Allwinner S3 Dual Camera SoC Includes 128MB RAM, an I2S Audio Interface

Allwinner V3s  processor was introduced a little over a year ago with a single Arm Cortex A7 core, 64MB DRAM built-in, and designed for camera applications with parallel CSI and 4-lane MIPI CSI2 interfaces

It looks like Allwinner has now launched an updated version with Allwinner S3, still based on Cortex A7, but increasing memory to 128MB, and adding some interfaces like I2S.

We don’t have a whole lot of information, apart from a development board (SC1615S) on Taobao with the following (tentative) specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner / Sochip S3 Cortex-A7 processor with 128MB DDR3
  • Storage – 16MB NOR Flash, 4GB eMMC flash,  SPI NAND flash, micro SD card
  • Display I/F – LCD, LVDS, touch panel connectors, HDMI port
  • Camera I/F – 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI, 1x parallel CSI
  • Audio – HP, 2x MIC, speaker headers, PCM header
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth (AP6212 or XR819 module) with u.FL antenna connector
  • USB – 2x USB host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion – GPIO header, RS485 header,
  • Misc – 6x keys (Power, reset, volume, etc..), switch,
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A DC-in power barrel jack; header for 3.7-4.2V battery; AXP203 PMIC

The full development kit include a smartphone display, one camera board, cables, and a power supply. The page on Taobao also shows the content of the SDK with schematics, datasheet, documentation,  and software tools, but unless I missed it, not direct download link. For some reasons, the kit is quite expensive  at 2,800 CNY (about $445), which compares to ~$186 for a similar Sochip Allwinner V3s devkit.

There’s info about video encoding, but V3s supports H.264 encoding up to 1080p40, or 1080p30 + VGA@30fps, so S3 is likely the same, especially according to a discussion on linux-sunxi IRC last year, Allwinner S3 is a re-packaged version of V3s using BGA package with  memory upgraded to 128MiB DDR3 , and some new functions wired like an external PHY interface, and I2S.

I could not find any information on Allwinner website at this stage.

Thanks to Jon for the tip.

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18 Replies to “Allwinner S3 Dual Camera SoC Includes 128MB RAM, an I2S Audio Interface”

    1. I have the datasheet. Yes, it’s POP version of allwinner V3. It has one built-in DDR3 memory. You can contact sochip for more details.

  1. If this is V3 in POP package, that would explain things. Many cellphone SOC vendors sell CPUs with POP packaging but it is like a semi-custom product and not in their general catalog. POP support is typically done because a large customer asks for it, I wonder who is the large S3 customer? It would have to be someone who is space constrained since you can add external DRAM to the V3.

    1. Doesn’t PoP save you some power vs long board traces? Also, possibly better performance instead?

      1. POP is not a simple thing to do, you have to locate the matching DRAM chip to put on top of the POP base. Some POP tops contain both DRAM and Flash.

        So in a cell phone you can see that this saves a tremendous amount of PCB space – maybe replacing 20cm2 of PCB with 4cm2.

        POP should have no impact on performance. It does have a big impact on thermal design so you have to account for that. In general this is a specialized technology which is only used in very high volume products.

        1. Jon, would pop used on a TV box SoC, enable reduced cost in production ( less parts to source, less parts to solder, smaller PCB and less dram, emmc price fluctuations )?

          1. Thanks for the link and reply. I still wonder if doing more at the chip stage in packaging can substantially reduce later production costs? Sadly I can not yet answer my little thought experiment.

          2. There are much easier ways to lower production cost than by changing the chip packaging. Top on that list is removing components from the design.

            But don’t get too carried away on production cost reduction. It does not make sense to spend $20K of engineering time removing a 5 cent component.

            Another item that people miss over and over and over. With most items it is rare to make more than 100K units before you change the design. All of that engineering effort going into lowering production costs can be lost when the design changes.

            You need to optimize the whole picture, not just the production costs.

          3. 100K units is not hard in China. Many car owners in China will buy carcorder when they buy the car. And Chinese buy more than 20M cars per year.
            Also, many Chinese family begin to buy more than one ipcam for home security.

  2. P.S. all the “new” functions exist in V3 die. V3s just doesn’t wire them out for package restriction.

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