Chinese chip maker Rockchip is introducing a new 1GHz CPU for tablets and other mobile devices. The Rockchip RK2808 is an ARM-based chip with support for 256MB of memory and screen resolutions up to 1024 x 768 pixels. We’ve seen a number of Chinese tablets with Rockchip processors in the past, but most have been stuck with an earlier 600MHz processor that could only handle 800 x 480 pixel display resolutions. The new chip will also be able to decode 720p HD video. Rockchip’s new processor will be support twice the memory of its earlier chips, and the RK28080 can support Google Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 mobile operating systems. Systems with Rockchip’s older processors typically ran earlier versions of Android. via NewGadgets.de and MP4 Nation
Sigh . . . we’ll be needing at least a gig of RAM for speedy operation of the new OS and fancy apps. The new Rockchip doesn’t get it — it’ll be holding back progress.
256 MB is enough to run a full desktop Linux distribution unless one does something really wonky. Hence a fancy embedded would have no problem running on this chip.
Really? Up until a few years ago I had a Dual Pentium Pro 200Mhz “work station” with eight 128MB EDO SIMMs installed for a grand total of 1 gigabyte of RAM. There’s your magic number. Trust me, this machine was a beast and easily my favorite computer ever (it died tragically in a move), but I would wouldn’t have called it “speedy” and tried not to run too many “fancy apps” on it.
I get where people are coming from when they claim that a certain feature needs to pass a given specification threshold in order for a device to be sufficient or, even worse, issues a list of specific features that their “dream device” would have. However, that’s not how things really work. Most features aren’t really one dimensions nor do they toil away in isolation. For example, even though it’s 256MB of ram, I believe the technology is being upgraded from SDRAM to DDR. Yup, that’s a leap from one outdated technology (common to my aforementioned PPRO dually) to another, but it is a relative advance. Maybe it’s “fast enough”? Also, maybe it’s in perfect balance with all of the other components? Ultimately, it’s the in hand experience of such a device that matters, and that’s the standard against which devices are judged and live or die. It’s just important that everything works well together and none of the technology is holding any of the other technology back.
By the way, those who are knowledgeable about this sort of thing (I am not such a person, but I do listen to what those guys say), point to Ingenic as the sleeper in this class of processor. According to these guys, the arm9 and arm11 processors that we’re scraping of from the bottom of the SoC barrel are bested buy their MIPS32 compatible jz47xx cousins from Ingenic, which are built around the “Xburst” core. Whether or not this is actually true is outside of my knowledge and experience, but I do know that a small group of people are eagerly awaiting devices built around the dual-core component from Ingenic called the jz4760. Apparently, Ingenic chips are also VERY cheap. I’ve heard that the jz4755, which is a transitional product, could be had for the underside of $5 USD, and this was last year. That’s in no small part why you’re seeing SO MANY cheap tablets coming, and I believe that Ingenic has the price advantage over its ARM-based cousins because no licensing fee is due to ARM.
I wouldn’t sleep on this “arm” (lousy pun) of the embedded processor market just because it’s not lighting up keyword filters from press releases.
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