CPU differences – Rockchip RK3066 vs RK3168

rk3168Rockchip’s RK3066 was one of the first low-cost dual-core SoC CPUs and it made it into a number of mini PCs, including the MK808 and UG007 models, just to name a couple.

However, the new generation RK3168 hasn’t been quite as popular so, in this time, we’re taking a look at the two chips to spot the differences.

Up-front, they look similar – dual-core Cortex A9 architecture with ARMV7-A instruction set.

But things quickly change. The most fundamental difference is the manufacture process – the RK3066 is built at 40-nanometres, the RK3168 at only 28-nanometres. That should mean improved battery performance for the newer chip as it uses smaller, more efficient transistors.

However, the RK3168 tops out at only 1.2GHz whereas the RK3066 gets to as much as 1.6GHz. Given the same Cortex A9 architecture, the RK3066 is going to get through tasks faster.

As far as gaming goes, the major difference is the GPU core – Rockchip originally went for ARM’s quad-core Mali-400 MP4 design with a 250MHz clock rate in the RK3066 model. But it switched to PowerVR for the RK3168, going with a PowerVR SGX540 core, topping 400MHz. Why the change, we’re not quite sure – other than the newer RK3168 chip must have had a different focus. The RK3066 still gets a run in some new devices despite the faster quad-core RK3188 doing a roaring trade amongst China’s tablet makers.

What we’re not seeing is the same up-take of its more recent dual-core RK3168 SoC CPU.

Boiling it down, the RK3066 would be our choice for mini PC use where you want good performance and gaming; the RK3168 should provide better battery life and adequate gaming on the back of that PowerVR SGX540 core.

CPURockchip RK3168Rockchip RK3066
Family ArchitectureARM Cortex A9ARM Cortex A9
Instruction SetARMv7-AARMv7-A
No of cores22
Clock SpeedUp to 1.2GHzUp to 1.6GHz
L1 cacheN/A
L2 cacheN/A
GPUPowerVR SGX540Mali-400 MP4
GPU Clock400MHz250MHz
GPU cores14
Semi production28nm40nm
Memory SupportDDR-DDR3, 533MHzDDR-DDR3, 533MHz

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