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Amlogic S912 Processor Specifications

Amlogic plans to launch at least three new processors for OTT boxes and set-top boxes this year: Amlogic S905X, Amlogic S912, and Amlogic S905D.  We already knew Amlogic S905 specifications, but I’ve recently received a document with some more details about Amlogic S912 revealing Mali-T820 GPU, a lack of USB 3.0 support, but still some interesting features such as HDMI 2.0a, 4K VP9, 10-bit H.265, Gigabit Ethernet Mac, and so on.

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Amlogic S912 specifications with highlights in bold showing differences with Amlogic S905X:

  • CPU Sub-system –  Octa core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU up to 2 GHz (DVFS) with two CPU clusters one optimized for high performance (big) and the other for low power (LITTLE)
  • 3D Graphics Processing Unit –ARM Mali-T820MP3 GPU up to 750MHz (DVFS) with 3 shader engines supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.03.1, DirectX 11 FL9_3, OpenCL 1.1/1.2 full profile and RenderScript.
  • 2.5D Graphics Processor – Fast bitblt engine with dual inputs and single output, programmable raster operations (ROP) and polyphase scaling filter, etc..
  • Crypto Engine – AES/AES-XTS block cipher with 128/192/256 bits keys, DES/TDES block cipher, hardware crypto key-ladder operation and DVB-CSA for transport stream encryption,  built-in hardware True Random Number Generator (TRNG), CRC and SHA-1/SHA-2/HMAC SHA engine
  • Video/Picture CODEC
  • Video Post-Processing Engine – Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG HDR processing, motion adaptive 3D noise reduction filter, advanced motion adaptive edge enhancing de-interlacing engine, 3:2 pull-down support, deblocking filters, etc..
  • Video Output
    • Built-in HDMI 2.0a transmitter including both controller and PHY with 3D, CEC, HDR and HDCP 2.2, [email protected] max resolution output
    • CVBS 480i/576i standard definition output
    • RGB888 TTL interface up to 1920×1080
  • Camera Interface – ITU 601/656 parallel video input with down-scalar, supports camera input as YUV422, RGB565,16bit RGB or JPEG
  • Audio Decoder and Input/Output
    • Supports MP3, AAC, WMA, RM, FLAC, Ogg and programmable with 7.1/5.1 down-mixing
    • I2S audio interface supporting 8-channel (7.1) input and output
    • Built-in serial digital audio SPDIF/IEC958 output and PCM input/output
    • Built-in stereo audio DAC
    • Dual-channel digital microphone PDM input
    • Supports concurrent dual audio stereo channel output with combination of analog+PCM or I2S+PCM
  • Memory and Storage Interface
    • 16/32-bit SDRAM memory interface running up to DDR2400
    • Supports up to 2GB DDR3/4, DDR3L, LPDDR2, LPDDR3 with dual ranks
    • Supports SLC/MLC/TLC NAND Flash with 60-bit ECC
    • SDSC/SDHC/SDXC card and SDIO interface with 1-bit and 4-bit data bus width supporting up to UHS-I SDR104
    • eMMC and MMC card interface with 1/4/8-bit data bus width fully supporting spec version 5.0 HS400
    • Supports serial 1, 2 or 4-bit NOR Flash via SPI interface
    • Built-in 4k bits One-Time-Programming memory for key storage (That must be where DRM / HDCP keys are programmed)
  • Network
    • Integrated IEEE 802.3 10/100/1000M Gigabit Ethernet MAC controller with RGMII interface
    • Integrated 10/100M PHY interface
    • Supports Energy Efficiency Ethernet (EEE) mode
  • Digital Television Interface
    • Transport stream (TS) input interface with built-in demux processor for connecting to external digital TV tuner/demodulator and one output TS interface
    • Built-in PWM, I2C and SPI interfaces to control tuner and demodulator
    • Integrated CI+ port and ISO 7816 smart card controller
  • Integrated I/O Controllers and Interfaces
    • 3x USB 2.0 high-speed USB I/O, 2x USB Host and one USB OTG
    • Multiple UART, I2C and SPI interface with slave select
    • Multiple PWMs
    • Programmable IR remote input/output controllers
    • Built-in 10bit SAR ADC with 2 input channels
    • General Purpose IOs with built-in pull up and pull down
  • System, Peripherals and Misc. Interfaces
    • Integrated general purpose timers, counters, DMA controllers
    • 24 MHz crystal input
    • Embedded debug interface using ICE/JTAG
  • Power Management
    • Multiple external power domains controlled by PMIC, and internal ones controlled by software
    • Multiple sleep modes for CPU, system, DRAM, etc.
    • Multiple internal PLLs for DVFS operation
    • Multi-voltage I/O design for 1.8V and 3.3V
    • Power management auxiliary processor in a dedicated always-on (AO) power domain that can communicate with an external PMIC
  • Security
    • Trustzone based Trusted Execution Environment (TEE)
    • Secured boot, encrypted OTP, encrypted DRAM with memory integrity checker, hardware key ladder and internal control buses and storage
    • Protected memory regions and electric fence data partition
    • Hardware based Trusted Video Path (TVP) , video watermarking and secured contents (requires SecureOS software)
    • Secured IO and secured clock
  • Package – LFBGA 15 x 15 mm, 0.65 ball pitch, RoHS compliant

That means Amlogic S905X and S912 have the exact same video playback capabilities, although S912 will also support Dolby Vision HDR standard. The main differences are the eight Cortex A53 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz (instead of 4x A53 @ 1.5 GHz), and the more power ful Mali-T820MP3 GPU, as well as support for LCD panel (e.g. for tablets) thanks to an extra RGB interface. Finally S912 has three USB interfaces, instead of just two for S905X.

Amlogic 2016 roadmap shows S905X is scheduled for Q1 2016, and S912 for Q2 2016,  but it’s likely we need to add one or two more quarters before we get any Android 6.0 devices based on the new processors.

  1. memeka
    April 6th, 2016 at 17:35 | #1

    a bit disappointing

    * no USB3
    * bigLITTLE – would have preferred 8 similar cores, bigLITTLE is still not supported in mainline (who makes bigLITTLE with the same type of cores?!)
    * GPU is not really that much more powerful – maybe 25% faster than S905, but still maybe half the speed of the mali in odroid-xu4 for example
    * no eDP, that extra interface is 1080p only
    * ethernet GB MAC but 100MB PHY – so you need more work if you wanna go the GB route

  2. Bogolisk
    April 6th, 2016 at 18:07 | #2

    underwhelming

  3. blu
    April 6th, 2016 at 21:18 | #3

    ‘..a lack of USB 3.0 support, and many other features.’ reminds me of ‘Chef’s speciality for the day: no soup’ (true story ; )

    So Amlogic decided to pull a Rockchip: 4 LITTLE + 4 big A53s. Let’s see how things go from there.

  4. Hulk Hogan
    April 6th, 2016 at 21:27 | #4

    Finaly they dump the acient Mali 450 !!! YAYYYY

  5. mo123
    April 6th, 2016 at 22:55 | #5

    Rockchip RK3399
    – CPU – two Cortex A72 cores clocked at up to 2.0GHz, and four Cortex A53
    The A72 should provide much better performance.
    – GPU – Mali-T860MP4 vs Mali T820MP3 in the S912
    – USB 3 and also PCIe 2.1 support vs no support in the S912

    So it will be interesting to see real world performance of AMLogic S912 vs RK3399 and also the price differences.

  6. AlexMSX2
    April 7th, 2016 at 02:20 | #6

    I understand these SoCs are designed for phones and mostly dev-boards and TV-boxes, but why limiting them to 2GB RAM when they are 64bit already? The same with the USB3.

    Is that none of them want to provide something disruptive? All of them playing the slow-increment game?

  7. Florin
    April 7th, 2016 at 02:23 | #7

    Considering the fact that S812 had a 8 core Mali450 will the new Mali820 bring enough power to justify a upgrade in the case of Android boxes?

  8. natsu
    April 7th, 2016 at 02:23 | #8

    still, it’s open source so a big advantage over the much more powerful RK3399

  9. mo123
    April 7th, 2016 at 10:11 | #9

    @AlexMSX2
    Rockchip already implemented 4GB RAM support on their 32-bit RK3288 processors with devices like Firefly and HPH.
    So 4GB RAM will also work on their RK3399 devices with software changes.
    I wonder if for AMLogic it’s a hardware limitation or they can also support it with software updates?

  10. Steve
    April 7th, 2016 at 15:37 | #10

    Interesting they appear to support HLG (I assume this is the BBC/NHK Hybrid Log Gamma proposal) as well as Dolby Vision and HDR10. AIUI HLG is looking a strong possibility as the HDR standard for broadcast TV.

  11. mdel
    April 7th, 2016 at 15:50 | #11

    memeka :
    * ethernet GB MAC but 100MB PHY – so you need more work if you wanna go the GB route

    okay that’s what i was wondering about, so we’ll see again a bunch of cheap s905x/s912 boxes with 100Mb eth, as Gbe will require an external ic.
    Btw is the PHY interface really an IC or simply an analog (eth signals) converter device ?

    usb3 is still very problematic apparently. I kind of feel that those arm chips start to severely lag behind in terms of I/O interfaces.

    @cnx-soft
    As sata is still missing in that “new” set of chips, should i understand amlogic will not (never) position itself on the high end tv boxes (with hdd) or nas market ? is it something that as been publicly expressed by amlogic ?

  12. April 7th, 2016 at 16:06 | #12

    @mdel
    high-end also means low volume, so maybe Amlogic is not really interested in that market, and they see some of their customer implement SATA via USB 2.0, so they may think it’s not really needed in TV boxes.

    HiSilicon Hi3798C V200 is the one you want to follow if you are interested in USB 3.0 and SATA beside 4K, H.265, HDR features: http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/09/15/hisilicon-hi3798c-v200-64-bit-arm-processor-supports-hdmi-2-0-10-bit-hevc-usb-3-0-sata-and-more/

  13. GunterO
    April 7th, 2016 at 17:46 | #13

    @natsu
    Exactly!

  14. NIPSZX
    April 8th, 2016 at 04:03 | #14

    s1012 is going to be HUGE!

  15. Anis
    April 10th, 2016 at 20:23 | #15

    According to http://kyokojap.myweb.hinet.net/gpu_gflops/ there are two other new SOCs called “amlogic s966” and “amlogic t968”. The latter is probably for 4K Smart TV.

  16. Jeff
    August 13th, 2016 at 09:51 | #16

    Geekbuying now showing 3GB/16GB model for presale.

  17. August 13th, 2016 at 09:54 | #17

    @Jeff
    It must be R-BOX Pro

  18. August 13th, 2016 at 15:44 | #18

    @cnxsoft
    See my comment on that post 🙂

  19. joaquim
    April 19th, 2017 at 16:31 | #19

    Hi cnx team & Cª
    Some of you have seen if you are truthful these S912 – 2 GHz ARM Cortex ™ 64-bit A53 CPU specifications, with1.5 GB DDR3??.
    I thought of just DDR3 with 2 or 1Gb existed memory modules. It is possible to 1, 5 GB DDR3?
    that here in this vendor…
    https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Nice-S912-Media-Player-for-1_60619548361.html?spm=a2700.8239084.0.0.IWKhKg

    i apreciate your comments

  20. April 19th, 2017 at 16:37 | #20

    @joaquim
    Not 100% sure, but considering I’ve seen 3GB TV boxes using 2x 1GB and 2x 512MB RAM such as R-Box Pro -> http://www.cnx-software.com/2016/10/01/review-of-r-box-pro-tv-box-with-3gb-ram-part-1-unboxing-and-teardown/, I’d assume TV boxes with 1x 1GB + 1x 512MB (or 2x 512MB + 2x 256 MB) might also be possible (TBC).

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