ACT ATM7029 vs Amlogic AML8726-MX

I get a lot of e-mails asking me if I’m going to be carrying the new Hero II or Flame II or whatever II that Ainol is releasing this week, next week, or next year depending on what website you believe that is pre-selling something that a prototype hasn’t been built for yet.  And my immediate answer is, why the heck am I/you supposed to be thinking about the 2nd version of a tablet when they are still selling mass quantities of the first version?

So since I’m well versed in what is going on in the tablet world I will try and school people quickly on the immediate future.

First off let me say that from this point on I will be an Amlogic shill.  Some of you might think I’m an idiot without even asking why.  So if you do, you have the right to just stop reading.  It’s your choice, unless of course you don’t live in a free society and someone has a gun to your head making you read this.  If that is the fact, well I guess I might as well tell you why.

1. Amlogic has been the most cooperative non-big brand (not Nvidia, Quallcom, Samsung) chip manufacturer to comply with GPL.  They might not release their sources right away when people are complaing/cryin/sobbing for them.  But they do release them.  I’m sure this small delay has to do with them wanting to perfect some of the code before releasing it to the wolves for their modifications and critisizm.  I don’t know.  I’ve never asked.  But maybe one day I will.
2. Amlogic is the only non-big brand chip MFG that has a decent idea on how to manage public relations.  In one of my desk jobs before I started F&L Superstore I was a microchip/semi-conductor buyer, and we were taught to go to the top.  If we had to find a chip and we couldn’t get a salesperson to sell it to us.  Find the CEO’s number and call him/her.  I know this sounds so simple in theory but nobody applies this in real life, I think people are scared to talk to people in power.  Call it starstruck.  Well I never had to go to the top of Amlogic to get someone to talk to me.  I’ve sent messages and e-mails to Boxchip & Rockchip only to get “no joy”(Military term for unsuccessful).  In the short time we have talked to them they have helped us work through bugs that if went unchecked could ruin the tablet experience for the consumer.  What does this mean???? It means they care about their chips working properly for any MFG who makes tablets with their SOCs.  This is a +10 in my book.
3. The delivery system for update is Micro SD.  I can’t tell you how much of a pain in the butt it is to tell people how to install drivers on their computers to update Rockchip and Boxchip tablets. I couldn’t even get the Rockchip drivers to install on 1/2 of my computers in my office.  I think that Micro SD is simple, accessible, and the files could be downloaded from the tablet if need be.  So Amlogic has considered simplicity whereas the competitors have added numerous steps and drivers that sometimes have compatibility problems.  Also some tablet users might not have access to a computer 24/7.  That’s food for thought right there.
4. They continute to use Mali GPUs.  I think that Samsung has oficially staked the claim that the Mali GPU is here to stay.  I’ve had it on my last two Samsung phones and it seems to be a staple in the future of mobile GPUs such as Nvidia, Power VR, Adreno are.

So you are probably saying by now.  What the heck does this have to do with ACT vs Amlogic.  Well I’ll explain with the words of someone who understands 0100011100110 who is a lot smarter than I.

“From those official technical specifications from ARM, below are the summary:

–        A9 versus A7 Frequency is 15% better, (950MHz v.s. 810MHz)
–        A9 versus A7 DMIPS/MHz is almost 30% better (2.5 v.s. 1.85).
–        From calculation, A9 is getting 2375 DMIPS/CPU, A7 is getting 1498.5 DMIPS/CPU. A9 as single core is 58.5% faster than A7.
–        Numbers listed are all based on single core, dual core is not going to get double the performance, probably 1.5. When adding 3rd and 4th core, you probably getting most double the performance with quad-core.

The conclusion is quad-core A7 performance is worse than dual core A9 in the same technology. Not only on the higher end of processor, Amlogic solution based tablets have been certified by Google GMS.”

Not only are you armed with the information in the quotes.  But let me throw in something else.  The ACT chip is using an unsupported, slow GPU.

So if you want to buy an ACT chip.  Good luck.  But ask my partner Liz, I love to say I told you so.

Frank

17 Responses to “ACT ATM7029 vs Amlogic AML8726-MX”

  1. Dev Says:

    You got full conclusions without even knowing details of ATM-7029! Some of your facts are wrong about ATM-7029.

  2. flsuperstore Says:

    Ok then if you have all the answers, state some facts. Because mine come from someone who impliments the Arm v7 architechture onto their microchips. Zenithink has a Quad Core Cortex A9 Freescale chip tablet out with the GC2000 GPU and I hate it. We aren’t even going to carry them in our store past the initial test purchase because the market game support is 0. The time for experimenting is over. If you aren’t using a popular GPU, what’s the purpose of trying to make a SOC that isn’t going to be even mildly competitive? There is no purpose. Bad business moves in my opinion.

  3. Dev Says:

    Here are the facts from the latest press release:

    Ainol Electronic Launches New Tablet Product Featuring Actions Semiconductor’s Owl Series ATM7029 Chipset

    Actions’ ATM7029 chipset supports AndroidTM 4.1(Jelly Bean) operating system and will also support the upgrade to AndroidTM 4.2. With the ARM® CortexTM multi-core CPU, multi-core 3D GPU, full spec 1080p video encode/decode engine and USB2.0/3.0 PHY integration, the ATM7029 provides unprecedented levels of performance and power efficiency.

    ———————————————————————————-
    I read before that ATM7029 also has Core Cortex A9 architecture. Action is the leader in low power consumption SOC. Tablets are still new in China and all manufacturers are experimenting. ACTION is sitting with a large amount of cash and has a great development model, very good command on the cost, and I have no doubt they will catch up fast. It appears from the press releases that they are mainly targeting tables. If they are as bad as you described, why Ainol has come out with this press release?

  4. flsuperstore Says:

    Those are your facts? A press release from Ainol about a chip they have no clue if it’s Cortex A7 or A9 or what GPU it has?

    I don’t care if they have a billion dollars. If they use anything less than a Mali GPU it will be crap.

    http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/39744-ainols-quad-core-era/page__view__findpost__p__470621

  5. Dev Says:

    None of the facts are mine. See the press release and there is no reason to not believe anything written in the press release with the legal footer under it. They can run into huge trouble if they come up with wrong info in a legal press release like this.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ainol-electronic-launches-tablet-product-211500717.html

    It does not say what GPU they are using. However, you agreed that you do not have all the details and still you went ahead and had full analysis based on your assumptions.

    if Ainol is giving the product spec as below, how could you just assume it is not correct? Please get one of the units and write the facts otherwise it is just a rumor mill!

    Ainol Novo 10 Hero II Features:

    OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
    CPU: ARM Cortex A9 Family 1.5GHZ
    RAM: 1GB,DDR3
    Storage 16GB
    Size: 10.1 inch
    Screen: Capacitive Touchscreen, 1280*800 High-resolution Screen
    Resolution: 1280*800 Pixels IPS Screen
    Visible Angle: 178°
    Display: IPS with full Angle
    Daul Camera: Front 0.3M, Back 2.0M

  6. flsuperstore Says:

    My figures with the speculated ACT chip come direct from a chip designer. So I would think the guy knows his business. You are arguing a moot point bud. Still not one website knows what GPU is in it.

  7. Dev Says:

    I guess you are saying that since GPU is not Mali, this end of ATM7029. Well, you may be right that it may not have Mali. However note that Mali is a separate chip, and they can integrate it any time if that becomes a make or break thing.

    Also note that Ainol is asking more money for ATM7029 based tablet than Amlogic. And, they are the only one seems to have this chip in working condition, because the product is not shipped yet. So I would wait for sometime to conclude anything.

  8. flsuperstore Says:

    The Mali chip is inside the SOC. Which is why they call it “System On Chip”. So how are they going to integrate a chip when it has to be predesigned and planned into the actual chip itself? This is not a video card that you just add on.

  9. Dev Says:

    I understand what you are saying and still think they could change it. It may take some time to change the production etc. Following is the recent info we have about GPU. If they had Mali, I guess they would have said that. However, we cannot conclude that whatever they have is not good at least without seeing it:

    ——————————————————————————–

    NOVO 10 hero II is powered by ARM cortex A9 quad core ATM7029 chip(the highest frequency is up to 1.5GHz) and quad core 3D GPU and an exclusive independent 2D GPU.Quad core 3D GPU is intended for playing great scale 3D video games while 2D GPU is the perfect complement for display performance.

  10. Nobody Says:

    Hey Dev,
    have you heard the news yet?

    The ATM7029 is neither an A9 nor an A7, but a weak ARM Cortex A5!
    And it does have a crappy Vivante GC1000 “plus”.

    Ainol lie in their product specs, they always have.

    So much for all your arguing.

    • flsuperstore Says:

      Nobody. I love you. And I hate to say it….but I was right. And ask my partner Liz (The other half of F(Frank)&L(Liz) I love to tell people I’m right.

      Ainol didn’t lie with the AML8726-MX. In the beginning they said 1.5Ghz and they had to clock at 1.2Ghz for heat/stability issues. But those bugs were worked out quick and clocked back to 1.5Ghz. So they worked out the details fairly quick.

      Actions chips are a complete failure so far in my opnion. And i hope someone forwards this message to them to show that I will never sell their products. Unless of course they suddenly drop a quad core 1.6Ghz Cortex A15 With Mali-450 or better.

  11. Nathan Says:

    Hey, Your article makes some great points in favor of the AmLogic brand and even makes me reconsider selling products based on their chipset.

    I dropped Ainol I think over a year ago now because of their ridiculous marketing gimmicks. They lie like there is no tomorrow. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell customers that the Boxchip/Allwinner A10 processor was not stable past 1.0 Ghz and they would argue with me until they were blue in the face that it ran at 1.5 ghz and this was all in large part of Ainol’s continual outright misleading/lying marketing.

    The one point you made regarding AmLogic that I am totally onboard with is the MicroSD card upgrade scheme. So much of my time gets tied up in support explaining how to install drivers to flash firmware. EEESH!

    That being said, I still feel like Rockchip really has the edge right now, particularly with the RK3066 SoC. It is quick, decent good on battery, and low cost.

    The issues I had heard (please correct them if I am way off here) was that the AmLogic chipsets ran very hot and were not good on power. I know this was true in their earlier generation single-core A9 chips but I had only read a bit here an there regarding the later dual-core iterations.

    In regards to Action and to Vivante, I am all for some more competition in the mobile space, the more the merrier and bring on the innovation. However I totally agree with you, the 7029 didn’t bring anything to the table as far as anyone can yet tell. Heck, the device prices aren’t even competitive.

    The i.Mx Quad I also felt the same about, just a really underwhelming product 😦

    Personally, I am backing Rockchip and Ployer at the moment, (always “:for the moment” with China… because either or both could do something really stupid tomorrow and I would have to find a new horse). Ployer’s quality has been really excellent with some of their later RK3066 model devices and the RK3066 has been very very stable all around as well. They are jumping on the Boxchip A31 wagon though and I am just not read for “A10” round 2 again as the A10 was a “good value” chip but honestly it was buggy 😦 and I worry the A31 is going to have a similar story but time will tell.

    Just curious, does AmLogic have anything new on the near horizon?

    Thanks for the informative post. I had heard that you were a major support of AmLogic’s more recent platforms and I was curious as to why. You make some good points.

    • flsuperstore Says:

      Where are Rockchips and Ployers source codes?

      End of point.

      Yes Amlogic has a lot of stuff on their horizon. They have some chips coming out. Not just one. I think that’s all I’m allowed to say.

      • Nathan Says:

        Why is Source Code so important? If you stock firmware isn’t extremely buggy, your platform is stable, and your hardware is good quality, the need for source code is greatly diminished. Is released source code good, yes, vital, not at all. Most of what needs to be done to make good firmware can be done with existing stock images as long as the platform (in this case Rockchip) is solid and release good stuff for their vendors (in this case Ployer) to work with. By and large, that has been the case. Cyanogen Mod, while interesting, only brings so much to the table for the majority of users. I am all for it, I love to tweak and to play around. The most folks want something that just works and works well and in the case of several of ployer/rockchip’s recent entrants, that is very much so the case. Not saying it is perfect, but neither is CM. Not trying to discount the hard work of all the devs either in that area. It is important. But not having source code doesn’t discount your product as being viable. My 2-Cents. And the performance difference between the current AmLogic and Rockchip platforms is significant, especially when you take the RK3188 into account. Anyhow, I wasn’t trying to argue, quite the opposite. Oh, and some source code was released for an RK3066 unit however that was a “leak” and not an official release. It is hosted on one of our sister sites.

  12. flsuperstore Says:

    What I’m about to say is goign to be harsh. But for someone who sells these things should have some kind of idea of the worth of source code. My Note II has the most solid firmware in the world. But I want to change the software. In fact I’ve changed the software on every single Android phone I’ve owned. Of which would not be possible without the source code and people writing their own AOSP builds.

    Amlogic’s core software is very good. But people like options. If they didn’t they would be buying iPhones and iPads and not Android.

    So obviosuly you are sucking the teet of Rockchip. And that’s cool, because I’m doing the same for Amlogic. But Amlogic has a lot more to offer than Rockchip. Trust me.

    • Nathan Says:

      LOL 🙂

      I do have some kind of idea of the worth of Source Code. It comes down to Cyanogen Mod in most cases. Which I would argue is great if you are having problems with modified stock firmware. But I am asking, what can you do with Cyanogen mod that I can’t do with modified stock that is pretty much bug free? What has source code gained you? Fixing annoying bugs that the Chinese ignore is one issue for sure but if the stock firmware doesn’t have bugs to begin with that really isn’t an issue (and yes, believe it or not there are several devices that are good example of this). I have used CM10 heavily, I like it, but honestly it doesn’t offer that much more on top of a good modified version of stock. I really am asking here then, what is the value of source code in that situation? Now, do I want Ubuntu on my device? Yes! At some point I do and source code is necessary for that, I get it. But most customers want something that is fast / bug free / and stable. I am not saying CM isn’t those things. But I am saying that a good copy of modified stock on, for example, a Momo 12, definitely is. Unless they are delving into the system code on their device on a regular basis, most, for example, momo 12 users I doubt would say they are missing the source code. Wait… I did just think of something, it can make it easier to add support for more USB accessories, but then I would argue again that you don’t really need source code for that as it can be done without. It also can be used to extend the life of a device when the MFR. stops support it, that is a valid point. Anyhow, aside from that last bit this does kind of come full circle. If your base firmware is solid and easily modified, what is the need for source? Yes I am asking :). Kind Regards, and thanks for the lively discussion.

  13. Nathan Says:

    And I like the RK3066 because unlike the A10 it has been relatively headache free, stable, and very very fast. So yeah, I will stick behind it. There has also been, at least seemingly to me, more interest in it vs the AmLogic chips. I am not discounting AmLogic here, I have no issue with their current chips, they are fine products. However I tried to sell a comparable AmLogic unit from Onda side by side an RK3066 model and people always opted for the RK3066 so here we are :). I do want microSD firmware updates though, jeeze that would be nice…

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