CPUs compared – Rockchip RK3188 vs MediaTek MT6589

CPURockchip RK3188MediaTek MT6589
Family ArchitectureARM Cortex A9ARM Cortex A7
Instruction SetARMv7ARMv7
No of cores44
Clock SpeedUp to 1.8GHz1.2GHz
L1 cacheTBA32KB/32KB
L2 cache1MB1MB
GPUMali-400 MP4PowerVR SGX544
GPU Clock600MHzTBA
GPU cores41
Semi production28nm28nm
Memory SupportDDR-DDR3LPDDR-DDR2


rk3188If you were wanting a two-horse race to decide the most popular quad-core ARM processor doing the rounds in most budget tablets at the moment, it’d be between Rockchip’s RK3188 and the MediaTek MT6589.

You can barely move without running into an RK3188 processor in Shenzhen and while the MT6589 might not be quite as popular, it’s still seeing plenty of use in tablets and smartphones alike.

However, these two chips are quite different and really only share the ARMv7 instruction set and a 28-nanometre production process in common.

The RK3188 is a unique chip in that its an older Cortex A9 design scaled down to 28nm. The MediaTek MT6589 uses the same scale but is based on the smaller (and cheaper) Cortex A7 design. So off the bat, the RK3188 will deliver better performance. Throw in the fact it can clock up to 1.8GHz against the MT6589′s 1.2GHz maximum rate and the RK3188′s performance superiority is assured.

The RK3188 also does well on graphics with a quad-core Mali-400 MP4 graphics subsystem up against a single PowerVR SGX544 core in the MediaTek SoC CPU. The SGX544 core is a good performer but it can’t catch four Mali-400 cores.

The one area where the MT6589 is likely to outperform is battery life – with a low-power A7 design at 28nm, it’s setup nicely to deliver long battery life. The Cortex A9 being a more powerful design will use more power, even manufactured at the same 28nm scale.

In a Rockchip RK3188 vs MediaTek MT6589 battle, both of these chips serve their products well but if you want all-round performance, the Cortex A9 base of the RK3188 comes out in front.

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