Rockchip

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Coordinates: 26°06′46″N 119°15′54″E / 26.112846°N 119.264960°E / 26.112846; 119.264960

Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Co., Ltd.
Private
Industry
Founded Fuzhou, China 2001 (2001)
Area served
Worldwide, but primarily China
Key people
  • Min Li (CEO)
  • Feng Chen (Vice President)
Products RK3066, RK3188
Number of employees
500 (2012)
Website www.rock-chips.com
Footnotes / references
[1][2][3]

Rockchip (Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Co., Ltd.) is a fabless semiconductor company based in Fuzhou, People's Republic of China. They design SoCs using licensed SIP cores from other companies. Due to their evolution from the MP3/MP4 player market most Rockchip SoCs feature advanced media decoding logic but lack integrated cellular radio basebands.

Rockchip is a leading supplier of SoC solutions to Chinese white-box tablet manufacturers[4][5][6] as well as supplying top-tier OEMs such as Asus,[7][8] HP[9] and Toshiba.[10][11]

Rockchip is an ARM licensee and uses the ARM architecture for the majority of its projects.[12]

However, on 27 May 2014 Intel announced that it has entered into a strategic agreement with Rockchip to accelerate the adoption of the Intel architecture and Intel's communication-based solutions for a range of entry-level tablets targeted at the worldwide market.[3]

Markets and competition[edit]

In the market for SoC solutions for tablets, Rockchip faces competition from Allwinner Technology,[13] MediaTek,[5] Intel,[14] Actions Semiconductor,[15] Spreadtrum,[16] Leadcore Technology,[17] Samsung Semiconductor, Qualcomm, Broadcom, VIA Technologies[13] and Amlogic.[13]

After establishing a leading position early in the developing Chinese tablet SoC market, in 2012 it faced a challenge by Allwinner.[2] In 2012, Rockchip shipped 10.5 million tablet processors, compared to 27.5 million for Allwinner.[13]

However, Rockchip subsequently improved its competitive position. For Q3 2013, Rockchip was forecast to ship 6 million tablet-use application processors in China, compared to 7 million for Allwinner who mainly shipped single-core solutions.[18] Rockchip was reported to be the number one supplier of tablet-use application processors in China in Q4 2013, Q1 2014 and Q2 2014.[4][6]

Chinese SoC suppliers that do not have cellular baseband technology are at a disadvantage compared to companies such as MediaTek that also supply the smartphone market as white-box tablet makers increasingly add phone or cellular data functionality to their products.[19]

Intel Corporation has made significant investments into becoming a player in the tablet processor market and was heavily subsidizing its entry into the low-cost tablet market as of 2014.[14]

Cooperation with Intel[edit]

In May 2014, Intel announced an strategic agreement with Rockchip to jointly deliver an Intel-branded mobile SoC platform based on Intel's Atom processor and 3G modem technology.[3] Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will deliver an Intel-branded mobile SoC platform. The quad-core platform will be based on an Intel Atom processor core integrated with Intel's 3G modem technology, and is expected to be available in the first half of 2015.[3] Both Intel and Rockchip will sell the new part to OEMs and ODMs, primarily into each company's existing customer base.[3]

As of October 2014, Rockchip was already offering a low-end smartphone solution, Intel's XMM 6321, through its customer base.[20] It is a two chip solution consisting of a dual-core application processor (either with Intel processor cores or ARM Cortex-A5 cores) with integrated modem (XG632) and an integrated RF chip (AG620) that originates from the cellular chip division of Infineon (which Intel acquired some time ago). The application processor may also originate from Infineon or Intel. Rockchip has not earlier targeted the smartphone space in a material way.

Products[edit]

Tronsmart MK908, a Rockchip-based quad-core Android "mini PC", with a microSD card next to it for a size comparison.

Early Products[edit]

RK26xx series - Released 2006.

RK27xx series - Rockchip was first known for their RK 27xx series that was very efficient at MP3/MP4 decoding and was integrated in many low-cost personal media player (PMP) products.

RK28xx series[edit]

The RK2806 was targeted at PMPs.

  • ARM926EJC 600 MHz CPU + DSP Core
  • SD, DDR RAM support
  • Up to 1280×720 h.263 and h.264 software video acceleration.
  • RTOS support

The RK2808A is an ARM926EJ-S derivative. Along with the ARM core a DSP coprocessor is included. The native clock speed is 560 MHz. ARM rates the performance of the ARM926EJ-S at 1.1 DMIPS/MHz the performance of the Rockchip 2808 when executing ARM instructions is therefore 660 DMIPS roughly 26% the speed of Apple's A4 processor. The DSP coprocessor can support the real-time decoding of 720p video files at bitrates of up to 2.5 Mbit/s. This chip was the core of many Android and Windows Mobile-based mobile internet devices.[citation needed].

The RK2816 was targeted at PMP devices, and MIDs. It has the same specifications as the RK2806 but also includes HDMI output, Android support, and up to 720p hardware video acceleration..

The RK2818[21] was targeted at MID and E-reader devices. As of 2013, it was targeted at E-readers.[22]

  • ARM9 core + DSP clocked at up to 640 MHz
  • USB connection to Wifi/Bluetooth chip
  • Accelerometer
  • SD/SDHC/MMC
  • Up to 1024×768 display support
  • DDR and DDR2 RAM support, up to 4 GB
  • Up to 720p hardware video acceleration for H.264
  • Arteris FlexNoc interconnect technology
  • RTOS and Android

RK29xx series[edit]

The Rockchip RK291x is a family of SoCs based on the ARM Cortex-A8 CPU core. They were presented for the first time at CES 2011. The RK292x are single core SoCs based on ARM Cortex-A9 and were first introduced in 2012.

The RK2918[23] was the first chip to decode Google WebM VP8 in hardware. It uses a dynamically configurable companion core to process various codecs. It encodes and decodes H.264 at 1080p, and can decode many standard video formats including Xvid, H.263, AVS, MPEG4, RV, and WMV. It includes a Vivante GC800 GPU that is compatible with OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG. The RK2918 is compatible with Android Froyo (2.2), Gingerbread (2.3), HoneyComb (3.x) and Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0).[24] Unofficial support for Ubuntu and other Linux flavours exists. As of 2013, it was targeted at E-readers.[22]

  • ARM Cortex-A8 processor, clocked at up to 1.2 GHz (due to stability reasons often limited to 1 GHz)
  • 512 KB L2 cache
  • NEON SIMD support
  • Vivante GC800 GPU at 575 MHz supporting Open GL ES 2.0 and Open VG 1.1 support[25]
  • VPU (Video Processing Unit) supporting 1080p image and video decoding for H.264, Xvid, H.263, AVS, MPEG4, RV, and WMV
  • DDR, DDR2, DDR3 RAM support
  • HDMI 1.2 Interface[citation needed]
  • USB 1.1 Host, USB 2.0 Host and USB 2.0 Device Interface
  • SD/MMC Interface
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.1

The RK2906 is basically a cost-reduced version of the RK2918, also targeted at E-readers as of 2013.[22]

The Rockchip RK2926 and RK2928[26] feature a single core ARM Cortex A9 running at a speed up to 1.0 GHz. It replaces the Vivante GC800 GPU of the older RK291x series with an ARM Mali-400 GPU. As of 2013, the RK2926 was targeted at tablets, while the RK2928 was targeted at tablets and Android TV dongles and boxes.[22]

  • Single core ARM Cortex A9 clocked up to 1.0 GHz
  • 128 KB L2 cache[22]
  • 55 nm low power process
  • ARM Mali-400 GPU (single core, up to 330 MHz)
  • 1080P multi format video decoding
  • 1080P video encoding for H.264
  • Embedded HDMI 1.4b transmitter, audio codec, GPS baseband
  • Embedded LVDS transmitter

RK30xx series[edit]

The RK3066 is a high performance dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 mobile processor similar to the Samsung Exynos 4 Dual Core chip. In terms of performance, the RK3066 is between the Samsung Exynos 4210 and the Samsung Exynos 4212.[27][28][29][30][31] As of 2013, it was targeted at tablets and Android TV dongles and boxes.[22] It has been a popular choice for both tablets and other devices since 2012.

  • 40 nm process
  • Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor (ARMv7 architecture) clocked up to 1.6 GHz
  • 512 KB L2 cache[22]
  • NEON SIMD support
  • Quad core Mali-400 GPU, clocked at 250 MHz supporting Open GL ES 2.0, Open VG 1.1 support, 9 GFLOPS[25]
  • VPU (Video Processing Unit) Multi-Media Processor supporting 1080p image and video decoding
  • DDR, DDR2, DDR3 support, up to 2 GB
  • HDMI 1.4 Interface
  • 2-channels TFT LCD Interface with 5 layers and 3D Display (1920×1080 Maximum display Size)
  • USB 2.0 Interface
  • SD/MMC Interface

The RK3068 is a version of the RK3066 specifically targeted at Android TV dongles and boxes. Its package is much smaller than the RK3066.[22]

The RK3028 is a low-cost dual-core ARM Cortex-A9-based processor clocked at 1.0 GHz with ARM Mali-400 GPU. It is pin-compatible with the RK2928. It is used in a few kids tablets and low-cost Android HDMI TV dongles.[32]

The RK3026 is an updated ultra-low-end dual-core ARM Cortex-A9-based tablet processor clocked at 1.0 GHz with ARM Mali-400 MP2 GPU. Manufactured at 40 nm, it is pin-compatible with the RK2926. It features 1080p H.264 video encoding and 1080p decoding in multiple formats.[33] Supporting Android 4.4,[34] it has been adopted for low-end tablets in 2014.

The RK3036 is a low-cost dual-core ARM Cortex-A7-based processor released in Q4 2014 for smart set-top boxes with support for H.265 video decoding.[35]

RK31xx series[edit]

The RK3188 was the first product in the RK31xx series, announced for production in the 2nd quarter of 2013. The RK3188 features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 clocked up to 1.6 GHz frequency.[36][37] It is targeted at tablets and Android TV dongles and boxes,[22] and has been a popular choice for both tablets and other devices requiring good performance.

The RK3188T is a lower-clocked version of the RK3188, with the CPU cores running at a maximum speed of 1.4 GHz instead of 1.6 GHz. The Mali-400MP4 GPU is also clocked at a lower speed. As of early 2014, many devices advertised as using a RK3188 with a maximum clock speed of 1.6 GHz actually have a RK3188T with clock speed limited to 1.4 GHz. Operating system ROMs specifically made for the RK3188 may not work correctly with a RK3188T.[39]

The RK3168, first shown in April 2013, is a dual-core Cortex A9-based CPU, also manufactured using the 28 nm process.[40][41] It is targeted at low-end tablets.[22] The chip has seen only limited use as of May 2014.

  • 28 nm HKMG process[41] at GlobalFoundries[38]
  • Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9, up to 1.2/1.5 GHz[41]
  • 256 KB L2 cache[22]
  • PowerVR SGX54x GPU (originally listed as SGX540[22]), up to 600 MHz (typically 500 MHz) GPU, supporting Open GL ES 1.1/2.0, Open VG 1.1[25][41]
  • High performance dedicated 2D processor[41]
  • 1080P multi format video decoding[41]
  • 1080P video encoding for H.264[41]
  • DDR3, DDR3L, LPDDR2 support[41]
  • Dual-panel display up to 1920x1080 resolution[41]

The RK3126 is an entry-level tablet processor introduced in Q4 2014. Manufactured using a 40 nm process, it features a quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU up to 1.3 GHz and a Mali-400 MP2 GPU. It is pin-compatible with RK3026 and RK2926.[42]

  • 40 nm process
  • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A7, up to 1.3 GHz
  • Mali-400 MP2 GPU
  • High performance dedicated 2D processor
  • DDR3, DDR3L memory interface
  • 1080p multi format video decoding and 1080p video encoding for H.264

The RK3128 is a higher-end variant of RK3126, also to be introduced in Q4 2014, that features more integrated external interfaces, including CVBS, HDMI, Ethernet MAC, S/PDIF, Audio DAC, and USB. It targets more fully featured tablets and set-top boxes.[43]

RK32xx series[edit]

Rockchip has announced the RK3288 for production in the second quarter of 2014.[44] Recent information suggests that the chip uses a quad-core ARM Cortex-A17 CPU, although technically ARM Cortex-A12,[45] which as of October 1, 2014, ARM has decided to also refer to as Cortex-A17 because the latest production version of Cortex-A12 performs at a similar performance level as Cortex-A17.[46]

  • 28 nm HKMG process.
  • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A17, up to 1.8 GHz
  • Quad-core ARM Mali-T760 MP4 (also called Mali-T764) GPU clocked at 600 MHz[25] supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0/3.1, OpenCL 1.1, Renderscript, Direct3D 11.1[47]
  • High performance dedicated 2D processor
  • 1080P video encoding for H.264 and VP8, MVC
  • 4K H.264 and 10bits H.265 video decode, 1080P multi video decode
  • Supports 4Kx2K H.265 resolution
  • Dual-channel DDR3, DDR3L, LPDDR2, LPDDR3
  • Up to 3840x2160 display output, HDMI 2.0

Inconsistent information about CPU cores used in RK3288[edit]

Early reports including Rockchip first suggested in summer 2013 that the RK3288 was originally designed using a quad-core ARM Cortex-A12 configuration.[48] Rockchip's primary foundry partner GlobalFoundries announced a partnership with ARM to optimize the ARM Cortex-A12 for their 28 nm-SLP process.[49] This is the same process used for earlier Rockchip chips such as the RK3188, and matches the choice of Cortex-A12 cores in the design of the RK3288.

In January 2014, official marketing materials listed the CPU cores as ARM Cortex-A17. At the CES electronics show in January 2014, someone apparently corrected the CPU specification as being ARM Cortex-A12 instead of Cortex-A17 on one of the panels of their show booth.[50] However, since then, official specifications from Rockchip's website and marketing materials as well specifications used by device manufacturers have continued to describe the CPU as a quad-core ARM Cortex-A17.

Recent testing of early RK3288-based TV boxes (August/September 2014) provided evidence that the RK3288 technically contains Cortex-A12 cores, since the "ARM 0xc0d" CPU archtitecture reported by CPU-Z for Android is the reference for Cortex-A12, while the original Cortex-A17 is referred to as "ARM 0xc0e".[45]

However, on the ARM community website, ARM clarified the situation on October 1, 2014, saying that Cortex-A12, for which Rockchip is one of the few known customers, will be called Cortex-A17 from now on, and that all references to Cortex-A12 have been removed from ARM's website.[46] ARM explained that the latest production revision of Cortex-A12 now performs close to the level of Cortex-A17 because the improvements of the Cortex-A17 now also have been applied to the latest version of Cortex-A12. In this way, Rockchip now gets the official blessing from ARM for listing the cores inside the RK3288 as Cortex-A17.

The first Android TV stick based on RK3288 was launched in November 2014 ("ZERO Devices Z5C Thinko"[51]).

RK33xx series[edit]

Rockchip annonunced the first member of the RK33xx family at the CES show in January 2015. The RK3368 is a SoC targeting tablets and media boxes featuring a 64-bit octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU and an OpenGL ES 3.1-class GPU.[52]

  • Octa-core Cortex-A53 up to 1.5 GHz
  • High-performance GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.1
  • 4Kx2K H.264/H.265 real-time video playback
  • HDMI 2.0 with 4Kx2K @ 60 fps display output

List of Rockchip SoC[edit]

ARMv5-based[edit]

Model Number Semiconductor technology CPU Instruction Set CPU GPU Memory Technology Availability Utilizing Devices
RK2601 180 nm 2006
RK2602
RK2606 180 nm SDRAM
RK2608
RK2610
RK2616 300 MHz
RK2618 300 MHz SDRAM
RK2619 640 MHz SDRAM
RK2706 ARMv5TEJ ARM7EJ 2007
RK2708
RK2718 ARMv5 320 MHz Single-core ARM9
RK2728
RK2738 ARMv5  600 MHz Single-core ARM9 SDRAM 2010
RK2806 ARMv5 TEJ 600 MHz Single-core ARM9 SDRAM, DDR RAM support 2009
RK2808 ARMv5 TEJ Single-core ARM9 2009
RK2808A ARMv5 TEJ 560 MHz Single-core ARM9 DDR and DDR2 RAM support, up to 1 GB 2009
RK2816 ARMv5 TEJ 560 MHz Single-core ARM9 DDR and DDR2 RAM support
RK2818 ARMv5 TEJ 640 MHz Single-core ARM9 DDR and DDR2 RAM support, up to 4 GB

Tablet application processors (ARMv7-A and later)[edit]

Model Number Fab CPU GPU Memory Technology Sampl. Avail-
ability
Utilizing Devices
ISA Core Cores Frq (GHz) L2 cache (KB) Core Frq (MHz) Type Bus width BW (GB/s)
RK2918[23] 55 nm ARMv7-A ARM Cortex-A8 1 1 – 1.2 512 Vivante GC800 575[25] DDR, DDR2, DDR3  ? 2011
RK2926[22] ARM Cortex-A9 1 1.0 128 Mali-400 MP 400[25] 32-bit
RK2928[22][26] 55 nm ARM Cortex-A9 1 1.0 Mali-400 MP 400[25] DDR3, DDR3L 32-bit 2012
RK3026 40 nm ARM Cortex-A9 2 1.0 Mali-400 MP2 500[25] DDR3, DDR3L 32-bit Dec 2013
RK3066[22][41] 40 nm ARM Cortex-A9 2 1.6 512 Mali-400 MP4 266[25] Up to 400 MHz LPDDR2, DDR3, DDR3L support, up to 2 GiB[56] 32-bit 3.2 2012
RK3036[35] ARM Cortex-A7 2 1.2 Mali-400 MP2 DDR3, DDR3L Q4 2014
RK3126[42] 40 nm 4 1.3 600[25] DDR3, DDR3L 32-bit 2014
RK3128[43] 40 nm 4 1.3 600[25] LPDDR2, DDR3, DDR3L 32-bit 2014
RK3168[22][41] 28 nm HKMG ARM Cortex-A9 2 1.2 256 PowerVR SGX540 600[25] LPDDR2, DDR3, DDR3L 32-bit 2013
RK3188[22][37] 28 nm HKMG ARM Cortex-A9 4 1.6 512 Mali-400 MP4 533[25] Up to 800 MHz LPDDR2, DDR3, DDR3L, max 2 GB 32-bit 6.4 2013
RK3188T[39] 28 nm HKMG ARM Cortex-A9 4 1.4 512 Mali-400 MP4 +-400 LPDDR2, DDR3, DDR3L, up to 2 GiB 32-bit 2013
RK3288[44] 28 nm HKMG ARM Cortex-A17 4 1.8 1024 [84] Mali-T760 MP4 (listed as Mali-T764) 600[25] LPDDR2, DDR3L, LPDDR3, up to 4 GiB Dual channel 32-bit 2014
RK3368[52] ARMv8 ARM Cortex-A53 8 1.5 OpenGL ES 3.1 class Q1 2015

Tablet processors with integrated modem[edit]

Model Number Fab CPU GPU Memory Technology Integrated Wireless Technology Sampl. Avail-
ability
Utilizing Devices
ISA Core Cores Frq (GHz) L2 cache (KB) Core Frq (MHz) Type Bus width BW (GB/s)
Unknown TSMC? x86-64[3] Intel Atom processor core[3] 4[3] Intel 3G modem[3] 2015[3]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]