Rockchip and Globalfoundries to build faster RK3188 CPUs

rk3168Rockchip looks to be cementing its place as the premium ARM processor brand in China after announcing a hook-up with fab lab Globalfoundries.

The new deal announced yesterday will boost the current-generation RK3168 dual-core and RK3188 quad-core SoC CPUs with new High-K Metal G (HKMG) transistors.

The new transistors will allow Rockchip to ratchet up the clock speed to 1.8GHz and even move up the Mali-400 MP4 clock speed to a maximum of 600MHz. (That said, it appears the quad-core model will be limited to 1.6GHz for now).

According to, there are also rumours of Rockchip’s first eight-core SoC CPU coming in the September quarter, which will also benefit from this announcement.

The Rockchip RK3188 is a quad-core SoC CPU based on ARM’s Cortex A9 design, the same design featured in the Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU inside Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. The difference Rockchip offered is a smaller 28-nanometre production scale, which enables the chip to outpace most of the Cortex A7-based competition, but also deliver better battery life than existing Cortex A9 offerings.

Rockchip says the new and improved RK3188 will have the following features:

  • Quad-core Cortex-A9 processor with up to 1.6GHz performance
  • 28nm HKMG process with low leakage and high performance
  • Quad-core Mali-400 GPU, supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 and OpenVG 1.1, up to 600Mhz
  • High performance 2D dedicated processor
  • Full memory support, treats including DDR3, DDR3L and LPDDR2
  • 1080P @ 60fps multi-format video decoder
  • 1080P @ 30fps video encoding for H.264 and VP8
  • ECC for MLC NAND 60bits, 16bits data widths to Improve Performance
  • Raw Support booting from Nand Flash, iNand Flash, SD / MMC Card
  • Dual Panel Display with 2048 × 1536 maximum resolution
  • One USB OTG 2.0, one USB interface HOST2.0
  • High-Speed ​​Inter Chip Interface
  • Support Ethernet RMII interface

It’s not clear exactly when the new chips will begin rolling off the production line, or which products will be sampling them. We’ll keep you up to date as news comes to hand.

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