and focused on the four latest processors: Nvidia Tegra K1 (32-bit), Samsung Exynos 5422, Rockchip RK3288 and AllWinner A80. I haven’t included Mediatek MT6595 and Qualcomm SnapDragon 805, because the two companies mainly focus on smartphones and tablets (although it appears to be slowly changing for Qualcomm), documentation is usually difficult or impossible to find, and in the case of Qualcomm they use their own ARMv7 Krait cores.

rk3288_a80_tegra_k1_exynos_5_octaI’ve highlighted some features in green, in case a particular SoC appears to have an edge.

Rockchip RK3288AllWinner A80Nvidia Tegra K1Samsung Exynos 5422
CPU4x ARM Cortex-A17 @ 1.8 GHZ4x ARM Cortex-A15 r4 @ 2.0?? GHz +
4x ARM Cortex-A7 @ ?? GHz
big.LITTLE Processing
Quad Core ARM Cortex-A15 r3 @ 2.3GHz + Cortex A15 r3 companion core4x ARM Cortex-A15 @ 2.1 GHz +
4x ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.5 GHz
big.LITTLE Processing
L1 Icache/Dcache32KB/32KB32KB/32KB32KB/32KB32KB/32KB
L2 Cache1MB2MB + 512KB2MB + 512 KB2MB + 512 KB
GPUARM Mali-T764PowerVR G6230 (64-cores)Kepler GK20a (192-cores)ARM Mali-T628 MP6
GPU APIOpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenVG 1.1, OpenCL 1.1 and Renderscript, Directx11OpenGL ES 2.0/3.0, OpenCL 1.x, Directx 9.3OpenGL ES 2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenGL 4.4, OpenCL 1.2, CUDA 6.0, Directx 12OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenCL 1.1,OpenVG 1.0.1, DirectX 11, and Google Renderscript
Video Decoder[email protected]: HEVC
[email protected]: H.264, MPEG-2, VP6/VP8, MVC
1080p: MPEG-4, Sorenson Spark, VC-1, RV8/RV9/RV10, and AVS
[email protected]: H.264 and VP8
1080p60: MPEG 1/2/4. H.263, H.264, WMV9/VC1, etc…
1080p30: H.265/VP9
3D decoding @ 3840×[email protected]
1440p – H.264 BP/MP/HP/MVC, VC-1, VP8, MPEG-2 and MPEG-41920×[email protected] – MPEG-4/MPEG-2/H.263/H.264/VP8//VC1
8192×8192 – H.264 and VP8
Video Encoder1080p30: H.264, MVC, and VP8[email protected]: H.264 and VP8H.264
1920×[email protected] – MPEG-4//H.263/H.264/VP8
8192×8192 – H.264 and VP8
Memory (On-chip)20KB BootRom, 100KB internal SRAMNo data64KB Boot ROM (IROM)No data
Memory InterfacesDDR3-1333/DDR3L-1333, LPDDR2-1066, LPDDR3-1066, up to 4GB
Dual channel async NAND flash, 8-bit, 60-bit ECC
Single channel async NAND flash, 16-bit, 60-bit ECC
eMMC v4.5
SD/MMC Interface (SD 3.0, MMC ver 4.5)
Raw NAND with 72-bit ECC
eMMC v4.5
DDR3L, and LPDDR3, up to 8GB
LPDDR2 might work but not tested by Nvidia
eMMC version 4.5
LPDDR3/DDR3 – 2-ports 32-bit up to 933 MHz
LPDDR2 – 2-ports 32-bit up to 533 MHz
2x eMMC 5.0, 1x eMMC 4.5
8-bit SDIO 3.0,
4-bit SD 3.0
Display InterfacesDual channel LVDS
2x Parallel and serial RGB interfaces: Up to 3840×2160 or 2560×1600
MCU LCD interface (optional)
4-lane MIPI up to 1080p60
4-lane eDP up to [email protected]
HDMI 1.4 and 2.0
Dual channel LVDS up to 1920×[email protected]
RGB LCD up to 2048×[email protected]
4-lane MIPI DSI up to 1920×[email protected]
4-lane eDP up to 2560×[email protected]
HDMI 1.4
LVDS up to 1920×[email protected]
2x 4-lane MIPI DSI (Dual link: up to 3840×[email protected], single link: 2560×[email protected])
4-lane eDP up to 3840×[email protected]
HDMI 1.4b up to 4096×[email protected]
4-lane MIPI DSI up to WUXGA (1920×1200) @ 60 fps
1-port (4 lanes) eDisplayPort (eDP) up to WQXGA (2560×1600) @ 60 fps
HDMI 1.4a interfaces with on-chip PHY
Camera Interfaces12-bit CCIR/Camera I/F up to 5MP
MIPI CSI2 I/F up to 14MP
8/10/12-bit raw data interface
Parallel and MIPI I/F sensor
5M/8M/12M/16M CMOS sensor
8/10/12-bit YUV/Bayer sensor
Up to 16MP @ 37 fps
2x 4x YUV / RAW / CSI
2-ports (4/4 lanes) MIPI CSI2 interfaces
Up to 16MP @ 30fps
14-bit Bayer sensor
USB2x USB 2.0 Host
1x USB 2.0 OTG
2x USB host
1x USB3.0/2.0 host / device
2x USB 3.0
3x USB 2.0
2x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
Ethernet1x GMAC (RMII/RGMII)1x Ethernet MACN/AN/A
TS Interface2x IN, 1x INNo data1x TS1x TSI
PCIeN/AN/A5-lane PCIe with Gen1 (2.5GT/s) and Gen 2 (5.0 GT/s) speedsN/A
Other I/Os3x SPI, 6x I2C, 5x UART, 4x PWM, 2x DMAC, 160 GPIO4x SPI, 7x TWI, 7x UART3x I2C, 2x SPI, UART, Up to 64 MPIO (Multi Purpose IO)4x I2C, 7x HS-I2C, 3x SPI, 5x UART, GPIOs, 24-channel DMA controller
Antutu 4.x35225
Hardware: Pipo P8 (res: 2048×1536)
Hardware: AllWinner OptimusBoard?
Hardware: Tegra K1 Reference Tablet?
Hardware: Samsung Galaxy S5 (SMG900H)
Low Cost Development BoardCurrently not available, none officially announced.Announced: OptimusBoard, PcDuino8, Cubieboard A80. No price available.Nvidia Jetson TK1 for $192None with Exynos 5422, but two with the similar Exynos 5420:
Arndale Octa for $179
Announced: ODROID XU-2 (Price not available)

First some general comments:

  1. As details are not always available, and I had to go through thousands of pages of documentation, it’s possible some information is incorrect or missing. So I’d be grateful if anybody points out mistakes in the table.
  2. In L2 Cache = xx MB + xx KB refers to the cache for the bit processors (A15) + the cache for the LITTLE processors (A7) or the companion core.
  3. The “Other I/Os” section is mainly for reference, as I’m sure parts are missing here.
  4. I haven’t addressed power consumption of the different SoC, since I don’t believe numbers provided by the SoC vendors are directly comparable.
  5. Antutu scores are interesting to get an idea of the performance, but we should bear in mind AllWinner A80 and Tegra K1 scores appear to have been achieved with development hardware, which may not have the same thermal constraints as the tablet and smartphone used with Rockchip RK3288 and Exynos 5422.

Based on this comparison table, Nvidia Tegra K1 really seems to have the best package in terms of performance, 3D and GPGPU APIs, and peripheral interfaces such as SATA and PCIe which are missing on all other SoCs. The downsides are video encoding is only supported up to 1440p, and there’s no Ethernet MAC. That means no 4K hardware video decoding, although an article from Anandtech mentioned the company demos 4K 30 fps using the Kepler GPU. The way to add Ethernet with Tegra K1 is to use an external Ethernet Control chip and connect it to the PCI Express port, as they did for Jetson TK1 development board. It’s also likely Tegra K1 is more expensive than all other three, but it’s very versatile and could be found in various type of products: tablets, mini PCs, laptops and so on. Linux and Android are supported, and since the company seem inclined to go open source, it’s likely any Linux based OS can be supported by the platform.

Rockchip RK3288 should be one of the more cost effective platform in the table, but trade offs includes 1MB L2 cache (vs 2MB for others), an 4GB RAM limitation, the lack of USB 3.0 interfaces, and lower overall performance. However it’s the only SoC that 100% 4K ready here with HDMI 2.0, HEVC decode at up to 4K @ 60fps, as well as Gigabit Ethernet. ARM Cortex A17 should also have lower consumption compared to ARM Cortex A15, but it’s unclear how it will compare against big.LITTLE solution. This will probably remain a gray area because power efficiency will highly depend on the payload. RK3288 has already been demoed on hardware running Android and Chromium OS.

AllWinner A80 has performance very close to Tegra K1, apparently supports VP9 (N.B: However, I had been asked to remove VP9 from an AllWinner A80 graphics once), supports 4K30 video decoding, USB 3.0. Apart from the lack of SATA and PCIe interfaces, and OpenGL 4.4 support, AllWinner SoC appears to have few drawbacks compared to Tegra K1, so we’ll have to see how it compares in terms of price versus Rockchip RK3288. The company has also announced support for 5 operating systems for A80: Android, Chrome OS, Ubuntu, Windows 8, and Firefox OS. So they must have worked with Imagination Technology to support the PowerVR GPU on these OS.

Samsung Exynos 5422 appears to be just short of AllWinner A80 and Tegra K1 performance, and the company has dropped some interfaces such as SATA, PCIe, LVDS, Ethernet MAC,  that makes it a little less versatile than other SoCs, and more targeted at tablets and smartphones. It’s the only SoC that supports both 8K encode and decode (H.264 and VP8 only), but lacks HEVC/H.265 hardware support. It’s also the only SoC to support eMMC 5.0, instead of just eMMC 4.5, which can potentially double the IO performance (400MB/s max instead of 200 MB/s).


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7 years ago

Finally a chip with [email protected] HEVC & HDMI 2.0

7 years ago

What about the Amlogic S802-H?? Its right there with them?

7 years ago

Dion :
What about the Amlogic S802-H?? Its right there with them?

oh -ok its A15/A17 arms

7 years ago

I would like to know if it is really true about HEVC in RK3288
as If they handle HEVC with openCL it is still hw base.
I saw video on youtube with one of rockchip manager
we can handle HEVC right now with libav on our RK3188 in 720p 🙂

CPU or GPU base decoders looks as good idea for me with this so many core systems.
But DSP is much better for power efficient.

7 years ago

Specifications are good, but what I’m really curious about are some benchmarks.

7 years ago

I am excited about the [email protected] not so much for THAT output, but because 1080P should be rock solid with that much overhead…@Galll0s

7 years ago

“So I’d be grateful if anybody points out mistakes in the tablet”

I don’t know about mistakes in the table, but in the quoted phrase, “tablet” should read “table”.

John Toscano
John Toscano
6 years ago

Odroid XU3 has the Exynos 5422 processor on its development board.

5 years ago

The supplier of RK3288 ROCKCHIPs announces that RK3288 lifecycle is more than 7years, i think the other chips above have no longger lifecycle, about 2-3years would be stopped supply. Boardcon EM3288 has Rockchip RK3288 processor on its development board.