WelcomeWelcome | FAQFAQ | DownloadsDownloads | WikiWiki

Author Topic: (Solved) Coretex core number confusion  (Read 6002 times)

Offline athouston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
(Solved) Coretex core number confusion
« on: July 14, 2013, 05:58:15 PM »
I am looking to understand a future direction for this work and the ARM industry in general but I am confused about the numbering. If my work progresses to it's conclusion I am going to want a few hundred "sticks" so its a bit important that I pick the correct horse.

The current TCL for RAM is listed as ARMv7 but the AllWinner website denotes A10, A10s and A13 as Cortex-A8 and the A31 Quad Core as Cortex-A7.

How do these equate please.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2013, 05:15:59 AM by athouston »

Offline roberts

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7361
  • Founder Emeritus
Re: Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 09:05:07 PM »
ARM Cortex™-A8 processor is based on ARMv7 architecture, i.e., the instruction set is ARMv7. Of course the ARMv7 architecture is independent of a manufacture's use of u-boot and initial boot loaders. That is why we cannot offer a single image to work on all A10 boards.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 09:28:29 PM by roberts »
10+ Years Contributing to Linux Open Source Projects.

Offline athouston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
Re: Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2013, 12:40:00 AM »
So the Cortex-A7 is what? armv6 or 5 or something..

Offline athouston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
Re: Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 12:44:11 AM »
Sorry, should have also asked..

Do we have a strategic direction as to what architecture we are following,; Allwinner or Rockchip (RK3188 quad core) or Freescale I.MX6. or whatever. Allwinner and Rockchip seem to be dominant in the market but Freescale seems pretty responsive to Linux support.

Offline xyz-worx

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
Re: Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2013, 01:34:33 AM »
Hi athouston,

you are right, that freescale forces its iMX6 chips and has a quite pretty support for them. Additionally
there is 'real silicon' available for all variants: single core, dual core light, dual core and quad core. I
mention this, because it was not always fact in the past - freescale was a master of announcing, but
not of providing silicon (e. g. the 'Kinetis' line of CPUs).

I think selecting a specific CPU or board depends on your needs also. If you want systems, that have to be available
for more than let's say two or three years, then Allwinners/Rockchips might be o. K. If your need is to have them
significantly available longer, then the freescale chips are more interesting. The iMX6 CPUs are part of freescale's
'Longevity' program, that means they will be available for ten maybe 15 years.

Did you take a look at the 'Wandboard' which is a low cost iMX6-board? You can get it with single core,
dual core light or quad core CPUs. There have a forum and IIRC questions about TC support have been asked.

best regards xyz-worx


Offline athouston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
Re: Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2013, 05:15:19 AM »
Having something available for a couple of years is, in computing terms, means maybe a week and a bit. By the time you have built and debugged something its no longer available; hence the interest in strategic direction.

Both Freescale and TI are big producers aiming at long term profitability and therefore appear a more mature business investment.

However we have here the Beta / VHS video tape scenario. The Beta format was far superior performance to VHS but VHS won the marketing war; the triumph of form over function. AllWinner and Rockchip may be the VHS to Freescale /TI Beta. There are not many I.MX? or TI OMAP cpu sticks or TV boxes compared to the others and Rockchip seems to far outnumber AllWinner. I have an I.MX6 based GK802 TV stick that runs very nicely under Android; but having seen the immense difference in performance TCL made on my MK802 I suggest the GK802 would be capable of replacing any modern desktop PC (and beat many). The upshot is, I can see the logic of not spending too much time in this direction.

Anyway, we have taken this thread way off topic, which has been basically answered, so I'll mark it solved and move on. Thanks for your input.

Offline roberts

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7361
  • Founder Emeritus
Re: (Solved) Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 03:16:24 PM »
It is important to note that the concept of using import was/is to try to address the fact that there so many arm boards.

As can be seen with the effort underway to compile extensions for x86 Core 5.0 native, it would be a huge task to try to compile everything for every arm processor and board configuration on the market.

When asking about the stratery going forward with arm support, the answer is that there isn't one. There are too many arm devices to even try to keep up with. I started with Allwinner A10 simply because it was one of the first Linux friendly, sdcard linux bootable arm device.

Even with just the Allwinner A10 the boards are all different. Threre is no bios as for x86. Instead a lower level u-boot is used and even there it differs from Mele, Cubieboard, Marsboard, Hackberry, and mk802.

As to what is next? i.MX6 or Exynos or ? Will there be enough interest in one over the other?

The interest in Core on Allwinner has been slight. I don't feel further effort on Allwinner, other than improving the import scripts, is worth the result. I am happy with the performance with my Mele/SATA setup. So I will be looking to what will be next arm target.

But let it be noted that my health challenges continnue to dictate when and if I am able.
10+ Years Contributing to Linux Open Source Projects.

Offline athouston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
Re: (Solved) Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 02:28:11 AM »
Thanks Robert, I respect your efforts given your health issues. I am day 141 after my heart triple bypass which resulted in some serious infection issues. But I take the attitude that you can't kill a brown dog.

The ARMv7 core seems to be pretty prevalent. The Cortex-A9 is v7 as is the I.MX6 (also A9) so there is a pretty solid foundation.

I can see the challenges with the U-Boot side of things and I am still trying to get my head around that and sunxi but I was thinking, is there an option to modify TCL boot sequence to piggy back on the "normal" ARM boot process. My idea is that when someone (the manufacturer) makes a UBoot file for Linux we can "just" replace their Linux with ours. This might also allow us to load TCL into the on-board storage of devices like the MK802.

I am also pretty happy with the performance of the MK802 but a bit more grunt and RAM would be very helpful for my project. The ability to put the OS "on-board" and leave the external SDCard free for data, together with the quad core side of things was my impetus to get the GK802 with the Freescale chip.

Keep well.

Offline roberts

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7361
  • Founder Emeritus
Re: (Solved) Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2013, 11:30:03 AM »
I believe the GK802 does not have nand, nor does it support SATA. AFAIK, the GK802 has an internal sdcard from which it boots. This makes a bit of a challenge as the default does not boot from external sdcard as do most A10 devices.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 12:50:36 PM by roberts »
10+ Years Contributing to Linux Open Source Projects.

Offline athouston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
Re: (Solved) Coretex core number confusion
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2013, 03:39:31 PM »
The I.mx6 supports SATA, although I do not know how that translates into the GK802 at this point in time. It does boot from an internal 8GB sd card and it is very easy to open the case and swap it out. I did this to update the firmware to "root" it.

I am not necessarily harping on getting TCL on the GK802 (although it would be nice - and I am playing with that at the moment) but more so in identifying a strategic direction. I have a particular project in mind that would need 10 units to start with and possibly a couple of hundred (256 to be more precise). If I am going to go to that sort of trouble, obviously I would like to get the most bang for the buck. A quad core stick therefore would be very nice, as would 2GB ram.

At the moment there only seems to be 1 Allwinner A31 quad core stick available but there seems to be about 6 RK3188 devices which are all ARMv7 based. Allwinner certainly seems to be more active in supporting the developer community and I would be more than happy going in that direction. There also seems to be far less support in the marketplace for the Freescale and Samsung chips, which makes sense given they are not mainland chinese chips. They have a longer planned life for sure but I believe they will stay as niche product in the TV stick market. They will certainly be more prevalent in the process control / industrial automation market than the others because of this.

I'll read your answers to my other questions and get back to you.