Allwinner 2023-2024 roadmap reveals A736/A737 Arm Cortex-A78/A76 processors

Allwinner should launch new Cortex-A76/A55 and Cortex-A78/A55 processors in 2024 according to the company’s roadmap including the Allwinner A736/A737 for tablets and the T736/T737 designed for automotive and industrial applications.

In recent years, we’ve seen Rockchip and Amlogic introduce more powerful processors with the Rockchip RK3588 octa-core Cortex-A76/A55 processor and Amlogic A311D2 octa-core Cortex-A73/A53 or the more recent Amlogic S928X Cortex-A76/A55 for 8K TV boxes. But we’re still seeing some recent boards based on Allwinner Cortex-A7 32-bit processors, although recently we covered the Allwinner A523 octa-core Cortex-A55 processor for tablets.

So today, I decided to go on a quest to find out whether Allwinner plans to use 64-bit Arm “big” cores in their future design. I first ended up on the linux-sunxi website where they list the Allwinner T736 octa-core “sun60i” processor with two Cortex-A76 cores and six Cortex-A55 cores, but no other details. This leads me to some “notes” on GitHub with five Allwinner processors featuring big 64-bit Arm cores:

  • R923 (4xA73+4xA53+1xRISCV(E906), sun60i new product 2023/2024, 12nm)
  • A736/T736 (2xA76+6xA55, IMG BXM, new product 2023/2024, 12nm)
  • A737/T737 (2xA78+6xA55, IMG BXM, 12nm)

That looks more interesting, and eventually, I found an Allwinner roadmap for 2021 to 2024 hosted on the website of a Russian distributor called MT System. Note the document is composed of several roadmaps, one for each product segment, and shows the years 2021, 2023, and 2024, so it may be a couple of years old. But let’s have a look anyway…

The document starts with “Intelligent Hardware” SoCs that we would typically find in IoT/AIoT products.

Allwinner Roadmap 2023 2024 R923

We’ve already written about the Allwinner R128 wireless microcontroller and the R828 looks to be the same as the aforementioned A523. This leaves us with the Allwinner R923, scheduled for 2024, with the following key features and specifications:

  • CPU – 4x Cortex-A73, 4x Cortex-A53, E906 RISC-V core
  • GPU  – Arm Mali-G57 MC2
  • DSP – HiFi 4
  • AI accelerator – 4 TOPS NPU
  • VPU
    • H.264 4Kp60 decoder
    • H.264 4Kp60 encoder, H.265 1080p60 encoder
  • Memory – 64-bit DDR3/DDR4/LPDDR3/LPDDR4X
  • Display I/F – HDMI 2.1, MIPI DSI, LVDS, eDP, RGB
  • Camera I/F – 8M ISP, 4x MIPI CSI, 2x DVP
  • Ethernet – 2x GMAC
  • USB – USB 3.1, 3x USB 2.0
  • PCIe 3.0
  • Process – 12nm

The processor looks suitable for AIoT gateways and NVR systems with multiple cameras. The hardware decoding capabilities feel a bit underwhelming for this type of processor with apparently only 4Kp60 H.264 supported (TBC).

Allwinner has a category of Arm SoC specially designed for robot vacuum cleaners.

Allwinner MR828 Octa core Cortex A55 SoC

The new model is the 22nm Allwinner MR828 octa-core Cortex-A55 processor, but – as I understand it – it’s the same as the Allwinner A523 just sold under a different business unit and possibly a different SDK for support for features required by robot vacuum cleaners.

Allwinner smart camera SoCs will finally switch to 64-bit cores with three new processors for 4K, 4-5MP, and 2-3MP cameras.

Allwinner Camera Processors 2023 2024

The company did not disclose the cores used for the R863 and R861 scheduled to launch later this year and in 2024 respectively, but we have a few more details for the 4K-capable Allwinner R875 SoC:

  • CPU – 2x Cortex-A55 with DSP @ 1.5 GHz
  • VPU – 8M H.264/H.265 codec
  • AI accelerator – 2TOPS NPU
  • Memory – 32-bit DDR3/DDR4/LPDDR4
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Camera – 8M ISP with 3F WDR support
  • PCIe

It’s when it comes to tablet processors that things get more interesting as Allwinner will get some mid-range solutions (which may become entry-level in 2024) with the Allwinner A736 and A737  processors manufactured using a 12nm process likely from SMIC.

Allwinner Roadmap 2023 2024 tablet processors

Allwinner A736 key features:

  • Octa-core CPU with 2x Arm Cortex-A76 @ 2.0 GHz, 6x Arm Cortex-A55 cores @ 1.8 GHz
  • GPU – Imagination BXM-4-64 MC2 (as found in Alibaba T-Head TH1520 RISC-V SoC)
  • AI accelerator – 4 TOPS NPU
  • 12nm process

Allwinner A737 key features:

  • Octa-core CPU with 2x Arm Cortex-A78, 6x Arm Cortex-A55 cores
  • GPU – Imagination BXM-4-64 MC2 (as found in Alibaba T-Head TH1520 RISC-V SoC)
  • AI accelerator – 6 TOPS NPU
  • 12nm process

Sadly, we don’t have any information about the interfaces, but they should be more power-efficient than the Rockchip RK3588 processor and suitable for battery-powered devices.

automotive industrial SoCs

The Allwinner T736 and T737 should be the same as the Allwinner A736/A737 processors but sold by a different business unit and with a separate SDK. However, the 2023-2024 roadmap for industrial and automotive SoCs also shows a HiFi 4 DSP in the Allwinner T736 and T737, and the latter is said to include a hypervisor and the aim to be compliant with the ISO26262 functional safety standard for road vehicles.

So I guess it’s progress even though it feels like Allwinner is two years late.

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16 Comments
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tonny
tonny
10 months ago

I don’t know why one would get Allwinner A736 (2x big A76) & A737 (2x big A78) with 12nm node when you can get 4x big A76 with 8nm node, except when the price diff is quite significant.

Willy
10 months ago

All but impressive. Even the frequencies are low for such devices, and the core counts… well, just the bare minimum to say “look we now have A7x” and pay minimal license fees. The reality is just that allwinner once ruled the low-end tablet market, and that by sticking forever to A7 and A53 they’ve completely missed their targets. They’re not relevant anymore.

back2future
back2future
10 months ago

[ they combine ARM (cpu) and RISC-V (bxm-4-64-mc1: experiences(?), mainlineKernel(?) ‘https://www.imaginationtech.com/product/img-bxm-4-64-mc1’, ‘https://developer.imaginationtech.com/downloads’) on system bus (interesting and maybe lower cost for A76/A78 SBC versions, depending on availability on markets vs. Linux mobiles) ]

back2future
back2future
10 months ago

[ they combine ARM (cpu) and RISC-V (bxm-4-64-mc1: experiences(?), mainlineKernel(?) ‘https://www.imaginationtech.com/product/img-bxm-4-64-mc1’, ‘https://developer.imaginationtech.com/downloads’, ‘https://university.imgtec.com/teaching-download/’) on system bus (interesting and maybe lower cost for A76/A78 SBC versions, depending on availability on markets vs. Linux mobiles vs. 3digits ARM cpus (v9_A7xx & valhall gpus) ) ]

Cinos
Cinos
10 months ago

“Octa-core CPU with 2x Arm Cortex-A76 @ 2.0 GHz, four Arm Cortex-A55”

Hexa-core or 2 cores are missing.

Gnattu
Gnattu
10 months ago

It’s 6 A55 from the slides

Willy
10 months ago

two or more of them were useless anyway 😉

back2future
back2future
10 months ago

Btw, what is ‘now’ small cores with A55 was A72 before (for same clock speeds)(?) More advanced instruction set, lower power (smaller node gates) and probably sufficient for todays light desktop usage profiles. Not meant for A76/A78/A7xx/X{1;4} comparison.

back2future
back2future
10 months ago

with some reading found there’s still a difference (depending on computing task ~0.4-0.8 with A72 being 1.0 for reference)
~2*A55 compares to ~1*A72 (DMIPS)

Willy
10 months ago

Yes I agree. A55 is still in-order but has a good memory controller and is extremely efficient. Also we must not forget that as CPUs improve, applications regress and what was great yesterday is ridiculous nowadays. I used to find my 486-dx2-66 wonderful 😉

rreignier
rreignier
10 months ago

In the description of the T736 it is written:
> Allwinner T736 octa-core “sun60i” processor with two Cortex-A76 cores and six Cortex-A76 cores
But the 6 cores should be A55 and not A76.

Radoslaw
10 months ago

allwinner and big cores? won’t believe it until he sees it. A523 it is ghost chip.

tkaiser
tkaiser
10 months ago

> A523 it is ghost chip

At least one tablet is using it: Higrace OC101. But this SoC has no big cores as well, only eight Cortex-A55/r2p0 in two clusters running at different speeds.

David Willmore
David Willmore
10 months ago

Allwinner should launch new Cortex-A78/A55 and Cortex-A78/A55 processors

I assume one of those should be A76? Thanks for the writeup, Jean-Luc.

Sadly, I don’t see any chips in here that interest me. A72+A53? Why?????
Some of those A7[68]/A55 may be interesting, but IMG GPU? Yeah, hard pass. Might as well be headless for all the good it will do. Then again, I mostly use my SBCs headless. Don’t like to pay for a GPU I’m not using and certainly not *that* company.

Looks like Rockchip is still the way to go for the next few years. Maybe AmLogic.

nobitakun
nobitakun
10 months ago

What is the meaning of “more power efficient than RK3588”? Rockchip SoC is based on 8nm. I doubt it would be a lot of difference between them. Also, even with 2x A78, they are surely underclocked. RK3588 is still the winner either for emulation and for daily tasks.

linuxgeex
10 months ago

I hope that ARM sues Allwinner to force them to drop the A7xx naming, which is an obvious false advertising move – implying to suppliers and tertiary customers that they are using the A7xx IP cores, which they absolutely are not.

Khadas VIM4 SBC