Amlogic S905X and S912 Processors To Support 4K VP9, HDMI 2.0a, Built-in DAC and More

I had heard some news that Amlogic S912 was delayed, and even possibly canceled, while talks about a new S908 processor surfaced recently with support for VP9 up to 4K resolution. We now have some more details as I’ve received some more information about Amlogic product roadmap, and S908 should be renamed S905M [Update: The name will apparently be changed to S905X now, the saga continues…]

Amlogic S905 Amlogic S908 / S905M / S905X
Amlogic S912
CPU Quad core Cortex A53 @ up to 2.0 GHz Quad core Cortex A53 @ up to 1.5/2.0 GHz Octa core Cortex A53 @ up to 2.0 GHz
GPU Penta-core Mali-450 up to 750 MHz High perf gaming GPU
Memory 16/32-bit DDR3, LPDDR2/3
Up to 2GB, DDR2133
16/32-bit DDR3/4, LPDDR2/3
Up to 2GB, DDR2400
Storage NAND Flash@BCH60
eMMC 5.0, SD, Nor Flash
Video Decoding 4Kp60 10-bit HEVC, 4Kp30 H.264 4Kp60 10-bit HEVC, VP9
4Kp30 H.264
Video Encoding H.264, 1080P@60fps H.265, 1080P@60fps
Ethernet 10/100/1000 RGMII 10/100/1000 RGMII, 10/100M PHY
Audio DAC N/A Built-in Stereo DACs
USB 2.0 2.0 and 3.0 (TBC)
TV Output 4K2K HDMI 2.0, CVBS 4K2K HDMI 2.0a, CVBS
HDR N/A HDR10 Dolby Vision, HDR10
DTV Ts in
Products 4K HDMI dongle, OTT/IP-STB Cost effective low power 4K HDMI dongle, OTT/IP-STB High-end 4K OTT/IP-STB, gaming box

While Amlogic S905 and S905M will have a hard-limit to 2GB RAM, S912 will support dual channel memory and up to 4GB RAM. The two new processors will also support 4K VP9 video decoding, feature a DAC, HDMI 2.0a, support for HDR10 media profile and/or Dolby Vision. Both will also an embedded 10/100M PHY which will bring the cost down for devices with Fast Ethernet. Amlogic S912 will also support USB 3.0 interface and H.265 video encoding up to 1080p60. The document did not reveal the details about the GPU used in the two new processor, but it’s clear Amlogic S912 will have a powerful one good enough to be used in Android gaming console, and there have been some clues that S912 GPU could be Mali-T830 in the past.

Amlogic S9xx DRM Secure OS
Amlogic S9xx DRM Solution with TrustZone and Secure OS

The company has also improved DRM support in their latest processors, including S905 itself, with support for Google Widewine Level 1 & 3, Verimatrix Standard and Advanced, Microsoft Playready 2.0 (TVP and non TVP), Internet Marlin 1.7, and Vudu DRM. DRM is enabled thanks to “Secure OS”, but it’s not needed for the most basic DRM solutions such as Widewine Level 3, Verimatrix Standard, and  PlayReady 2.0 Non-TVP. So as we’ve seen recently that most Amlogic S905 TV box lack DRM support, a firmware upgrade should be enough to enable these, but any DRM scheme that requires Secure OS is likely impossible on devices that have not been flashed with Secure OS at the factory.

Amlogic S905M/S905X will come before Amlogic S912, but so far I don’t have exact ETA for either processors, so we’ll need to be patient.

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13 Replies to “Amlogic S905X and S912 Processors To Support 4K VP9, HDMI 2.0a, Built-in DAC and More”

  1. @Loïc

    My guess is because media players and gaming devices are not cpu intensive in their test and these are media/gaming chips. They have great decoding/encoding chips for media and hopefully great gpu for gaming so maybe for low power they dropped cpu speed for battery life. But again that is only a guess

  2. @birdog
    True, it’s seriously impressive to see the old raspberry pi v1 struggle for anything but decode 720p without flinching. With proper graphic accel, the cpu could run at 100Mhz that wouldn’t really matter.

  3. Yes, CPU power is not needed for media devices. Low power (no overheating!!) is more important. We see S812 CPU go down to smallest scaling frequency of 96 MHz for 4K H.265 video play. All done by VPU µcode!

    But 2D GPU and memory bandwidth matter for OSD. Fullscreen fade (2K) was not smooth on RK30, but is very smooth on S8xx. Full 4K framebuffer is possible on S8xx but graphics are not smooth. Hoping for S912.

  4. @Loïc
    Perhaps they are providing a big lift in GPU performance in the expectation that accelerating adoption of OpenCL (eg LibreOffice) will soon cause CPU power to become a less dominant factor in the overall user experience.

  5. @Teiko
    you say this like VPU doesn’t draw power and doesn’t overheat the system. this “acceleration” fairy tale seems to work. but in the reality those “accelerators”, “offload engines” and so on, melt down the SoC not worse than CPU does (especially gpu, vpu). they can not do magic.
    And speaking of why Amlogic has dropped frequency for s912 and s90x, I think it’s NOT because they found, the target use case turned out to be not “cpu intensive”, it’s impossible on arm+linux combination at all – you are seeing a constant high cpu usage on every imagined task, it’s easy to check out. the reason I believe is that 2.0 GHz turned out to be too ambitious for their chip, shortly speaking it overheats and melts down, so they resorted to the humbler numbers.

  6. hum the S905X (apparently former S908 or S905m) would be a nice “upgrade” from the s905, especially for vp9 hw decoding in my case.

    Are there been any news concerning the availability of that soc ?

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