Amlogic S928X. Review and Comparison VS all SoCs

Today we present the comparison of the new Amlogic S928X SoC against the rest of the SoCs on the market. A powerful processor that tries to carve a niche in the current market.

The new SoC S928X is a Penta Core with ARM Cortex-A76 A55 cores that integrates a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU for graphics. In the video section it supports native AV1 video decoding with 8K@60fps support up to 8K with HDR support, being able to reach Dolby Vision and Atmos in some of its versions. An integrated that comes to replace the old S922X that was the top of the range of Amlogic.

Let’s see how it performs against options from other manufacturers such as Allwinner, Nvidia or Rockchip.

amlogic s928x logo

Amlogic S928X Specifications

Hardware

To test this new Amlogic SoC we use the TV-Box X96 X10 with the Amlogic S928X. It includes 4 GB of LPDDR4X RAM, 32 GB of eMMc storage memory and a micro SD card reader in case we want to expand the storage. Wireless connectivity is guaranteed by a chip with WIFI 6 with an external antenna and Bluetooth 5.2. Connectors included are an RJ45 Gigabit network port, SPDIF digital audio output, three USB 3.0 connectors, one USB 2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack and an HDMI 2.1a video output capable of outputting up to 8K video resolutions at 60fps.

X96 X10 amlogic S928X

General specifications

This new Amlogic S928X SoC appears to be manufactured in 12 nm given its power consumption and thermals. It has one ARM Cortex-A76 CPU core up to 1.8 GHz and four ARM Cortex-A55 cores up to 2 GHz. It has native connections for HDMI 2.1a up to 8K@60fps video resolutions, USB 3.0 support, internal storage up to eMMC and Gigabit Ethernet.

Amlogic S928X

CPU

The Amlogic S928X has an ARM Cortex-A76 CPU core with a computing speed of up to 1.8 GHz and four Cortex-A55 cores up to 2 GHz. Enough power to use the system on a TV-Box smoothly.

arm cortex a76

As always with Amlogic we have only 32 bit ABIs available due to firmware limitations, hardware does support ARMv8-A instruction set.

  • As we can see, the system does NOT support ABI armeabi-v8a, only compatible with 32bit applications.
  • CPU id: serial 3e / revision r4p1.

amlogic S928X cpu

GPU

For the graphics section there is a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU compatible with Vulkan, which is currently in the mid-range. With it we can run somewhat demanding games and quite a few emulators.

arm malie g57

VPU

In this SoC we find the Advanced Video Engine 10 video decoding engine that supports up to the AV1 codec and is compatible with HDR and Dolby Vision format in the S928X-H version. This system allows us to output video up to UHD 4K@120fps and 8K@60fps resolutions without problems thanks to its HDMI 2.1a video output with HDCP 2.3 support. It also supports DRM for future certified Android TVs that want to play Netflix and other services correctly, not for generic Chinese box.

amlogic S928X gpu

Android System

The system that we found the device we used in our analysis is based on Android 11 (API 30), the kernel that controls the system is the kernel 5.4.210, a version that could be somewhat more modern.

  • Render: The system supports the Android user environment in 4K resolution and video up to 8K.

Performance test

We run several performance tests with the Amlogic S928X SoCs and benchmark it against the Tegra processors in the Nvidia Shield TV, Mediatek in the Fire TV Stick 4K, the Allwinner H616, Rockchip RK3566 and the latest popular Amlogic in the industry.

Geekbench

A test that gives us some very interesting values of raw power, it tests the CPU in single core and multi core as well as GPU computing. As we can see, the results are better than the S922X in single core due to the power of the Cortex-A76, but not much better in multi-threading.

3DMark

This quintessential graphics performance test with a pretty solid continuity in terms of results, which helps us when comparing GPU performance historically. As we can see, the Mali-G57 MC2 GPU performs significantly better than the S922X which sports a Mali-G31.

PCMark

This test allows us to get an idea of the power in the field of desktop applications of this chip, performing tasks such as video editing, handling text or audio files, something that is increasingly used in Android. The result is a sum of all these aspects and is influenced by the overall hardware components. The results of this test reveal that it is at a similar level to the S922X.

VPU and Sound

We test video playback on the Amlogic S928X to check the formats supported by the integrated VPU. As we can see, the results are good with h.265 and VP9 P2 codecs up to 4K@120fps resolutions and even for 8K. We have support for the new AV1 codec, but only with streaming apps like YouTube or with the internal media player. We have good performance with 10bit color formats, and we also have HDR support. We also have Dolby Vision and Atmos support but limited to devices certified with SoC S928X-H.

  • HDR: Basic HDR10 support / The firmware allows to disable it.
  • HDMI-CEC: Available in base firmware.
  • Auto framerate: Not available by default.
  • Sound: By default supports DD or DTS 7.1 sound.

Video and audio test results

Video Formats Result
h.264 / 1080i / 8bit (IPTV) Correct
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bit Correct
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime) Frame skip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bit Correct
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime) Correct
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bit Correct
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR Correct
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bit Correct
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR Correct
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDR Correct
AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bit Correct
Max. Bitrate 200 Mbps = 24 MB/s.
  • SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have some occasional skipping on very large files.

Amlogic S928x av1

Conclusions

As we can see from the comparison, the Amlogic S928X SoC is an interesting evolution over the S922X. In terms of graphics power, the Mali-G57 MC2 GPU offers a considerable jump in performance. It is possible to get to emulate PS2 smoothly in the most demanding titles. Unfortunately it is very new and expensive, which implies little acceptance, so it will take time to see EmuELEC in this SoC. In the rest of Android games we have a good performance without reaching the top in logically demanding games.

The Amlogic S928X processor works well in terms of video playback, on the one hand, we have support for the new AV1 codec and resolution up to 8K@60fps. We are surprised that Android already renders at 4K, something that was limited to FullHD in previous SoCs. On the other hand, the Android firmware is limited to 32bit and is still quite green in Chinese boxes, we hope that a box certified with Android TV will be released to see its potential.

Once tested the new Amlogic S928X we can say that it has promising graphics power. But for now any product with this SoC are very expensive and does not compensate the investment compared to a box S905X4 or current economic mini PC.

amlogic tv box firmware

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hyc

Please test some movies with high bitrate audio and report your results. I always get dropouts when playing movies with Dolby TrueHD or E-AC3 on my X96 X10. This is using Kodi and audio passthru to my AVR. My old Beelink GT-King running CoreElec plays them just fine. Also audio/video sync seems to be random on the X96 X10, it’s ahead or delayed by many milliseconds.

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