A64-OLinuXino update


We just got some more information from Allwinner for A64 and the good news is that it have Gigabit Ethernet interface!

So beside the WiFi + BT 4.0 A64-OLinuXino will have also native Gigabit Ethernet interface :)

We work on A64-OLinuXino the first Open Source Hardware 64-bit development board


A64 was announced January this year by Allwinner. It’s a quad core 64 bit Cortex-A53 processor targeting tablets.

Some features are:

  • H.265/H.264 video decoding in hardware
  • HDMI 4K display support
  • DDR3L memory with lower consumption is supported
  • eMMC 5.0 support

Last week we got notice that Allwinner have already A64 in production and we will get some chips with the software SDK for Android 5.1 based on Linux Kernel 3.10 by the end of the month (yes they finally escaped from Kernel 3.4 :) ), so we started to work on our A64-OLinuXino.

This chip is with humble peripherials, as Allwinner target and announcement is to sell it for $5 in volume (obviously not for mortals as we have to buy the first chips at higher than this price).

  • LCD parallel RGB, LCD LVDS, MIPI and HDMI video output
  • Camera interface
  • One USB Host
  • One USB-OTG
  • Two SPI
  • Four I2C
  • Six UARTs

As you can see no Ethernet, no SATA, no PCIe, but this is what you get for $5 right ?

What we found is also that although being 64-bit ARM the A64 memory bus is just 32-bit wide, we guess to make BOM smaller.

This will hurt the performance, so we have to see how it will behave compared to A20 and H3 for instance.

A64-OLinuXino initial specs will be:

  • A64 4 core Cortex-A53
  • AXP803 PMU + Audio support
  • 1GB or 2GB DDR RAM
  • 4GB NAND Flash oe eMMC
  • micro SD card connector
  • micro USB-OTG
  • 2Mpix Camera on board
  • HDMI 4K output
  • Audio Output, Input
  • LCD connector to connect with all our LCD-OLinuXino 4.3″ 7.0″ 10.1″ 15.6″
  • RTL8723BS WiFi + BT4.0 on board for connectivity
  • GPIO connector with access to all processor resources
  • 5V power input

This will be our first 64 bit ARM board and also the first OLinuXino we make completely with KiCAD.

If everything goes smoothly we will have first prototypes by end of November and depend on how fast we can test the software we may have these run in production for Christmas :) the goal is to make 64-bit ARM with EUR 64 retail price!

As I expect A64 with 4 cores Cortex-A53 will behave well running Desktop Linux so we are evaluating the option to find some Chinese laptop manufacturer and ask them to supply us just with some light laptop body with decent 10.1-11.6″ LCD display, camera and keyboard with touch-pad. We can re-design A64 board to fit inside this laptop body and to make light under 1 kg laptop running Linux.

One of the problem is that A64 is quite new and no any Linux-Sunxi support, as nobody have seen A64 development boards yet. SO it may pass several months until A64-OLinuXino run anything else than Android 5.1

A64 the first Cortex-A53 chip from Allwinner is now in production and cost only $5 in volume


In January 2015 Allwinner announced that start working on their Cortex-A53 chip with name A64. Today we got notice that A64 now is in production and ready for ordering.

A64 target is tablets, it have quad core Cortex-A53 inside, with Mali400MP2 GPU, supports MIPI, RGB, LVDS, HDMI with 4K output. The video engine supports H.264 and H.265 encoding and decoding, Audio codec and 5Mpix camera sensor.

The connectivity is weak – no native Ethernet, but just USB-OTG and USB-Host, SPI, I2C, UARTs and LRADC.

The price is again smashing $5 for the A64 SoC probably this is the lowest cost Quad Core Cortex-A53 chip on the market.

A64 comes in small sexy 13×13 mm BGA443 package with 0.5 mm step which makes PCB escape a little bit expensive and minimum 6 Layer PCB design with quite demanding technology.

Allwinner works on 64-bit Quad core Cortex-A53 SoC named Allwinner A64 to be released for $5


Just few months ago the only ARM 64-bit platform to test apps was iPhone6 and development boards with 64-bit processors cost $3000.

Now Allwinner announced that they will release entry level tablet Cortex-A53 Quad core processor for $5, this means there will be sub $100 development boards for ARM 64-bit as soon as Allwinner start selling these chips :)

Still no complete info about the features, Allwinner made practice to announce chips when they start working on them, not when they have them finished which is a bit annoying as these chips are released about year later (like the announcement for A80 one year ago).

No word for connectivity if this SOC will have SATA/Ethernet or will rely on USB3.0 as in Allwinner A80.

One more great news is that they finally decided to move to Linux 3.10 kernel and to start using device tree. This will make mainline Linux support much easier.

2015 will be interesting year :) via cnx-software

ARM in near future – what’s next?


Now we have Cortex-A9 as mainstream, Cortex-A15 as high-end productivity and Cortex-A7 as low power, budged/entry level.

The Cortex A12 IP has been finalized as of a couple of weeks ago and is now available to licensees for integration. The first designs will likely ship in silicon in a bit over a year, with the first devices implementing Cortex A12 showing up in late 2014 or early 2015.


So in near future we will have: Cortex-A57 as high-end, Cortex-A53 as entry level and Cortex-A12 as mainstream processors.

More info on Cortex-A12 is available on http://www.anandtech.com/show/7126/the-arm-diaries-part-2-understanding-the-cortex-a12/2

RK3188 USD 12 Quad Core Cortex-A9 running at 1.8Ghz


RK3188 is Quad Core Cortex-A9 processor running at up to 1.8 GHz produced on 28 nm process, with Quad core Mali 400 @ 533 Mhz.

This SoC  was released just few months ago but took the tablet and Android devices market by storm like this was done one year ago by A10 from Allwinner.

The competition between these two companies Rockchip and Allwinner is with long traditions. The result is incredible productivity combined with rock bottom low prices as the stake is million devices Android market.

RK3188 is build on 28 nm process which allow it to work reliable up to 1.6-1.8Ghz although overclocing up to 1.92Ghz with proper cooling is reported here: http://liliputing.com/2013/06/rockchip-rk3188-chip-overclocked-to-run-at-1-92-ghz.html

If you look at ebay now there are lot of RK3188 devices at very competitive prices.

With so many RK3188 devices it’s just matter of time Linux community around Rockchip to be formed same as the Linux-Sunxi community around Allwinner chips.

There are already several blog posts for Ubuntu running on RK3188 http://liliputing.com/2013/06/ubuntu-up-and-running-on-android-min-pcs-with-rk3188-chips.html

and Linux sources http://liliputing.com/2013/06/linux-source-code-for-rockchip-rk3188-devices-now-available.html some very basic functionality also hit mainline.

More links: http://www.omegamoon.com/blog/ and https://github.com/aloksinha2001

IRC channel at freenode #linux-rockchip is set where RK3188 Linux developers chat.

Unfortunately there is almost no info for RK3188 on internet.

The only RK3188 brief is available which I put on Github https://github.com/OLIMEX/OLINUXINO/tree/master/HARDWARE/RK3188-PDFs .

Rockchip seems much more closed than Allwinner. While Allwinner already learned that Open Source community just help them to sell more Chips by providing Linux support for free, Rockchip is still one year behind and do not see any benefits from Linux and Open Source.

If you look at their web site there are no e-mails (actually there is one e-mail which they do not answer at all) and just few phones for distributors in different Chinese sites.

As the chip is new, it still have not hit the stocking distributors in Shenzhen too.  So how you buy chips?

Not easy! I asked Chinese friend to call these phones and ask for sales person – he did but from Rockchip ask him for the Chinese name of the sales person he want to contact to connect him?!? hmmmmm, typical Chicken-Egg problem – to buy chips you have to contact sales person, but you cant contact him if you do not know him :)

Tom Cubie (aka hipboi) who made Cubieboard wrote on irc channel that  visited Rockchip and learned that Rockchip targets to sell 50 millions RK3188 chips this year, no wonder they are not interested in selling chips to some smallish Western customers who will just bother them with GPL sources and endless technical support questions.

Also interesting info which Tom shared is that the volume price of RK3188 is USD $12.00 ( or $3 per 1.8GHz Cortex-A9 core !) now this is the reason for the so low cost of RK3188 devices. Sure this price will be not for mortal non-Chinese who buy less 100 Kpcs, but whatever margin above it have in the sales chain it will be still much more below th $40 price for the 1Ghz 4 core iMX6 for instance.

SO RK3188 is really interesting Chip and if we can obtain more info we would be definitely interested to release OLinuXino with it.

After some days bothering Rockchip on the phone and presening Olimex we seems to break the ice.

The key was to show them the A10, A10S, A13, A20 boards we did already for Allwinner.

Rockchip sent us NDA to complete and now we are waiting their HQ to approve us and eventually to give us access to more info so we can complete board with RK3188.

Crossing fingers this to happen soon ;)



STM32-H407 is our new board with STM32F407ZGT6 168Mhz Cortex M4 microcontroller with 1MB of Flash, 192KB RAM.

This is OSHW design and once we validate the design the CAD files will be uploaded on GitHub.

STM32-F407 board have:
– Input DCDC power supply which allow operation from 6-16VDC source
– USB host
– micro SD card
– Reset and User buttons
– Arduino platform
– UEXT connector
– JTAG connector
– 4 full 32-bit Ports with the external memory bus for add-on modules

Here you can see STM32-H407 loaded with SHIELD-EKG/EMG:


After the prototype validation we will move this board for production and it will be available around end of May. The preliminary target release price is EUR 29.95

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