Rockchip, Amlogic, and Allwinner are all battling for the lower and mid-range segments of the TV box market, so it may be interesting to compare their solutions. We won’t look into the ultra low-end market with 32-bit ARM Cortex A7 processor, but instead compare some of the recent quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 processor for 4K HDR TV box from the company with respectively Amlogic S905X, Rockchip RK3328, and Allwinner H6 SoCs.
We’ll compare some of the benchmarks obtained with Android TV boxes, as well as other features like video support, USB, and Ethernet interfaces.
S905X vs RK3328 vs H6 Benchmarks
Let’s start with results for popular Android benchmarks: Antutu 6.x, Vellamo 3.x, and 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme v1.2 with results obtained from 3 TV boxes: Mini M8S II (Amlogic S905X), A95X R2 (Rockchip RK3328), and Zidoo H6 Pro (Allwinner H6). A score is highlighted in green is there’s a clear winner, and in red for a clear loser.
|Amlogic S905X||Rockchip RK3328||Allwinner H6|
|CPU (1)||Quad-core Cortex A53
@ 1.51 GHz
|Quad core Cortex A53
@ 1.51 GHz
|Quad core Cortex A53
@ 1.8 GHz
|GPU (2)||ARM Mali-450MP3||ARM Mali-450MP2||ARM Mali-720MP2|
|Overall||33,553||33,117||40,467 / 36,957 (2)
|3D (1920×1080)||3,099||1,475||6,292 / 2,782 (2)|
|Browser||1,855 (Browser)||1,943 (Chrome)||2,546 (Browser)|
|3DMark – Ice Storm Extreme v1.2|
(1) Those are the frequencies reported by CPU-Z, and the actual maximum frequency may be different. For example, it appears Allwinner H6 can only run at 1488 MHz in a sustained manner, and possibly only reach 1.8 GHz during short bursts (TBC).
(2) Allwinner H6 is the only SoC to include a GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.1, which means it is the only one to complete Marooned 3D graphics test (Antutu 3D test has two 3D benchmarks), and the other boxes just got zero since it did not run. So I’ve included two scores for overall and 3D Antutu results: actual score / score minus Marooned benchmark.
(3) Vellamo multicore had a warning on Zidoo H6 Pro, so it may not represent the actual performance of the device.
Allwinner H6 has a slight advantage, but during use, it will be really hard to notice the difference between TV boxes with one of those processors, and other factors like RAM capacity and storage performance will have more influence. One exception is 3D performance, as Rockchip RK3328 is clearly slower here, and I could notice it while playing games.
But SoC performance is only one side of the equation, so let’s have a look at some of the features from the SoCs, which may or not be implemented in some TV boxes. For reference, I also included USB 2.0 or 3.0 storage (HDD NTFS partition), and Ethernet performance numbers. Those numbers may vary a lot with further software optimization, configuration tweaks, so they should only be used for reference. I used the same TV boxes as for the benchmark section, except for Gigabit Ethernet relying instead on iperf results from ROCK64 development board (RK3328) and K1 Plus (Note S905, no X, for reference only, but in my experience, all Fast Ethernet interfaces have about the same performance), and NEXBOX A95X for the USB storage performance.
|Amlogic S905X||Rockchip RK3328||Allwinner H6|
|– 4K 10-bit HEVC||Up to 60 fps|
|– 4K VP9||Up to 60 fps|
|– 4K H.264||Up to 30 fps (8-bit only)||Up to 30 fps (8-bit and 10-bit)||Up to 30 fps (8-bit only)|
|USB 2.0 / 3.0||USB 2.0||USB 3.0||USB 3.0|
|– A1SD Bench (R/W)||37/37 MB/s||94.52/90.73 MB/s||59.07/42.12MB/s|
|Ethernet||10/100M only||Gigabit Ethernet MAC||Gigabit Ethernet MAC|
|– iperf (full-duplex)||91.6/91.8 Mbits/s||815/344 Mbits/s||758/350 Mbits/s|
|RAM Capacity (Max)||2GB||4GB||2GB|
|Misc||TS, Smartcard interface||TS, Smartcard interface, PCIe|
I did not include audio, as all those SoC are supposed to support Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio codec pass-through. but implementation varies a lot between devices.
Amlogic S905X is the weakest of the lot based on the two tables above, but it’s also the cheapest SoC among the three, and in my experience, one with the best support in Kodi, for example. Rockchip RK3328 is not much more expensive, and has many benefits, except when it comes to 3D graphics performance, but it usually only matter if you plan to play games on the platform, the GPU is usually good enough for user interfaces. Allwinner H6 has more interfaces, a Mali GPU with OpenGL ES 3.1 and OpenCL support, and lightly more interfaces. The few devices that are based on the Allwinner processor are currently quite more expensive with all other features being equal.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
Hope we get to see the 905W in the test group as well
S905W should be about the same as S905X, except video support is limited to 4K @ 30 fps.
Does it really matter how they are powerful if they have partial/non-existant support for things like OpenELEC/LibreELEC?
Surprise to not see the Hi3798 chipset
To my mind Hi3798CV200 is the KILLER for chipset developped for video decoding market
If you want the best of the best: Hi3559A, 8K video decoding in H265 AND the NNA => it could be used on SuperComputer
Good comparison! Just keep in mind that even though not all GPU benchmarks may care about it, Mali-720 is the much more modern GPU — GL ES 3.x is only one of the benefits — OpenCL is another; basically, if you care about graphics (or GPGPU) Midgard’s advantages over Utgard are substantial. That said, of course you need all drivers/userland stacks in place, so you need to be careful about those as well. /linux warning
ed: oh, you said all that at the end : )
Other SoCs like Hisilicon Hi3798CV200 and Realtek RTD1295 are pretty great, but most device are in a different market segment, over $100, or in some cases over $200.
I understand Hi3559A is mostly a camera SoC. You won’t find it in TV boxes, as AFAIK, some features like Dolby or TrueHD are not supported at all. If the info I got is true the chip by itself costs $50, so again, a different price category.
All hangs on what you want to do with the device you are buying. RK3328 could have the upper hand if software starts using the full 4GB ( needs a must have or killer application ). Most user reviews from TV watching user like some of the cheap boxes based on SoC. S905X Have more mature software use ( ? ). Sellers have more S905X experience on flaws. However Amlogic fib about true Hz of CPU Allwinner always screw the software and prior, it has been the community that sort it out, where they can get true hardware details. Am… Read more »
theguyuk : Am I right in thinking it is Armbian, RetroOrange Pi, Lakka and lately Friendlyelec who’s software has made prior H2, H3 Allwinner SoC actually useful? Wrong, look at http://linux-sunxi.org/ instead. @Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft): Based on past experiences with Allwinner I would be really surprised if H6 storage and network performance are that low. Similar as with RK3328 where we get with more up to date Linux images (that take care of the necessary settings unlike vendor Android) Gigabit Ethernet fully saturated I would expect the same with H6 later (talking about +900 Mbits/sec in both directions). And if… Read more »
Followed your link, found this informative, thank you 🙂
” The sunxi community is a very active and advanced one. For more information, check our linux-sunxi community page. It explains how to get help and how to contact us, and how you can contribute as well.
Allwinner does not actively participate in or support this community. In fact, it is violating the GPLv2 license in several ways and has so far not shown willingness to resolve this. “
Rockchip for Anime!
It would be great also to compare Linux support for the listed SOCs not just the hardware
H6 BSP kernel has much less licensing issues (some were reported and will be probably fixed in next release). Atop of that, it seems they want to help community according to this: https://irclog.whitequark.org/linux-sunxi/2017-11-14#20543979
Not really surprised that the RK3328 does so badly in CPU tests, the thing is implemented with an even paltrier 256KB of L2 cache (vs 512 on most A53 quads). Fine for NAS, I suppose, but something to avoid otherwise.
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
Yes Hi3559/Hi3559A was not developped for media player market, but for AR/VR on SoC camera
But like media player, there are Video Output Interface, with one HDMI 2.0 output
About audio format support, Dolby decoding is based from ARM/NEON optimization (Google: Dolby + Ittiam + ARM)
About linux, Hisilicon give full linux support, so with hardware decoding available (and encoding 😉 ) on SDK
Hi3798 is the first chipset with all 10bit certification support ( Dolby Vision, HLG and HDR10 )
I listen AV1 codec decoding is in development on Hi3798CV200 …
I performed same tests on VideoStrong KII Pro (S905) 2GB/16GB
with custom firmware (Android 7.1.2 built from latest Amlogic SDK; ATV version; 320 DPI)
Here are results from single run of each benchmark:
Ice Storm Extreme
Total score: 4,019
Graphics score: 3,417
Physics score: 10,492
3D (1920×1080): 2,923
Hi Stane can you give me link to that firmwere,ty-hvala unapred 😉
I found that S905 is usually a bit better than S905X too: https://www.cnx-software.com/2016/07/31/amlogic-s905-vs-s905x-benchmarks-comparison/
I still used S905X for comparison as all three support 4K HDR and VP, and it seems many recent devices use S905X (or derivatives) instead of S905.
Software support is always in flux, it’s very hard to keep track of it.
What does “Allwinner BU3” mean in the IRC chat? BU3 = Business Unit 3, or something else?
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)
Yes, BU means Bussiness Unit. I forgot which one is responsible for which SoCs. I guess it is safe to say BU3 is responsible for H series (media box line).
Thanks. Finally I got some more information. There used to be 5 business units, but now only 4:
* BU1 – R-Series
* BU2 – A-Series and VR-Series
* BU3 – H-Series and V-Series
* BU4 – Automotive SoC
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft) your rk3328 Gigabit iperf speeds are not what i get on my cheapo (33e) Alfawise Z28 Pro (rk3328 2G/16G), i do get >850Mbps bidirectional. That z28 Pro box Gbe implementation is pretty much identical to the rock64 one (rk3328 GBE MAC with same external PHY). The one thing completely fucked up on that box is that they didn’t wire SDMMC0 for the sd card slot so you can’t boot from sdcard.. but then you have rockchip maskrom mode (pads on the board) which lets you flash the emmc directly through usb.. Maybe your speeds have something to… Read more »
@mdel S905X has ARMv8 AES crypto extensions just as RK3328 (and since H5 also features them I would assume H6 does the same — no idea why in reviews always /proc/cpuinfo is missing). Currently the only known two ARMv8 SoCs missing those crypto extensions are S905 and Raspberry’s BCM2387. Wrt Gigabit Ethernet and USB3 the numbers here are made with vendor Android builds and therefore simply suck. With appropriate settings on RK3328 we get +900 Mbits/sec network speed and almost 400 MB/s with USB3 SuperSpeed and I would assume it’s the same with H6 and Linux using sane settings and… Read more »
Thanks to Icenowy we now know that H6 also supports the ARMv8 crypto extensions according to /proc/cpuinfo:
Let’s hope no vendor releases another A53 without those ever again.
I don’t really care as long as there are a few SoC options available with good Linux support where I can tick the following checkboxes:
– Gigabit Ethernet (or even 2.5GbE)
– very fast storage (USB3, good SATA* or PCIe)
– ARMv8 crypto extensions
– support for at least 2 GB DRAM
BTW: Pine people will test next week whether H6 combined with an 4GB LPDDR module works or not (though only 3GB will be adressible).
* ‘Good SATA’ is meant as neither Allwinner SATA (A10, A20, R40, V40) nor i.MX6 SATA (both implementations are way too slow)
Except, S905W is actually capped at 1.2 GHz.
when/if firmware will be ready for release I will do it. At the moment S905 does have video playback issues on Nougat firmwares. I was discussing issue with S905 and Nougat with Amlogic engineer and we don’t have solution yet (it’s SDK issue).
Ok,if you have stable andriod 6 for kii pro i will be happy,amlogic nougat is beta for all devices…tnx
I forgot about that, but I’ve found your earlier comment: https://www.cnx-software.com/2017/08/14/tanix-tx3-mini-tv-box-is-powered-by-amlogic-s905w-soc/#comment-545994
Amlogic is a funny company.
Amlogic S905/S912/S905X initially advertised at 2.0 GHz max, oops only 1.51 GHz
Amlogic S905W initially advertised at 1.5 GHz max, oops only 1.2 GHz.
I think amlogic s905w can go up to 1.5ghz easy(they disable that)only mecool amlogic s905w firmwere have ui 1080p..
But it’s the same with S905X and S912 too. With unmodified firmware they’re running with multi-threaded stuff at 1.2 GHz max while reporting wrong/bogus cpufreq values back to the kernel all the time (see comments in Khadas VIM2 thread). Only Hardkernel possesses a firmware for S905 on their ODROID-C2 that reports real CPU clockspeeds and not faked ones as everywhere else.
@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft) Just as a quick reminder: Amlogic’s bl30.bin bootloader firmware controls cpufreq/dvfs behaviour and seems to implement something comparable to Intel’s Turboboost (the less CPU cores are active the higher the maximum clockspeed can be which is not the worst choice to improve single thread performance within a given thermal and consumption budget). But the problem with Amlogic’s firmwares is that unlike almost everywhere else they do not report the real clockspeeds the CPU cores are running at but only fake values. That’s situation with S912 and at least with S905X it’s reportedly the same (max clockspeeds lower… Read more »
I tought only chinese soc manufacturers fake frequencies.
I hope they will be punished for cheating like volkswagen…..
L.Peter : I tought only chinese soc manufacturers fake frequencies. Hmm… I’ve not seen this so far but my experiences are very limited (I played with this low-level stuff only on Allwinner, Amlogic, Broadcom and Rockchip SoCs so far). Allwinner and Rockchip ship with bootloaders and kernels where users (or device vendors) have full control. The kernels define maximum cpufreq and possible cpufreq operation points (OPP), the whole DVFS setup is adjustable (device tree settings) and reported clockspeeds are real. There’s always a mismatch between maximum cpufreq A (highest cpufreq OPP allowed by the kernel) and maximum cpufreq B (highest… Read more »
A correction to the linked comment – VP9 is actually supported in TX3’s firmware, but for some weird reason, all mention of it is absent from their promo materials.
tkaiser : S905X has ARMv8 AES crypto extensions just as RK3328 (and since H5 also features them I would assume H6 does the same — no idea why in reviews always /proc/cpuinfo is missing). Currently the only known two ARMv8 SoCs missing those crypto extensions are S905 and Raspberry’s BCM2387. So all Almogic S905 datasheets i could find (ie hardkernel S905_Public_Datasheet_V1.1.4.pdf) are false ? They do show a Crytpo Engine on their block diagram.. i’ll get a s905x cheapo then (what about s905w, this is the cheap one right?), to see how it performs with openvpn, are there any box… Read more »
Except, S905W is actually capped at 1.2 GHz. It seems to be even worse. Reported max cpufreq is 1.2 GHz but according to benchmarks numbers Amlogic’s bl30.bin firmware clocks down to 1000 MHz or even 900 MHz when all 4 cores are active (hard to tell from the Geekbench numbers since a lot of reported ‘CPU performance’ depends on memory bandwidth/latency too). This is is S905X based Le Potato: https://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/3197390 And this is S905W based Vorke Z5: http://browser.geekbench.com/v4/cpu/4934864 We know from S905X that it’s running at around 1.45GHz with one CPU core active and around 1.2GHz when all 4 cores… Read more »
It has been discussed @ https://www.cnx-software.com/2017/10/26/linux-benchmarks-intel-j3455-apollo-lake-vs-z3735f-bay-trail-vs-rk3399-and-other-arm-platforms/#comment-548150
S905 has a crypto engine, but it’s proprietary, it does not support ARMv8 crypto extensions.
mdel : i’ll get a s905x cheapo then (what about s905w, this is the cheap one right?), to see how it performs with openvpn, are there any box with decent Gbe ? There are none with GbE and there never will be since S905X/S905W (most probably chips from the same wafer) do not feature GbE. Seems Amlogic is simply focusing here on what they do best: TV boxes with great codec support (and none of these devices needs GbE, same with USB3) To get close to 400 MB/s with RK3328 (and most probably also H6) you need 4 things: –… Read more »
@mdel Forgot before: there are two other things that are important for storage performance and this time it’s not about synthetical benchmarks but why often real-world Android storage performance sucks so much (see also numbers above, especially for the Allwinner H6 box). – cpufreq scaling settings: often a so called governor is used in Android that does not take care of IO activity and can lead to the CPU cores remaining at their lowest allowed clockspeed all the time slowing storage access down massively – filesystem in question: ‘Native’ filesystems like ext4 have a clear advantage since all the processing… Read more »
@tkaiser How did you generate this table? I’d like to produce a similar table for my S905 based ODROID-C2. I’ve not seen any signs of lower clocks on differing # of cores before, but I didn’t have any test that I used to specifically used to look for that. It could be that the S905 is different from the S905W and S905X in that way? And S912, as well. When HK added the ability to set the clocks and # of cores active for the c2, there was no way to set different clocks for differing # of active cores.… Read more »
willmore : How did you generate this table? Simple sysbench runs with 1, 4 or 8 threads walking through cpufreq OPP (see last pages of ‘Armbian for Amlogic S912’ thread over in forum — there is the script I used). Since the sysbench cpu benchmark does not depend on anything else and runs completely inside the CPU caches with same binary on same platform it can be used to determine real CPU clockspeeds. With S905 at least on ODROID-C2 it should be different since Hardkernel got the bootloader sources from Amlogic after last year’s ‘excitement’ about Amlogic ‘up to 2… Read more »
Ahh, okay, that thread. We already have my data for 1 and 4 threads. I’ll rerun it and set it for two threads. Then we should have all the data needed to make a table like that for the C2. I’ll post over in that thread.
For those playing along at home: https://forum.armbian.com/topic/2138-armbian-for-amlogic-s912/
willmore : For those playing along at home: forum.armbian.com/topic/2138-armbian-for-amlogic-s912/ Well, the thread is a bit boring if one is only interested in Amlogic cheating. The interesting part starts on page 17 there. Anyway: your numbers are based on most recent bl301.bin blob from github.com/hardkernel/u-boot/tree/odroidc2-v2015.01/fip/gxb (I always confuse this blob with bl30.bin). But even the older blob that faked the 1752 and 2016 MHz cpufreq OPP showed sane behaviour wrt single threaded vs. multi-threaded loads: sysbench numbers scale linearly with count of CPU cores so Hardkernel from the very beginning had a firmware blob for S905 that showed at least sane… Read more »
So a lame person like me can understand . Out of the 3 which one was the winner
As some parts were green and some red as well asblack
You have to choose the winner yourself based on your very own use case 😉
tkaiser is actually right. But based on CPU benchmarks only, Allwinner H6 is the winner. For things like storage and networking RK3328 is the best. Now if you are only looking to buy a TV box, the market has already chosen its winner, and Amlogic processors have won against the other two. So if your main goal is to watch videos, go with Amlogic S905X, or other similar Amlogic S905D/S905Z….
> For things like storage and networking RK3328 is the best Might be true when running vendor’s stock Android (the ‘TV box use case’ at least I’m never interested in). When running with community provided Linux distros as soon as H6 software support matures a bit things will look differently. Both RK3328 and H6 should max out Gigabit Ethernet while USB3 storage performance should be ‘fast enough’ (+100 MB/s for the NAS use case). H6 has a disadvantage since only capable of addressing 3 GB maximum (though needing 4 GB of physical memory so we won’t see 3 GB that… Read more »
For whatever reasons the link to NetBSD images for H6 boards now is broken but the links are all contained here: https://www.cnx-software.com/2018/07/11/netbsd-arm64-raspberry-pi-3-nanopi-pine64-boards/
indeed my quick armbian test on my z28 pro tv box (rk3328), show quite impressive bandwidths all around : https://forum.armbian.com/topic/4708-z28-rk3328-18/?do=findComment&comment=58320 but as tkaiser said, H6 should be a good competitor for the rk3328, and it offers an additional pcie bus, although mentioned as “broken” on the wiki and will require software tweaks to function “properly” (not yet available on linux).. H6 hardware does look a bit cheaper than rk3328 ones, although the z28 pro 2G/16G/wifi AC+BT on gearbest is often discounted below 40e. Please be aware that armbian does not officially support the z28pro tv box and you need to… Read more »
> armbian does not officially support the z28pro tv box and you need to manipulate the board (short out 2 pins) to put it in “emmc programming mode”. This PR should fix this (has been merged 2 hours ago): https://github.com/armbian/build/pull/1054 Wrt H6 and PCIe: better forget about this. At least in mainline Linux it will never be implemented but maybe someone masochistic enough will dig into Allwinner’s BSP kernel mess and add a driver for some ‘generic’ hardware like a PCIe-SATA controller. Allwinner’s BSP contains only some hacked drivers for PCIe hardware that is part of their reference design (e.g.… Read more »
From following the mainline Linux development for the H6, it looks like the PCI-E is broken on them and will stay that way. Short of any likely performance killing hack or dedicated drivers, it will never have general purpose PCI-E. So, I wouldn’t count PCI-E among the H6’s benefits.
which one is the best and stable amlogic, allwinner or rockchip
Assuming you want an Android TV box, Amlogic is usually the better choice.
Amlogic has the support of developers, that’s all that matters. Allwinner is the least supported. Rockchip is a good alternative for either the lowest end or top end, amlogic rules the middle ground. Its kodi… if you have good support there you win.