Allwinner UltraOcta A80 processor packs a PowerVR Series6 GPU with 64 cores

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First previewed at CES 2014, the Allwinner UltraOcta A80 processor is now making its formal debut at MWC 2014. The full set of specifications includes an eight-core big.LITTLE HMP (GTS) CPU paired with a PowerVR G6230 GPU, providing some of the best horsepower for graphics and compute available right now.

allwinner-a80-octaThe Allwinner UltraOcta A80 is an octa-core processor with a PowerVR Series6 GPU

Allwinner is one of the leading semiconductor companies worldwide, serving the mobile market with a wide range of high performance, low power products that have been instrumental in enabling the emergence of numerous low cost devices, including tablets, phablets, portable game consoles, set-top boxes and many others.
The company’s first two SoCs with PowerVR graphics, the Allwinner A31 and A31s, were a hit in emerging markets and were the driving force behind a new wave of affordable mobile devices for most of 2013.  More recently, 4G tablets based on the Allwinner A31 and A31s were shown during CES and both chipsets were given a boost in system performance thanks to an update to the latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. Since their official announcement, Allwinner A31 and A31s SoCs have been used by top-tier brands worldwide including HP, MSI, Pegatron, Foxconn, and Kurio, making them some of the most successful quad-core tablet processors in 2013.  For example, the Allwinner A31s-based Compaq 7/7+/8 range from HP has been very popular in emerging markets due to a combination of high-performance processing from Allwinner and Imagination, premium features and affordable pricing.

Introducing the Allwinner UltraOcta A80 processor

2014 is set to be an exciting year for Allwinner. Their new UltraOcta A80 processor offers a significant boost in graphics performance. Whereas A31 and A31s integrated a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU, UltraOcta is upgraded to a PowerVR G6230 graphics processor. This means a twofold increase in graphics and compute performance as well as an update in feature set.

A80 Diagram - PowerVR G6230 (Final)The Allwinner UltraOcta A80 processor includes a two-cluster PowerVR G6230 GPU with 64 cores

The PowerVR G6230 GPU is based on the Rogue architecture, which has been designed to support a variety of APIs, including OpenGL ES Next and 3.0, OpenCL 1.x, Renderscript, and DirectX 10.
OpenGL ES Next is perhaps the most interesting of all, considering that it brings very exciting features to OpenGL ES 3.0: compute shaders, indirect draw commands, enhanced texture functionality and more. Since the PowerVR Rogue architecture has been designed with a forward-thinking approach for ultimate efficiency, Imagination has been one of the first mobile GPU vendors to announce our support for this new standard. Consumers can rest assured they are getting the best possible graphics engine available, which will be able to run the latest fully-featured applications.
PowerVR support for DirectX 10 enables OEMs/ODMs looking to build Windows RT tablets to access the best GPU available at the moment. And considering Allwinner has always had a cost-conscious approach to apps processors, end users can now have access to more affordable devices which make no compromises when it comes to cutting-edge, low power graphics technology.

64 cores ticking inside the PowerVR G6230 GPU

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the PowerVR GPU inside the Allwinner UltraOcta A80 processor is what’s under the hood, so let’s take a brief look at its architecture.
PowerVR G6230 has two shading clusters, each with 32 FP32 ALU cores. This adds up to a total of 64 cores which are able to provide the required GFLOPS needed to crunch through the most demanding graphics and compute applications.
But the performance-optimized PowerVR G6230 GPU also has a dedicated FP16 engine designed to bring superior performance to most modern applications and UIs. This mix of FP32 and FP16 units actually takes the number of compute units way beyond 64 and provides the perfect balance for high performance, low power shading.

PowerVR G6230 GPU - Allwinner A80The PowerVR G6230 has 64 FP32 ALU cores

To complement the raw GFLOPS performance, PowerVR G6230 has a number of features designed to decrease memory bandwidth and reduce system power consumption. These features are best described by one term: PVR3C (PowerVR triple compression). PVR3C includes finely-tuned hardware technologies which enable lossy texture compression (PVRTC1/2 at 2bpp and 4bpp resolutions), lossless image compression (PVRIC) and lossless geometry compression (PVRGC) support.
Finally, the PowerVR Rogue architecture has been upgraded to a scalar-based processing engine that sets it apart from the vector engines used in competing GPU designs. There are numerous advantages in going to a scalar processing architecture, including higher resource utilization and easier optimal software development. This ease of development benefits both our compiler teams and developers, since it no longer matters if they vectorise their software or not.
What do you think of the Allwinner UltraOcta A80 processor? If you are at MWC 2014 in Barcelona, stop by our booth to see our latest graphics and compute demos running on our PowerVR Rogue architecture. Make sure you follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationTech, @PowerVRInsider) for the latest news and announcements from our silicon partners.

Alex Voica

Alex Voica

Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

21 thoughts on “Allwinner UltraOcta A80 processor packs a PowerVR Series6 GPU with 64 cores”

  1. No full Linux driver support, another useless piece of hardware that will end in trash. This could make wonders in research&development. It’s not useful to produce loads of hardware with no drivers :-/

  2. Hello again Alex (salutari)
    Dear Alex i have reasons to believe that Allwinner doesn’t have the necessary api to make gpu/vpu decoding on Kodi / ex XBMC very popular media center software.
    I have tried several times to get in contact with Mr. Wang head of R&D department from allwinner but without any luck .
    there are several known facts (published on the web) that Team Kodi (ex xbmc) asked from Allwinner multiple times the PowerVR api used in the A80 soc.
    This inquiries for the vpu/gpu hardware decode API were made mostly because Kodi (xbmc) relay on hardware decoding on video content via ffmpeg , the lack of answer from Allwinner alongside with some shy replies Tronsmart box producer engineers makes us to believe that Allwinner doesn’t posses the requested API for Team Kodi.
    What i tried in my previous posts to point out is that Team Kodi willing to implement this video hw decoding api for free as the project itself is under GPL license.
    What Allwinner doesn’t know or maybe refuses to admit is the fact that this api implementation for PowerVR gpu in the popular media center Kodi software means free unimaginable advertise for their products … aka using vpu/gpu video decoding in either linux / android KODI software = massive popularity = massive sales for their SoC.
    now the problem is if they don’t have such API maybe would be a good ideea as Imagetec knows and have all the informations about the Rogue GPU / VPU to help Allwinner to offer to masses this vpu/gpu api in Kodi media center software.
    It would be very benefic move for all 3 sides involved in this Imagetec & Allwinner could achieve massive sales and could make very happy a lot of end users even increase the number of end users.
    Best Regards
    Ovidiu Nicolae Ceorchelea

    • Hi Ovidiu,
      I think it is best if we split the discussion in two parts:
      a) If you are looking for an affordable Linux and Android platform for Kodi development, can I suggest you have a look at It includes a dual-core MIPS CPU and a PowerVR SGX GPU and this is a platform we can support directly via!forum/mips-creator-ci20
      b) I will ask Allwinner to address your questions and concerns about their chip and software capabilities.
      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Thank you for reading and considering.
        Totally agree with you of splitting discussion.
        Sadly the MIPS is not an viable option here as alongside Kodi there are few more things that are running an demand of soc power is quite high.
        things like sensors , ambient lights , door windows electronic managed locks and few more other cool stuff need some compute power … not to mention runing h265 hevc content.
        A80 on the other hand have the “muscles” needed to run this smart systems and the today’s users demands regarding video content with the one single but most important exception … vpu / gpu hardware accelerated decoding of video content under linux enviroment.
        Speaking with Allwinner i think is not enough as they need the expertise and knowledge of the gpu / vpu maker mostly here,
        helping them out with multimedia framework problem or guide them for specific API usable by vpu / gpu in Kodi to decode would be benefic for Imagetec for Allwinner and for us the too many users and owners aka the masses.
        By helping Allwinner with this issue Alex in fact you raise the popularity of your company and make happy the army of end users which are expecting a very cheap but yet powerfull big.Little 8 core ARM board / box / hdmi stick to fullfill their media needs.
        Once again thank you very much for reading and considering this.

        • I have contacted Allwinner and they will be able to communicate to you directly via email.
          The VPU is not PowerVR but their own design therefore they should be able to answer your questions regarding video codec support.
          On the graphics side, we will help them debug any issues you encounter for Rogue.

  3. Hello Alex (salut).
    It seems that a binary blob linux driver with hw acceleration for this gpu emerged after few months but still there are few problems such as some missing headers also so applications can actually use this binary driver.
    For example one of the most potent / capable gpu on ARM market freescale
    imx6 there are 4 packages:
    gpu-viv-bin-mx6q – OpenGL-ES and VIVANTE driver for imx6q
    libfslvpuwrap – Freescale Multimedia VPU wrapper
    imx-vpu: platform specific unit tests for mxc platform
    firmware-imx: Freescale IMX firmware such as for the VPU.
    I’m not sure what is needed for powervr ,
    now we have 3D acceleration in Linux with this PowerVR gpu.
    The next step should be the VPU. Are you guys still using CedarX, or another library?
    I tried many times to seek for support from imagetec and from Allwinner too but nobody answered ever so far

    • Hi,
      I’ll ask Allwinner and our team to take a look at your questions related to the GPU. Could you please repost this on so that our support team can look into it?
      Also, the video engine (and other multimedia IP) present inside the Allwinner A80 chip is an in-house (proprietary) design (i.e. not designed by Imagination), therefore we cannot help you on the video side.
      For future reference: any platform-specific questions should be handled by the company that designed that platform; we can only offer support for developers using our IP (PowerVR, MIPS, Ensigma, etc.) on

      • Thank you Alex.
        Sadly Allwinner as most chinese SoC producer are steping in the market with half measures / informations and they expect wonders.
        Problem is they maybe have drivers and sources but mostly not releasing them to public … reason? unknown.
        For example we are struggling to make the most popular media center software OpenElec to run on their A80 platform and this would help them also sales wise … but each time i have tried to ask something i all the time got back same answer …
        “Subject: 答复: Greetings
        Since we don’t
        sell the development board, please contact the supplier for help.
        Best Regards,
        AllwinnerTech Representative”
        I told them:
        “Seriously? But the gpu belongs to the SoC which is allwinner A80.”
        and they said:
        “gpu belongs to PowerVR”
        And as you see it is like a vicious circle.

        • The GPU is indeed a PowerVR G6230 (our IP) – therefore we can hopefully support you on any OpenGL ES-related issues on the forum. However please remember that all of the integration work related to OS development is usually performed by either the silicon vendor or the board manufacturer.
          But the video and other IP on the board and SoC are not related to Imagination.

          • Totally agree with you on this. I thought that might be possible that ImageTec can liase with allwinner and workout together a quality oss driver vpu/gpu… even closed source binary blob would be more than enough … same as mali did with the 400 series and amlogic SoC’s.
            Thank you again for reading , answering and considering and sorry for “harrasing” you :)) with this.

          • Hello Alex
            Check please the last line of the article
            “Thanks to ovi for the tip.”
            Problem is that i did not received yet the drivers or any piece of code from Ben or Allwinner.
            The release was done with piece of code received by Tronsmart R&D Team only and the image is locked so almost impossible to extract the desired code portion.
            At least i was not able to find publicly the that specific code portion adition yet.
            But i still have some hope that Ben will answer to my last email sent this week and maybe even closed sources part of the code goes publicly.
            On the other hand that specific portion of the code should reach Team Kodi in order to integrate or merge it in their main repository as Kodi with full support for linux … The API
            used for hardware video decoding acceleration.portion of the code.

          • Hi Ovidiu,
            I have read the article – I was simply highlighting that there has been some progress. I hope you will be able to get the resources you need from the Allwinner team.
            Best regards,

    • Just a quick OT question: how is the wifi signal on your A31S tablet? It’s about the only other thing I usually worry about with those kind of tablets.

      • Wifi is very smooth. At equal distance from the hot spot my desktop with a TP-Link wn822n USB version 3 and the A31s are about the same. Very smooth scrolling through web pages and Email. Streams video very well. I am very impressed with this generic tablet. Never had a problem with it. I purchased mine from AliExpress which has a lot of vendors competing, and got my 9″ 16 gig, 1g ram A31s for $119.

        • Thanks Matrix, you just grew my appetite for an A80 tablet (they should appear at the end of this month according to Allwinner). Final question: from which vendor is your tablet?

  4. Seems to me like both Mediatek and Allwinner have gone with G62xx designs, whilst Apple and Intel are at G64xx already, my guess is LG Octa would be a G62xx which implies the Rogues in the octo cores are die space minimising compromises.


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