Allwinner, the Chinese chip maker is set to unveil its first octa-core chip. In order to balance performance and battery life in devices such as tablets, phones, etc, this Allwinner A80, features 8 processor cores and utilizes ARM’s big.LITTLE technology to pair a set of high-performance cores with lower-power cores.
Due to the design of the Allwinner A80 chip, which is set to be launched the end of 2013 or in the first quarter of 2014 (hint CES 2014 is a good place to announce new technology), you are able to use all 8 processor cores simultaneously if you need to, or if you don’t need it, a smaller number of cores will take effect in order to save power.
Allwinner is playing their cards close to their chests and they are giving no details away. There is no information with regards to whether these are ARM Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 CPU cores, there are no particulars about the clock speed, the graphics technology, etcetera.
Thus far Allwinner has focused on supplying low-cost processors which are popular with Chinese manufacturers of low-cost tablets. Consequently those chips have been fairly low power processors that cannot rival the performance of Rockchip or Mediatek, even though Allwinner was the pioneer in its support of the 4K video playback.
Allwinner is renowned for giving more information about its chips than its competitors, which has a popular platform for people who are wanting to port Linux to run on TV boxes, tablets and other equipment with ARM-based chips. The MK802 and comparable TV boxes are able to run several Linux distributions, and the manufacturers of the PengPod tablets which has dual-boot Android and Ubuntu is sticking with it.
The octa-core chip with big.LITTLE technology is set to show that Allwinner is preparing to compete with their rivals on performance and relative openness, and not just price.