Chinese chip maker Allwinner plans to launch its first octa-core chip. The Allwinner A80 Octa features 8 processor cores and uses ARM’s big.LITTLE technology to pair a set of high-performance cores with lower-power cores in order to balance performance and battery life in phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

Allwinner A80 Octa

Allwinner tells us the chip design will allow devices to use up to all 8 processor cores at once. But when you don’t need that kind of performance boost, fewer cores will kick in to save power.

The Allwinner A80 Octa is due out around the end of 2013 or by the first quarter of 2014.

That’s about all that Allwinner is saying about the chip right now. There are no details about the clock speed, graphics technology, or even whether these are ARM Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 CPU cores (like those found in octa-core chips from Samsung, MediaTek, and Renesas).

Allwinner has a history of making low-cost processors that are popular with makers of Chinese companies building low-cost tablets. So far most of those chips have been relatively low power processors that don’t offer the same level of performance you get from competitors such as Rockchip or MediaTek — although Allwinner was one of the first Chinese chip makers to emphasize its support for 4K video playback.

The company also a reputation for providing more documentation about its chips than some competitors, which has it a relatively popular platform for folks interested in porting Linux to run on TV boxes, tablets, and other devices with ARM-based chips. The MK802 and similar TV boxes can run a number of Linux distributions, and the makers of the PengPod tablets which dual boot Android and Ubuntu have been sticking with

Now that Allwiner is getting ready to launch its first octa-core chip with big.LITTLE technology, it looks like the could be preparing to compete on performance and not just price and (relative) openness.

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17 replies on “Allwinner unveils Allwinner A80 Octa processor”


    Published on Oct 13, 2013
    Allwinner announced their upcoming Allwinner A80 Octa-core with four ARM Cortex-A15 cores and four ARM Cortex-A7 cores configured in a big.LITTLE configuration, the release to happen around Q1 2014. As well as the Allwinner A70 Quad-core (2x Cortex-A15 and 2x Cortex-A7), and for later, Allwinner already announces that they will release a 64bit ARMv8 ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 big.LITTLE processor, perhaps for later in 2014 or for early 2015. For the first time, Allwinner shows the Chrome logo, Windows 8 (probably meaning Windows RT), this means the Allwinner A80 may be good to use in mass market affordable Chromebooks, cheap Windows RT laptops and desktops and more.

    This video also features the Allwinner A23 PCB, implemented in affordable 7.85″ tablets and more, manufactured now by Pegatron and Foxconn, Ramos, Onda, Winn and many more. Allwinner is the leading Quad-core and Single-core chip provider for tablets worldwide.

  2. ARM has already released the 28nm based tested power optimized implementation of quad core and dual core hard macro for A15 for small processor manufactures like Allwinner and Rockchip. So it could be that Allwinner may put four A15s and four A7 cores to run side by side in Big Little config. The Allwinner engineers will have to write hardware drivers and do stress testing with all androids so on for all that and check for max performance power efficiency etc and then it might be released.

    And A12 is quite far off Arm just recently announced A12 i dont think they might include that they might do it in late 2014 or 15 or after.

  3. god, i hope they add more gpu cores than cpu…more gfx perf will allow this chip to compete with rogue and snapdragon s800…lol tegra 4…

  4. I miss a reference link…. and hope it’s mali instead of PVR…. but been “tablet/phone” oriented they are probably following the A31 family instead of the A1x/A20’s.

      1. in that case, can you ask them which GPU are they using? =) pleeeeeease

        1. I can ask, but I don’t think they’ll answer. They basically shared the logo, the fact that it’ll use all 8 cores, and not much else.

          More info should be available later this year.

          1. That’s perhaps the last year rumoured A40, (8*A7) that should go out (with 1 year ago prevision) in november, with Mali 450MP ???

          2. Didn’t see the big.LITTLE logo, so, probably not the rumoured A40, that is only LITTLE :). Perhaps the big can be A12 instead of A15 ? So perhaps the first A7+A12 big.LITTLE. And if the GPU is Mali could be a T6xx or still a 450MP ?

    1. I also hope they use a Mali GPU core instead of a PowerVR one since this would immediately make their offering more Linux friendly.

      I think a 4*A12 + 4*A7 pairing is the most likely. An A15 cluster doesn’t really fit into their price profile.

      1. what do you mean has Arm Mali open sourced all its gpu drivers for linnaro/linux ? or have they just given the Mali binary gpu drivers for linnaro
        and also i think PowerVR has khronos opencl gpu compute api for it’s SGX gpus which Mali dont have.

    2. alejandro i’ve already warned them to stay away from imgtec and PVR, just like everyone else in the industry already knows to do. i gave them some advice on which GPUs to explore – let’s see if they listened, eh? 🙂

  5. Maybe 8 ho-hum cores will be able to compete with other stronger quad core offerings already in production.
    Read: Alwinner is wimpy.

    1. They haven’t annouced what kind of cores they are going to be yet but you know they will somehow be inferior?

      1. Their stuff is wimpy. Period.
        They sell because they are cheap no other reason.

    2. michael, when the competition is selling offerings at double the price, and price in china is everything, and the number of units sold in china is TEN times that of the rest of the world, they’re selling in such huge volumes that they get massive discounts from the fabs, can get off-peak rates (i.e. wait until the foundries aren’t as busy, and sell from stock in the meantime); they can ask the fabs to optimise an entire factory just for their chips in order to get the yield up (this is something that can only be done over several months, so if you’re not buying a million plus chips a month for six months straight you *automatically* end up with higher pricing), all of which says that they’re eating the competition for breakfast.

      so i apologise but what you believe really isn’t hugely relevant.

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