While chipmaker Allwinner recently launched its A23 dual-core SoC CPU with 2.75G call support, its fellow Chinese chipmaking rival Rockchip isn’t being left behind, announcing its own Rockchip RK3026 dual-core chip due for release later this month.
But unlike the Allwinner A23, the new RK3026 features twin Cortex A9 cores, albeit running at a lower 1GHz clock speed. Compare that to the first-generation RK3066 dual-core Cortex A9 chip from Rockchip that clocks at 1.6GHz and performance is likely to be significantly lower.
However, it matches the A23 with its Mali-400 MP2 dual-core graphics engine with Rockchip claiming not only enough speed to handle 1080p (1920×1080-pixel) video decoding but encoding as well.
One of its key features will likely be its pin-for-pin compatibility with Rockchip’s single-core RK2926 CPU. The RK2926 is not a commonly used SoC CPU in phones or tablets, however, it’s been seen in a number of low-cost Miracast HDMI dongles in recent weeks.
But the major attraction to product designers in the RK3026 is the added 2G communication, which could add cellular-wireless to next-generation budget tablets or possibly even low-cost budget Android smartphones. At this point, the Rockchip product page provides no details on how much ’2G’ coverage is included. That said, Rockchip is pushing the chip as an ‘entry-level dual-core tablet chip solution’, making it less likely the SoC will get that ‘mobile’.
What will be interesting is trying to work out which CPU has the better performance – the Allwinner A23 or the Rockchip RK3026. With the A23 featuring dual Cortex A7 cores clocking at 1.5GHz and the RK3026 running dual Cortex A9 cores at 1GHz, it’s a fairly disparate selection product designers face. The Cortex A7 architecture is generally acknowledged not to have the same performance as the Cortex A9. But with Allwinner clocking its cores at a 50% premium over the Rockchip RK3026, it may well be that the performance differences are negated.
Gaming performance is likely to be similar too, given they both share ARM’s Mali-400 MP2 dual-core GPU. However, there are no details on the GPU clock speed for either SoC CPU, which could alter performance considerably.
Usually in this situation, pricing is a pretty reasonable rule-of-thumb guide on overall performance. For now, however, neither Allwinner or Rockchip have announced pricing for their respective CPUs but with the same general functionality on-board – particularly now with 2G communication – there may not be a significant price difference either.
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