Chinese chip maker Allwinner has introduced two new processors for tablets, TV sticks, and other low power devices. They’re dual and quad-core chips called the Allwinner A20 and Allwinner A31, respectively.
The Allwinner A10 single-core chip has been a relatively popular chip with Chinese device makers due to its low price and decent performance.
That’s the processor that powers the original MK802 Android 4.0 Mini PC and a number of other mini PCs. It’s proven popular with tinkerers, because Android isn’t the only supported operating system. Users have been installing Ubuntu and other Linux-based software on Allwinner A10 devices for months, and the PengPod line of tablets are expected to ship soon with a desktop Linux operating system preloaded.
While the Allwinner A10 is a single core ARM Cortex-A8 processor with Mali 400 graphics, Allwinner’s new chips feature faster ARM Cortex-A7 cores and more powerful graphics.
Allwinner A20 dual-core
Allwinner’s A20 is a dual core chip with 512KB of L2 cache and 128KB of L1 cache, dual-core Mali 400 graphics, and support for 2160p HD video playback.
This chip is pin-to-pin compatible with the Allwinner A10, which means that device makers should be able to quickly and cheaply upgrade existing designs to feature the new processors.
Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any official support for Linux yet... but it’s not out of the question.
Allwinner A31 quad-core
This quad-core chip features 1MB of L2 cache, 256KB of L2 cache, and PowerVR SGX 544 graphics. It supports 4K ultra high definition video decoding.
While the A31 is also an ARM Cortex-A7 chip, it’s not pin-to-pin compatible with the company’s earlier chips the way the Allwinner A20 is. And since the PowerVR graphics are licensed from Imagination Technologies (a company that’s not known for releasing source code), it’s unlikely that we’ll see strong Linux support for this chipset.