Khadas VIM3L (Amlogic S905D3) Benchmarks, Settings & System Info

Khadas VIM3L is the first Amlogic S905D3 SBC on the market and is sold as a lower-cost alternative to the company’s VIM3 board with a focus on the HTPC / media player market.

Shenzhen Wesion was kind enough to send me a sample for review, and I’ll start by checking out benchmarks and system information in Android 9.0 Pie operating system. I also plan to perform a more detailed review with Android 9.0 and CoreELEC with a focus on media playback.

Khadas VIM3L Heatsink

I received the bare board only, and the first thing I did was to install it the heatsink I received for VIM3 and in turn, install it in the acrylic case. The company told me the heatsink is not really necessary “for normal purpose using like watch TV”, but it should be installed for performance tests and heavy workloads. I’d still recommend purchasing the heatsink to make sure it works well during the summer months as well.

Upgrading Android 9.0 Firmware

The board comes pre-loaded with Android 9.0 Pie, but mine was dated August 12, 2019 with Google Play. OTA firmware is not usually implemented in development board, and this is the case for Khadas VIM3L, so I followed the firmware flashing instructions for Khadas VIM3 to do the same for VIM3L in my Ubuntu 18.04 laptop

Basically, I had to connect the board through a USB-C cable to my computer, enter flash mode (press F key three times) and run the following commands:


It worked well, and the new firmware does come with Google Play which makes it so much easier for testing.

Android 9.0 Amlogic S905X3 Google Play
Click for Original Size

The new firmware is dated October 11th with Linux 4.9.113, and as usual the Android security patch level is an afterthought

VIM3L Android 9.0 Firmware

Khadas VIM3L Settings

This version is fairly specific to Khadas VIM3/VIM3L since some of the settings won’t be available in other Amlogic S905X3/S905D3 devices.

VIM3L 4K HDMI CEC
Click to Enlarge

However, “Droid settings” comes with options that should be common to all S905D3/X3 devices. We can see the board can handle 4K 60 Hz when connecting to LG 42UB820T UHD television, and there are options for HDMI CEC, audio output, and power button.

Khadas VIM3L Android Settings
Click to Enlarge

Clicking on “More Settings” will bring us to “Settings”, and selecting Device Preferences brings up some unusual options such as cooling fan, LEDs, WOL, Toggle USB 3.0/PCIE.

Khadas VIM3L WOL, LED, Cooling Fan
Click to Enlarge

The cooling fan option is probably not useful for VIM3L since it runs cooler than VIM3 and a fan is not needed. The LEDs option lets you turn on/off the LED, or makes them blink. WOL (Wake-on-LAN) looks like a fun option, and maybe I should cover it in a separate post if I can manage to make it work.

VIM3L USB 3.0 PCIe Sound Storage
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Amlogic S905D3, and other recent media processors from the company happen to come with USB 3.0 and PCIe interface, but those are multiplexed, so you can only select one at a time. This is used to select the M.2 SSD socket or USB 3.0 port on the board. The Sound option allows to manually select audio codec supported by your system (e.g. DTS HD or Dolby TrueHD) or let it select then for you automatically.

Khadas VIM3 System Info

Let’s now run CPU-Z app to get more details about the system and processor.

Khadas VIM3L CPU-Z
Click to Enlarge

The system correctly reports an unknown quad-core Arm Cortex-A55 processor clocked at up to 1.91 GHz with a Mali-G31 GPU. Frame buffer resolution is 1920×1080, and Khadas VIM3L board does come with 2007MB RAM, and a 16GB flash of which 9.47 GB is available. Android 9 runs on top of Linux 4.9.113, and idle temperature is around 52°C with the heatsink and a room temperature of around 27°C.

Khadas VIM3L DRM Info
Click to Enlarge

Since the board targets the HTPC market I also ran DRM info app, and as one should have expected DRM is limited to Widevine Level L3 meaning some premium content may have issues to play at HD and UHD resolutions. One curious item is the Fingerprint “OnePlus/OnePlus6/OnePlus6:81.0” so maybe they took some DRM part from the phone firmware?

Amlogic S905D3 Benchmarks

We already have some benchmarks for Amlogic S905X3 courtesy of Beelink GT2 mini TV box, but it’s always good to run our own with more details, to double-check Amlogic S905D3 and S905X3 do indeed have similar performance.

Starting with Antutu 7.x.

Amlogic S905D3 Benchmarks: Antutu 7
Click to Enlarge

64,276 points is quite better than Amlogic S912 octa-core Cortex-A53 processor score (Khadas VIM2) with 51,640 points, but we must take into account that the Mali-G31 found in S905D3 is more advanced than the Mali-820MP3 in S912 which does not support OpenGL ES 3.1 and failed in 3D refinery score with 0 points. Adjusting for this we get 56,955 points for S905D3 which is still slightly better.

Compared to Amlogic A311D/S922X-B SoC, however, Amlogic S905D3/S905X3 is obviously quite slower, with about half the score since Khadas VIM3 board gets over 130,000 points.

PCMark 10 is a good performance to get a feel about “desktop” performance.

Amlogic S905D3 Benchmarls: PCMark 10
Click to Enlarge

Khadas VIM3L got 4,100 points against 5,968 points in Khadas VIM3, and 4,805 points in a Rockchip RK3399 development board. So the difference in performance is less striking here. Compared to the older S912 processor (3,297 points), S905X3 is again quite faster.

3DMark focuses on 3D graphics performance with gaming benchmarks.

Amlogic S905D3 benchmarks: 3DMark
Click to Enlarge

Results are as follow:

  1. Ice Storm Unlimited – 10,076 points
  2. Ice Storm Extreme – 5,717 points
  3. Sling Shot – 519 points
  4. Sling Shot Extreme – OpenGL ES 3.1 – 341 points

If we focus on the last one, Amlogic A311D (Arm Mali-G52MP) is clearly ahead with 1,187 points, and Amlogic S905D3 (Arm Mali-G31MP) is still less than half the performance against Rockchip RK3399 (Arm Mali-860MP4) with 819 points. But that should be expected for a lower cost processor. Amlogic S912 would not run Sling Shot Extreme since Mali-820MP3 would not support but if we compare Sling Shot (473 points), S905X3 is only slightly ahead.

Amlogic S905D3 benchmarks results are more or less as one should have expected, and similar to the ones found with S905X2 processor.

Khadas VIM3L can currently be pre-ordered for $59.99 with shipping scheduled to start on October 30th. But you may want to instead consider the $79.99 HTPC Kit instead since it already includes the heatsink ($9.90) and DIY case ($14.99) as well as an IR remote control.

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Hugh Mayle

My Meecool bb2 Pro Amlogic S912 has a Mali-820MP3 GPU and A53 cores. Are there different versions of the S912?

NicoD
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Hi. Some small mistakes, the S912 is an A53 octa-core with the Mali-T820 MP3 GPU.
I’m no Android user so I’ve got no idea what all those numbers mean.
Will you do a Linux review with it too? Greetings.

willy
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willy

It’s good news that you received yours, asit indicates they’re probably still on schedule and we can expect our orders to be fullfilled in time 🙂

xtract
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Theguyuk
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Theguyuk

I doubt it has anything to worry from the new Rockchip 3368pro SoC now selling in products. They seem to have just tacked a usb 3 on the octa core A53 1.5ghz.

ricklar
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ricklar

The next generation Rockchip rk3530 should out perform Amlogic mid-tier chips like the S905D3. Pricing is not yet been released, with Google choosing Amlogic for their devices in 2019 and 2020, is good indication that the Rockchip may be a lot higher in price once released. Rockchip’s goal is to have the best multimedia 64-bit SoC for budget tablets, budget Chromebooks, and STB’s.

Ricklar
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Ricklar

One thing to *Note about the Khadas $80 HTPC CoreELEC kit is that it doesn’t include the $7 PowerSupply Unit or the $2 Thermal Pad to sandwich in between the board and bottom metal plate. So little oversights like that make me realize that the $75 Odriod-N2 HTPC CoreELEC kit is the absolute best deal for dollar-to-dollar-to-performance comparison of all the Single Board Computers available to purchase currently to be used for multimedia purposes.