Allwinner did it again – New quad core powerful chip pin to pin compatible with A10 and A20!

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-1

A10 was one of most successful chips made by Allwinner, for couple of years it was top seller in tablets and other devices, A10 also was selected for our EUR 30 low cost Linux board the LIME.

Then Cortex-A8 single core become obsolete, then Allwinner released A20 – Dual Core more powerful and power efficient Cortex-A7 processor with pin to pin backward compatibility to A10.

This was incredible wise move for Allwinner as people could just re-use their old PCB designs without spending time to change PCBs.

A10/A20 had one nice feature – they have LCD, HDMI, SATA, Ethernet, in A20 Allwinner even add Gigabit Ethernet on top of the normal 100M Ethernet. All other new devices they release have either LCD either HDMI but not both and we miss SATA interface in all new Quad core devices they released.

Now they did it again – we got information from Allwinner that they are about to release Quad core more powerful processor which to be pin to pin compatible with A10/A20 we still don’t know the name, maybe A40 ? 🙂

Anyway this is very clever move as all existing designs which people have can be re-used. This means more modern SoC with more power but without forcing you to re-design your boards.

So expect Quad core LIME soon and I guess at same price range like other LIMEs!

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

A64

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

Allwinner_A64

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

Quad Core Cortex-A7 for $4

A33 Shipping Now-1

Allwinner just announced that in July they start the mass production of their A33 Quad core Cortex-A7 processor targeting low end tablets and media players.

With 1080p playback, MALI400MP2, integrated HIFI Audio codec, low power consumption the target is clear – handheld media player devices and tablets, so far nothing new.

The new is that A33 comes from the very beginning at shocking low price of only $4 i.e. $1 per core or about same price as ATmega328 in single quantity in Digikey 🙂

So either 8-bit processors are overpriced either the competition of these tablet SoC is so crazy that it drives the vendors to fall on the rock bottom from the start.

Allwinner used to keep the prices of the newly released chips high at the beginning then to decrease them at half after a year. A31 was something like $20 when they start selling it now is under $10.

Unfortunately A33 have no Ethernet connectivity, so not quite good choice for Linux computer.

So far A20 is Allwinner best solution with both SATA and Ethernet interfaces, even their newest and most powerful A80 missing SATA.

RK3188-SOM Quad Core Cortex-A9 running at 1.6GHz System On Module first prototypes work fine

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May is the month of our System On Modules 🙂

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Today our next SOM with RK3188 successfully was tested and OK.

This one is little beast comparing to A20 it have 4x Cortex-A9 vs 2x Cortex-A7 and runs on 1.6GHz vs. 1GHz so RK3188 makes total 16000 DMPIS vs. 3800 DMIPS for A20 (4.2 times faster) and vs. 965 DMIPS for RaspberryPi (16.6 times faster).

On the SOM there is:

  • RK3188 running at 1.6Ghz
  • 1GB DDR3 memory
  • Power Managment Unit IC
  • optional 4GB NAND Flash
  • micro SD-card to boot Llinux or Android
  • two buttons
  • three status LEDs
  • debug UART console
  • 5 GPIO connectors 2×20 pins 0.05″ step

RK3188-SOM and RK3188-SOM-4GB will be available for sale in June. The price of RK3188-SOM will be EUR 40 / 1000 pcs, the price of RK3188-SOM-4GB will be EUR 45 / 1000 pcs

RK3188-SOM-EVB is also available with Eagle CAD files, so any one can tailor board to his needs:

Image

The RK3188-SOM-EVB reference design have:

  • RK3188-SOM-4GB module
  • 4x USB Hosts
  • 1x USB OTG
  • HDMI output
  • 100MB Ethernet
  • RTC with backup battery
  • LCD connector compatible with A13-LCDxx A10-LCDxx, A20-LCDxx displays we have
  • 2x UEXT connectors
  • 2x 40 pin GPIO connectors

RK3188-SOM-EVB will be available for sale in June too and the price is EUR 85.00

Android and Debian Linux will be provided.

cpuinfo:

root@rk3188-som:~# cat /proc/cpuinfo 
Processor : ARMv7 Processor rev 0 (v7l)
processor : 0
BogoMIPS : 1631.46
processor : 1
BogoMIPS : 1631.46
processor : 2
BogoMIPS : 1631.46
processor : 3
BogoMIPS : 1631.46
Features : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant : 0x3
CPU part : 0xc09
CPU revision : 0
Hardware : RK30board
Revision : 0000
Serial : 0000000000000000

and meminfo:

root@rk3188-som:~# cat /proc/meminfo 
MemTotal: 856652 kB
MemFree: 561600 kB
Buffers: 13652 kB
Cached: 200592 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 121004 kB
Inactive: 137368 kB
Active(anon): 44260 kB
Inactive(anon): 456 kB
Active(file): 76744 kB
Inactive(file): 136912 kB
Unevictable: 0 kB
Mlocked: 0 kB
HighTotal: 155648 kB
HighFree: 8676 kB
LowTotal: 701004 kB
LowFree: 552924 kB
SwapTotal: 0 kB
SwapFree: 0 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 44168 kB
Mapped: 21492 kB
Shmem: 572 kB
Slab: 13864 kB
SReclaimable: 7552 kB
SUnreclaim: 6312 kB
KernelStack: 1592 kB
PageTables: 1696 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 428324 kB
Committed_AS: 451232 kB
VmallocTotal: 122880 kB
VmallocUsed: 42728 kB
VmallocChunk: 32636 kB

 

 

Crazyflie and Rowley hack for control via STM32-103STK

Image

via Rowley Associates blog

Paul Curtis was playing with Crazyflie Quadcopter, but he didn’t like the PC based controlling solution, so he made one himself using STM32-103STK and Wii controller. He posted his sources on the blog page above. Good work 🙂

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

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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 😉