How they compare – Allwinner A31 vs MediaTek MT6589

a7Two low-power quad-core chips that are popular in the market at the moment are the A31 from Allwinner and MediaTek’s MT6589.

Both of these are built on the ARM’s Cortex A7 low-power design and in terms of features, there’s not a huge amount separating these two SoC CPUs.

Being designed on the same core, they both have the same amount of cache internally and the same clock speed – that will give them near-on identical performance levels. The difference comes in the graphics subsystem. Here, the A31 pulls ahead with its dual-core SGX544 graphics setup. As best as we can figure, the MT6589 only features a single SGX544 core. For gaming, that’d put the A31 easily in front.

However, the Allwinner A31 vs MediaTek MT6589 battle isn’t that cut-and-dried. The Allwinner A31 is manufactured on a 40-nanometre scale whereas the MT6589 uses a more efficient 28nm scale – that means the MT6589 should not only run cooler than the A31, it should have better battery life. A result of using smaller-scale production is lower power consumption, which directly relates to better battery life in portable devices.

So putting it into perspective, the A31 is the choice if you want performance, particularly on games and graphics-intensive apps but for battery life, we’d for the MediaTek MT6589 with its 28-nanometre production.

CPUAllwinner A31MediaTek MT6589
Family ArchitectureARM Cortex A7ARM Cortex A7
Instruction SetARMv7ARMv7
No of cores44
Clock Speed1.2GHz1.2GHz
L1 cache32KB/32KB32KB/32KB
L2 cache1MB1MB
GPUPowerVR SGX544 MP2PowerVR SGX544
GPU Clock355MHzTBA
GPU cores21
Semi production40nm28nm
Memory SupportLPDDR-DDR3LPDDR-DDR2

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