Allwinner A23 dual-core SoC CPU can run at 1.5GHz

allwinnera23Chinese ARM chip maker Allwinner has announced the new Allwinner A23 at the Berlin IFA consumer electronics show. The new SoC CPU features dual ARM Cortex A7 cores but runs at a higher 1.5GHz clock speed compared with the previous-generation A20′s 1.2GHz.

The A23 will also continue to use ARM’s own dual-core Mali-400 MP2 graphics engine.

Allwinner CPUs are typically used in low-cost tablets and occasionally in mini PCs where Allwinner’s quad-core A31 and A31s SoC CPUs are more common. That said, the chipmaker helped kick off the mini PC craze with its single-core Allwinner A10 Cortex A8 SoC CPU powering the original MK802 TV stick mini PC. Allwinner also won community kudos for its A10 being able to handle Linux distros including Debian and Fedora. At this stage, what’s unknown is whether the A23 will offer the same Linux support.

So far, Allwinner has yet to release an SoC CPU based on ARM’s more powerful Cortex A9 design with its A20- and A30-series all being Cortex A7 architecture designs. It’s not clear at this point whether the company will bother with Cortex A9 or simply jump straight to the more powerful Cortex A12 architecture some time in 2014.

Despite the A23′s higher clock speed, Allwinner claims the new CPU will consume 50% less power than an unspecified dual-core competitor, despite still being manufactured on a 40-nanometre production scale and according to¬†Padhz.com, Allwinner is billing the new CPU as the ‘most efficient dual-core in the world’. But without an actual named competitor to compare it to, these claims are meaningless.

The original A20 was designed by Allwinner to be a drop-in replacement for the A10, allowing any existing A10-designed product to get instant dual-core performance improvements by simply swapping the SoC CPU. Allwinner hasn’t stated yet whether the A23 will be a pin-for-pin compatible replacement for the A20.

In any case, production of the new processor is expected to begin in October.

However, in a market already dominated by quad-core SoC CPUs, Allwinner will need to provide extremely keen pricing to garner significant interest without canabalising its A30-series quad-core sales. The 50% lower power consumption sounds impressive, but it remains to be seen what this means in practice and just how it will affect tablet battery life. According to this original report by Padhz.com, the A23 may include 2.75G cellular functionality and could well be seen in upcoming tablets to be released in Brazil, India and South-east Asia.

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