Allwinner A31 Quad Core Cortex-A7 processors now are in production


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A31 is the first Allwinner’s 4 core processor.

Compared to A20 is should have double the productivity as have 64 bit RAM data bus and 4 cores vs 2 cores in A20.

How this compare to A10/A10S/A13 we still don’t know, but recent tests show that A20 perform 3 times faster than A10 although on paper it should be only 1.9 times faster.

A31 have PowerVR GPU with 8 cores, which will make it powerful for games and extensive graphics. One potential problem for using it with Linux is that Open Source community Lima project (http://limadriver.org) is mostly focused on reverse engineering MALI and they actually released open source drivers which performs faster and better than ARM own drivers which according to Luc Verhaegen’s blog (http://libv.livejournal.com) makes ARM managers quite unhappy as they have to sell something closed sourced which performs worse than the open source alternative 🙂

With the success on MALI/LIMADRIVER we are confident that Open Source community will have soon or later reverse engineering driver for PowerVR too, A31 is just too powerful and low cost to ignore!

A31 can address up to 2GB or DDR3 memory, Video output support up to 4096 x 4096 pixels, the camera video inputs are 4 and support 1Gbps stream i.e. 12Mpixel cameras can stream with up to 60fps.

A31 brief features are:

  • Cortex-A7 4 core processor
  • PowerVR GPU with 8 cores
  • up to 2GB DDR3 RAM support
  • two Audio DACs with 100dBA SNR and 192kHz sampling
  • 8/16bit NAND databus
  • GPADC with 12bit resolution 1MSPS
  • 4 independant SD/MMC controllers with up to 100Mhz clock, up to 128GB cards
  • USB-OTG 2.0
  • 2 USB HIGH SPEED HOSTS
  • LRADC 6-bit for buttons interface
  • two I2S/PCM 192kHz sampling and MCLK for external CODECs
  • 4 PWMs with prescallers
  • SPI/SSI interface with up to 150Mbps clock
  • Gigabit Ethernet GMII/MII interface
  • CIR – IR controller
  • 6 UARTs
  • 4 SPIs
  • 5 I2C
  • P2WI push-pull I2C

few days ago Allwinner sent us 1 tray of 84 pcs A31 + 84 pcs AXP221:

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… so after we complete A20-SOM we may decide to continue with A31-SOM unless something more interesting pop up.

A31 is real monster with 609 balls on 0.65mm step it may be not possible to route it on 4 layers.

Specially for A31 Allwinner designed AXP221 power managment device. AXP221 is also monster chip with 5 programmable DCDC convertors with 20mV step and 14 programmable LDOs with 100mV step, integrated MOSFET switches and LiPo Flash charging. We have never seen equivalent of this chip at other vendors.

What we will probably go for is A31-SOM with 2GB RAM and power managment on board + A31-EVB evaluation board which utilize A31-SOM.

The price of A31 is double than A20 and with the double amount of RAM we guess A31-SOM will cost about double what A20-SOM will cost.

As A31 uses 64 bit DDR memory bus it may be possible to design module which accept normal computer DIMM RAM modules, this is option which we will investigate further.

The A31 datasheet and some reference PDF schematics received from Allwinner are put on GitHub.

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jorge
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 11:49:46

    Does the A31 have SATA port(s)? With 2Gb RAM, 1Gb ethernet, and four cores it would make a very good low power server.

    Reply

  2. iso9660
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 12:46:12

    A31 will make an awesome device!

    Reply

  3. bat6oko
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 17:32:34

    a13 looks archaic to this specs

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jun 20, 2013 @ 23:08:28

      A13 was released just several moths ago 🙂 but indeed newer and faster processors are released every 6 months next year probably we will work with 8 core Cortex-A53/A57 processors with 16 core GPUs and 8000×8000 pixels displays which Allwinner will sell for $5 🙂

      Reply

  4. funlw65
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 21:33:21

    it needs a cooler?

    Reply

  5. Tom
    Jun 22, 2013 @ 20:18:23

    Thought you didnt want to use any Allwinner devices anymore due to bad support and GPL violating stuff?

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jun 22, 2013 @ 22:04:45

      Allwinner have significant progress toward GPL, actually they now cooperate with linux-sunxi developers and recently released the sources for their bootloader and Flash controller drivers, there is no other Chinese company which made such progress toward open source, Allwinner saw that they can benefit from being more open, but things happen step by step

      Reply

      • Tom
        Jun 23, 2013 @ 09:47:40

        Thats good to hear, may it be an example for other (Chinese) companies 🙂

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Jun 23, 2013 @ 11:49:06

        for the Chinese vendors everything is matter of money, they saw that having open source hardware with their processors bring more projects and sales with their chips, but this didnt happend overnight

  6. Rafi
    Oct 23, 2013 @ 14:53:01

    Waiting for the greatest A31..

    Reply

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