The Allwinner A31 and Actions ATM7029 quad-core SoC are pitted against the Nvidia Tegra 3 and Samsung Exynos 4412. Chinese site padhz.com has a battle royale among these 4 quad-core SoC that are popular choices among tablet manufacturers.
The A31 is the latest design from Allwinner. The Allwinner A10 was a popular SoC and it was used in the highly popular MK802 Android Mini PCs. However, Allwinner did not follow-up with a dual core version but instead jumped right ahead to the quad-core A31. The A31 has four 1GHz ARM Cortex A7 CPUs and a 355 MHz SGX544 MP2 GPU. The ARM Cortex A7 is a fairly new design and it comes with many power saving designs. The A31 is already used in quite a few products including the recently released MK810 Android mini PC.
The quad-core ATM7029 is from Actions Semiconductor, a company that was well-known for supplying processors for MP3 players during the Mp3 player boom days. The ATM7029 is aimed at the low price and budget devices as it is currently one of the cheapest quad-core SoC in the market today. The ATM7029 has four 1.5GHz ARM Cortex A5 CPUs and a Vivante GC1000 GPU. The ARM Cortex A5 is also designed as a power saving chip but it is an older design compared to the ARM Cortex A7. I am not aware of any Android mini PCs that is using the ATM7029 but it is widely used in many Android tablets from Chinese manufacturers.
The Nividia Tegra3 was one of the very first quad-core based designs and has been around since Nov 2011. It is powered by four 1.7GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores and a 520MHz ULP Geforce GPU. The Tegra3 can be found in many devices including the best-selling Google Nexus 7 tablet.
The last contender is the Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 with 400 MHz Mali400 MP4 GPU. The Exynos 4412 is of course what powers Samsung’s best-selling flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy SIII.
The Teclast A11 10.1″ Quad Core Tablet PC represented the A31 in this battle. The Ainol Novo 10 Hero 2 tablet is the champion for the ATM7029. The Tegra3 and Exynos 4412 are represented by the Google Nexus 7 tablet and Ramos W42 Quad Core Android Tablet respectively.
Besides the processors in the individual tablets, there are other differences in the hardware specs obviously. While all 4 tablets have 1280 x 800 resolution displays, the actual screen size range from 7″ on the Nexus 7 to 10.1″ on the Teclast A11 and Ainol Novo 10. The Teclast A11 has 2GB of RAM while the other 3 models only has 1GB. The Nexus 7 being Google’s flagship model is running the latest Android 4.2.2. The Teclast A11 and Ainol Novo 10 both have Android 4.1.1. The Ramos W42 only has Android 4.0.4.
In most of the CPU centric benchmarks, the more powerful Cortex A9 based CPUs of the Exynos 4412 and Tegra3 managed to triumph over the Cortex A7 A31 and Cortex A5 ATM7029. However, on the GPU centric benchmarks, both the A31 and ATM7029 managed to either to hold their own and held a slight advantage over the older Tegra3 and Exynos 4412.
In both cases, the A31 also proved to be a better performer compared to the ATM7092.
In the file loading tests, both the Tegra3 and Exynos 4412 again proved to be better performers and beat both the A31 and ATM7029 by significant margins. In other real world performance tests like web browsing and gaming, the difference between the four processors are less obvious.
On the battery tests, the Nexus 7 and W42 performed the best in battery stand by tests. On the battery life test, the Ainol Novo 10 performed the best followed closely by the Teclast A11 and Nexus 7. The battery life of the W42 was a bit disappointing. However, since all 4 tablets had different battery and screen sizes, the battery tests are not true representation of the CPU’s actual power consumption and should be used as a reference only.
Overall, unlike the RK3188 vs Exynos 4122 vs Tegra3 battle, there is no clear-cut winner in this quad-core battle. The Cortex A9 SoCs still lead when it comes to raw processing power but loses out to the newer quad cores when it comes to graphics performance.