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China’s Rockchip Dual-Core ARM Beats Qualcomm Snapdragon, NVIDIA Tegra & Samsung Exynos

Rockchip RK3066

Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Company (or simply Rockchip) is mostly known for its low-power silicon which powers numerous entry-level tablets, smartphones, digital frames, personal media players etc. The company recently unveiled its high-performing chips, the RK 3000 Series.

The company from Mainland China is powering vast majority of set-top-boxes, digital picture frames, personal media players and of course, numerous low-end tablets and smartphones. Given every product we've seen so far, you would not put Rockchip in the same class of product as Qualcomm Snapdragon, Nvidia Tegra, TI OMAP or Samsung Exynos.

At Computex Taipei 2012, the company unveiled products based on the RK3066, first-generation dual-core chip based on ARM Cortex-A9 processors and using Mali-400MP as the GPU. At first glance, it looked like RK3066 cannot hold the candle to its contemporary competitors. Given Rockchip's focus on creating chips as affordable as possible, the company relied on TSMC's trusted and tried 40nm process.

On the contrary, it turned out that the results were quite remarkable from the company which used to lag up to 20% clock-for-clock when compared to the competition. In the Basemark 2.0 ES Taji benchmark, tablets based on RK3066 gives its competitors a run for their money, especially at common 1024×768 and 1280×800 screen sizes. We did not expect to see the chip beating the acclaimed 28nm Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 design, which consists of Krait core (based on the next-gen Cortex-A15 core) and Adreno 225 GPU, which should demolish the Mali-400MP.

Three RK3066 powered tablets recently entered Rightware's PowerBoard list and immediately took the top three positions, beating well-known devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Lenovo IdeaPad, Asus PadFone and others luminaries. Even though the Basemark 2.0 ES Taji benchmark focuses only on 3D performance, seeing RK3066 delivering over 30 frames per second in HD resolution presents encouraging signs for Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Company.

If anything history has showed us that far eastern players appear and shine like a supernova in the semiconductor universe – only to pale as other vendors invest more resources and go for the economies of scale. Rockchip also has to contend with local players such as MediaTek and HiSilicon (division of Huawei). Nonetheless, the competition is heating up and going forward, well-established players will have to break a sweat in order to beat rising stars from China. 

Image Credits: Engadget

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