Allwinner A31 - To Buy or Not to Buy? - Momo 19, Momo 20, Onda V972, etc...
There has been much buzz regarding the Allwinner A31 Cortex-A7 Quad-Core chip. It is the latest low-cost entrant into the Chinese Chip market by Allwinner (also known as Boxchip or Sochip) and it is particularly interesting due to its PowerVR SGX544 MP2 GPU which boasts very good graphics performance. The low-power and also low-clocked A7 cores should provide good battery life as they should sip power relative to their higher-performance Cortex-A9 based brethren like the RK3066, RK3188, and Samsung Exynos 4412.
As a result of the lower price and decent performance, many upcoming models are slated to use this chipset and we are investigating selling units with it onboard.
First, let me state my feelings on the matter. First, the A31 is, at best, a slightly "upward" but still extremely "sideways" move if you are coming from the RK3066. Its performance is "neck-n-neck" vs the RK3066. On a "per-core" basis it gets slaughtered because the Cortex-A7 is significantly lower performance than the Cortex-A9 per clock cycle, AND, the chip is only clocked at 1.2 ghz per core vs the 1.6 Ghz of the RK3066. So more performance per clock cycle and a higher clock speed means that for single or dual threaded applications (which is the majority of all android apps) it under-performs significantly vs the RK3066. However, in multi-threaded applications that are able to take advantage of all four cores, it does come out ahead by a decent margin of about 10% all the way up to %40 depending on the type of test. So for heavily multithreaded applications you do come out ahead but very few users will see that benefit. In regards to the GPU performance. The 2D results are slower than the RK3066 (probably because it is PowerVR vs a Mali and the Mali excels at fill rates) and the 3D performance is quite good with a 20% improvement. I would expect anywhere from a general 3 - 15% improvement in most games vs the RK3066. Now, it DOES also excel at SD Write speeds (double that of the RK3066) and that can make a big difference in day-to-day use.
I am using loose, "in my head" math/numbers here but I would guess most applications will get a 1 - 8% boost and the overall performance of the OS should be smoothed out a bit due to the notably higher SD write speeds. All of that is nothing to balk at, but only if the chip comes in at the same price points that the RK3066 does. Why?
Well, it comes down to a maturity factor which is rather important when it comes to Chinese tech. No offense to Allwinner, but Rockchip is the better company. They have been at this a bit longer and know what they are about. They generally make a good product. The RK3066 has been out for months now and all the quirks and bugs have been pretty much worked out. It is an excellent choice for a chipset "TODAY".
We are looking forward though and the A31 shouldn't be ignored, nor can it be, it is just simply in too many new models. So I had this conversation with one of our suppliers today...
also, wanted to ask, have you any news on Momo 19 or Momo 20? (both quad core A31 devices)
yes they have, but now A31 is not good... do you know onda V972 A31?
I have heard, yes
in China, it is return more than 50%... it really not stable
so do not suggest you to try
So to that end, it might be 1 - 3 months (or never) before we do carry an A31 unit. The performance gain, while notable, isn't enough to justify compromising system stability. Especially while the price of more stable and still quite powerful RK3066 units continues to fall and the A31 price remains steady.
Hopefully this has been of some help to those of you who are shopping for a device, TODAY.