A80 Octa core BigLittle SoC from Allwinner will be ready in 2014


Eva Wu from Allwinner marketing sent me the new logo for A80.

There is no much info about it yet, but it will be 8 core (4xCortex-A15 and 4xCortexA7) and Allwinner is working now on it. Probably it will have 8-16 GPU co-processors too, we hope these to be MALI but there are great chances these to be PowerVR like A31, Eva is silent on this.

This new 8-core SoC will position Allwinner again on top of Rockchip which work on Cortex-A12 and have now RK3188 which is the most productive Chinese SoC with 4-core Cortex-A9.

It’s great to see how these two companies penetrate in such fields where the Western companies dominated just few years ago and now are in the league where the big boys Samsung. Mediatek, Qualcomm etc are playing.

With 8-core the small linux computers will become desktop productivity. Let’s hope Allwinner will keep the SATA, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI like in A20.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ligu
    Oct 01, 2013 @ 10:42:38

    They might not even have decided which GPU to include. Maybe they listen to customer feedback and you should try to convince them not to use PowerVR, since this seems to be the only GPU with no open source efforts at all. Best would be, if they used some architecture that is good for programmers. Etnaviv developers said, Vivante GC has a quite regular instruction set and is less weird than MALI, for instance. This article also suggests that Vivante GPUs achieve best image quality: http://www.cnx-software.com/2013/05/07/vivante-gc4000-is-the-best-mobile-gpu-when-it-comes-to-accuracy/

    Of course, not publishing technical programming references for their chips and IP cores on the SoC is ridiculous in the first place, but they certain don’t have to use the most developer-unfriendly chip on the market (PowerVR). Rockchip is going to use Mali-T624 in their upcoming RK32xx, but there is no support for this one yet and if I remember correctly, some LIMA developer said that the its architecture was rather different from the MALI-200/400 series, so it would be good if Allwinner went for Vivante GC for their next chips. Maybe they could even give some documentation out for it. Vivante has different cores in its portfolio for 2D, 3D and vector graphics. Freescale, for instance, uses several of them in their chips.


  2. AdrianoARG
    Oct 01, 2013 @ 11:09:07

    You know, every single game on the itunes is programmed to run on PowerVR, and technicaly they port the same game to Android (PowerVR version).
    You can’t ask for Vivante, when nobody on the market support that GPU (i’m talking from the consumer point of view, not programmer or similar).
    To me, if they go with the PowerVR 6 series, is an automatic Win. And sorry for my english…


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Oct 01, 2013 @ 11:17:17

      from Android point of view PowerVR may be good, but from linux point of view will be disaster like A31 – we will not see Linux support with open source drivers for A31 soon and from Linux SBC point of vew A80 will be useless for graphics, if they do not include SATA and Gigabit there will be no benefit as server too


    • Oknok
      Oct 05, 2013 @ 16:27:40

      It is unclear how anybody can develop software for a chip whose instruction set is kept secret. In game programming, I would expect some API like OpenGL or DirectX or some fancy other one to be used. This is also the case for GPGPU programming where you have OpenCL or CUDA. There are also domain specific languages or language extensions around that individual vendors are trying to push. GPU vendors typically provide drivers for a selection of these APIs, so that porting from iOS to Android should not require manual changes with respect to a particular GPU, if a standard API is used. The problem that lies in a secret instruction set is, that people must rely on the GPU vendor to provide drivers for their hardware, which they only do for APIs and operating systems that they deem worthy of supporting. You can’t implement your own drivers if they don’t provide technical details of their chips. So you can’t create an own API and implement it or support your own operating system without technical documentation from these GPU manufacturers.

      Actually, the problem exists with all current players in the ARM SoC market, which is quite annoying. Fortunately, AMD has annouced own ARM SoCs for next year, which will use their Radeon GPUs (or whatever they’re calling them now or then). AMD publishes technical documentation for their chips. If AMD can do it, why can’t those other vendors? There’s no excuse.

      Chances are, that AMD’s chips will become the best choice in terms of both performance and documentation. A development board with AMD SoC could be the solution to the current pain. I wonder why there are no OlinuXinos with AMD chips. AMD’s G Series chips for embedded systems should be interesting for a lot of people, actual products seem to be rare though. I wonder why they are ignored and not used in more products. It’s really frustrating.


  3. Kaj Wiik
    Oct 01, 2013 @ 12:46:37

    OpenMP will become very important to harness all the power. Very interesting!

    Will there be a board from Olimex for Xmas 2014 :-D?


  4. eas
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 22:30:14

    Octocore seems great for the Olimex-crowd, but totally meaningless for the intended market of these chips, except for lazy and misleading spec-based marketing.

    Even on “desktop” operating systems, octocore seems a questionable value. I have a quadcore i7 laptop with hyperthreading. There are some times (media encoding, parallel gzip) where 8 threads pay off, but it is only really practical when I am plugged into AC power. When I am on battery, i don’t want more stuff happening in the background, I want less. I am looking forward to the next version of OSX because it will coalesce background tasks to avoid waking the CPU as often and the new version of Safari it includes is supposed to do more to limit CPU consumption by background webpages.

    What it boils down to is that more cores are really most useful with software support, both in taking advantage of all that power, and managing power consumption.


  5. phandroid324
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 10:47:58

    Here’s hoping Allwinner decide on Mali, since that’ll make this chip a killer SoC for Linux+Android combo. Use android in tablet form, then dock the tablet, and boot into linux for more traditional computational tasks, a true all-in-one solution.


  6. leafar
    Nov 27, 2013 @ 03:04:21

    After all Allwinner it’s doing a good job with A31 best GPU so far in all Chinese chipmakers.the new A23 higher 1.5 GHz on the market and efficient too.
    For octa core A80 if allwinner makes the A7 cortez to a 1.5 GHz and efficient too like A23 with 4 cores or a new design A31 up to 1.5GHz, and A15 4 cores up to 2 GHz with the same technology of mediatek ,all 8 cores running at same time I think they mentioned, supporting Linux,Windows and android, they are going to be ahead in this competition.
    About the GPU I like power vr,but they are no friendly, and other about allwinner library or libraries, the cedar v DSP codes hardware acceleration, right now they have problems with latest products. I hope they can manage this situation, but mediateck ,Samsung and renesse are using power vr 6 series.
    So the other to choice are Mali or vivanti no much about it,but I think that allwinner know that this is the key to do better in this competition.


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