Quad-core Tablet Choices Grow
By Will765 On 1 Feb, 2013 At 04:19 PM | Categorized As News | With 0 Comments

For over a year, if you wanted a quad-core cpu in a tablet, Nvidia’s Tegra3 was your only real choice. Now, there are enough different companies making quad-core solutions that you can easily get dizzy trying to figure out which is better, in what ways. from the others.  We’ll try to look at the available options, and highlight their strengths and weaknesses.  I’m not going to cover the Tegra3, that’s well known, we want to present some lesser-publicized chips.

There are a few minor quad-core SOC(system on chip) suppliers that have popped up recently.  One of those is the Actions Semiconductor ATM7029, a China-based company.  This chipset so far is limited to a couple of tablets made by Ainol.  The Novo Venus 7 and Novo 10 Hero II are available, and Ramos unveiled a 9.4″ tablet at the recent CES that uses this chip.  However, from reports so far the gpu it uses, the Vivante GC1000, is a pretty weak performer, especially in tablets with larger screens. For any chipset, larger screens and higher resolutions will put more demands on the cpu/gpu.  So a setup that will work fine on a 7″ or 8″ tablet, may do poorly when you move up to a 9.7″ and 10.1″ size, and start increasing  the resolution up to 1920 x 1200 and above.  While the Actions quad core does perform adequately when looking at the cpu, it’s graphics benchmarks are very low.  It is an inexpensive way to get a quad-core tablet, but the performance just isn’t much better than a good dual-core Rockchip or Amlogic tablet.  With so few devices available, it also won’t be supported much by developers of roms.

Another very minor entry is the  Freescale i.MX6Q Quad-core.  Used on only a few tablets, among them the Sanei N10 / HiAPad F10 / Ampe A10(basically the same exact device), it at least uses a GC2000 GPU, which is better than the GC1000.  However, this SOC has been plagued with problems.  Poor firmware, terrible battery life, and general lagginess have been reported by many users.  Although it also is available at a reasonable price, it’s not really what I would choose if it was my money being spent.

One of the newer entries is the Allwinner A31.  Allwinner had good success with it’s A10 single-core cpu, that was used on a large variety of tablets for quite a while, and is still being sold.  While the company announced a dual-core successor, the A20, I can find no tablets using this processor.  Instead, the Quad-core A31 is it’s latest offering, and so far seems like it will be a decent performer.  Companies such as Onda, Ployer, Teclast, and ICOO are among those selling tablets with the A31.  Most tablets with this cpu have 2GB ram, and use the PowerVR SGX544 MP2 gpu.  While the benchmark test scores are not overwhelming for this chipset, it seems that it performs well enough that early adopters are mostly satisfied with it.  This SOC, like any other new one, will need some time on the market before it can be fully analyzed.  But from what is already seen, this looks like a good performer for the price, which is very reasonable.

One proven solution is Samsung’s Exynos 4412.  Used on several of it’s own devices like the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 10.1, and Note II, it also has been used by tablet makers Ramos, Lenovo, and Hyundai, among others.  Coupled with a Mali-400 quad-core gpu, the Samsung chipset is a definitely strong performer.  You will pay something of a premium in price for a device with this SOC, but from all accounts it is worth it.  Samsung’s next chip will be the Exynos 5 Octa, which will have what is called ARM Big/Little. A powerful quad-core, 1.8GHz A15 processor will be paired with a 1.2GHz A7 quad-core.  This will both reduce power consumption for less demanding tasks, and give the option of using the more powerful quad-core as necessary.   This will appear on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4.  The Note 3 is one of the so-called phablets, and is rumored to have a 6.3″ flexible screen.  With a company like Samsung behind it, any device using their SOC is almost guaranteed to be worth the purchase.

 

 

 

The last one we will take a glance at is the soon to be available Rockchip 3188 quad-core.  Rockchip makes the very well received, and excellent performing, dual-core RK3066 chip.  The 3188 is based on a 28nm technology, and is paired with a quad-core Mali-400 clocked up to 533MHz.  Some pre-release tests are claiming Antutu benchmark scores over 18,000.  If true, this would indicate the RK3188 will be one of, if not the, most powerful quad-cores around when the first tablets are available(sometime at the end of February, rumors say).  Pipo and Cube are two companies said to have tablets ready to launch very soon using this SOC. 

 

 

For now, most quad-core tablet solutions are fairly new, and the verdict is not final for many.  The coming months will see the disappearance of single-core devices, with dual-cores becoming the low-end of the market, and the quad-cores taking over as their design, and the software that goes along with them, matures.  Personally I would wait a couple months, to see how the various solutions work out.  Some will not find any traction in the market, and will fade away.  There may also be some new chip design coming around that no one knows of, yet.  So if you don’t have that burning desire to test out the latest devices as soon as they are available, a little patience may be rewarding, in this case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About - Bill Anderson posts under the clever alias will765. Gets to work from a home office for a piano moving company, in glorious Lake Hopatcong, NJ. Pretty new to android, but love technology and have been building my own(and friends)pc's for about 15 years

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>