While much of the attention of late has been on the new quad-core SoC CPUs like Rockchip’s RK3188 and Allwinner’s A31-series, there are still a number of good dual-core options available for lower-cost devices. However, not all dual-core CPUs are created equal and its worth knowing the differences so that you can adequately compare products before you buy.
The two we’re looking at here are the Rockchip RK3066 and Allwinner’s A20.
The RK3066 was Rockchip’s first dual-core SoC CPU and appeared in plenty of mini PCs including the MK802III and MK808 models among others. Its based on ARM’s Cortex A9 architecture, manufactured at a 40-nanometre scale and comes with ARM’s Mali-400 MP4 quad-core graphics engine. It also clocks at up to 1.6GHz.
The Allwinner A20 by comparison is manufactured on the same 40-nanometre scale (there are reports floating around that it is a 55nm scale chip but we believe it is 40nm). It’s built with Cortex A7 architecture, which is newer than the A9 but the word is not quite as fast, but what won’t help is its lower 1.2GHz clock speed, which will likely ensure it’s not as fast as the RK3066.
However, in terms of gaming, what is important is that the A20 only features the dual-core Mali-400 MP2 graphics engine as opposed to the RK3066′s quad-core Mali-400 MP4 setup. That should give the RK3066 better overall gaming performance.
Given they’re both manufactured at the same 40-nanometre scale, we would expect the RK3066 to run hotter, given the four GPU cores. However, this will depend entirely on the clock speed of the cores. It’s usual for quad-core engines to run with a lower clock speed than dual-core offerings but to still offer proportionally greater performance.
Bottom line, in this ‘Rockchip RK3066 vs Allwinner A20′ comparison, the RK3066 should come out on top in a performance comparison – it has a higher clock speed, faster core technology and double the GPU cores.
The Allwinner A20 has one trick up its sleeve – it’s pin-for-pin compatible with the single-core A10, which means its a trivial task to upgrade older single-core designs to dual-core.
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