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NEW quad-core Allwinner A31 tablets now out!

Posted by gnexus 
NEW quad-core Allwinner A31 tablets now out!
February 26, 2013 06:24PM
Looks like Allwinner has the A31 shipping (finally). Currently there are 8"and 10" tablets listed on Aliexpress for shipment on March 1. Prices for the 8" tablets start at $130 minus shipping. The mfr. is Onda. The 8" tablets have a 1024x768 screen with 2GB/16GB. The next up in price is the 10.1" tablets with 1280x800 screen by Onda and also Ainol at about $175. Those also have 2GB/16GB. The top models, also by Onda and Ainol and also a few others, have 9.7" high-res "retina" screens with 2048x1536 resolution, also at 2GB/16GB. Those average about $275 minus shipping.

Android should run quite well on these tablets.

But don't expect GNU/Linux to work. . .

Contrary to the specs in some of the listings the A31 uses a PowerVR SGX544 GPU, not Mali. That should give good performance in Android. But Linux drivers will definitely not be forthcoming.

An A31 might perform well as a headless Linux box, although benchmarks are not yet available for it, but tablets are the target market for this SoC, not Mele-type devices. It is always interesting, however, to see what kind of new devices arrive.
Re: NEW quad-core Allwinner A31 tablets now out!
March 21, 2013 03:52PM
There is also an A31 HDMI stick now. According to liliputing:

The Android TV stick also struggles with 1080p video playback when using the XBMC media center app for Android. According to GeekBuying, their test unit also randomly rebooted a few times.

The Antutu benchmarks for A31 are around 10915 vs. 12042 for ATM7029 and ~18000 for RK3188.
Huge difference for the RK3188. Shows how much having a high-clocked A9 core helps vs. Cortex-A7 or A5 (ATM7029). i.MX6q has quad-core A9 like RK3188, but it's only clocked at ~1.2GHz.

So far not too impressed with A31. i.MX6q is still faster and looks like a better choice for GNU/LInux. RK3188 best for tablets.
Re: NEW quad-core Allwinner A31 tablets now out!
March 24, 2013 04:25PM
However the power consumption should be much better for A31, still a good choic for server purpose
Re: NEW quad-core Allwinner A31 tablets now out!
March 25, 2013 12:07PM

However the power consumption should be much better for A31

Well, looks like battery life for A31 is about 4-5 hours with a 8000 mAh battery. The ATM7029 with a 4000 mAh battery is 7-9 hours. The RK3188 reportedly gets about 6 hours with 8000 mAh battery. So far I would say A31 is worst for battery life.

Power consumption of the three is by far the best with ATM7029, where the battery should last several more hours than in A31 depending on battery size. But the performance is not so great with ATM7029, especially with the GPU, which is no better than dual-core Rockchip. Even then the ATM7029 has a faster cpu than the A31. The A31 is better by far for GPU, but that GPU is not ever going to be Linux-compatible like GC1000 in the ATM7029, or the Mali in the Rockchip SoCs. So far the RK3188 beats them both by far in cpu performance. I have not yet seen exact head-to-head comparisons on battery life for A31 vs. ATM7029 vs. RK3188. But they will assuredly be coming soon! Personally I would likely choose RK3188 for a tablet even if battery does not last as long as the others. I would rather have the better performance and a more open GPU.

IMX6q is really not suited to tablets due to the excessive power usage and GPU, but it should be best for Linux on HDMI dongle or board due to the better support.

Personally, server-wise, I'm looking forward to seeing what Exynos 5 devices arrive. . . they have SATA3.
Re: NEW quad-core Allwinner A31 tablets now out!
March 26, 2013 12:28PM
So far on Slatedroid people are reporting Antutu scores of ~12500 for A31 on a Onda V812. Vellamo score is about 1100.

Here is a comment about A31 battery life from that Slatedroid thread:
Battery life - can't say to much about it yet other than that is is down to 57% after 1 3/4 hours of of surfing/wifi on and screen on full brightness. So a little bit more than 4 hours with the new firmware might be possible if the screen brightness is reduced.

OTOH the RK3188 is getting Antutu scores of 16500-18000+. The Vellamo score is about 1500.

This review has a comparison chart of A31 vs. RK3188 vs. ATM7029 It seems fairly accurate. Most other RK3188 reviews show similar results and that it easily trounces the A31 in most tasks - especially anything cpu related. Battery life of the RK3188 is 5-6 hours with the following conditions: fully charged, brightness adjusted to the highest level and connect to wi-fi network. playing the same 1080p video continuously. Try that for 5-6 hours with an A31 tablet and see how it goes(dies). . .

Allwinner made a big mistake using 40nm for the A31 instead of using 28nm like the RK3188.
Expect A31 tablet prices to drop fast as additional reviews pour in.

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