Chinese ARM developer RockChip has had a number of wins in the last 12 months or so, first with its dual-core RK3066 Cortex A9 processor, followed by its quad-core RK3188, now appearing in a large number of Android TV sticks such as the CX-919. Now comes its new second-generation Cortex A9 dual-core processor dubbed the RK3168.
The new dual-core RK3168 features the same Cortex A9 processor design as the RK3066 but drops the ARM Mali-400 MP4 quad graphics cores running at 250MHz, in favour of a single-core PowerVR SGX540 we believe to be ticking over at 400MHz.
The main production difference is the RK3066 is built on a larger 40-nanometre (40nm) scale while the new RK3168 gets a smaller and more efficient 28nm process – that offers two immediate advantages: lower power consumption and cooler running.
Earlier in the year, RockChip showed off an RK3168-based tablet playing 1080p video using just 280mA at 3.8V or around one watt of power. With a 3000mAh Lithium-ion battery, you’d get ten hours of continuous playback, which is a pretty decent effort.
However, while some are talking up the RK3168′s performance, this particular dual-core chip can only hit 1.2GHz, compared with RK3066′s 1.6GHz.
There’s been plenty of development of late with dual-core low-power Cortex A7 chips hitting the market. The RK3168 is still a Cortex A9 design, which should deliver more speed per clock than the A7.
So all up, while the RK3168 might well use less power, it might not be as fast as the RK3066 and it remains to be seen the PowerVR SGX540 can match the old quad-core Mali400 option.
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