COMPARATIVE: Amlogic S905W2 Vs all current SoC


Today we present the comparison of the new AMLogic S905W2 SoC against the rest of SoCs in the current market for TV-Boxes and all kinds of multimedia and streaming players, an interesting chip that we will surely see in countless products.

The S905W2 SoC is a Quad Core with ARM Cortex-A35 processors that integrates a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU and allows native decoding of H.265, VP9 and AV1 video with 4K@120fps and up to 8K support, it also has basic HDR support. A product that comes to cover the low end, in the higher end we have the current S905X4 that has a little more computing power in terms of CPU. Let’s see how it performs against options from other manufacturers such as Allwinner, Nvidia or Rockchip.

SPECIFICATIONS Amlogic S905W2

Test hardware

To perform the performance tests we will use the X98 mini, a TV-Box with the Amlogic S905W2 SoC. The version we will test integrates on the board 4 GB of RAM DDR3, 32 GB of eMMc storage memory and a micro SD card reader, dual band Wifi aC connectivity with internal antenna and Bluetooth 4.1. In terms of connectors, this Smart Box includes 2 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 port, SPDIF audio output, micro SD reader, 10/100 network connector, infrared port extender and finally an analog port for audio and video.

General specifications

The AMLogic S905W2 SoC appears to be manufactured in 12 nm for power consumption and thermals, but we have no confirmation, and features four ARM Cortex-A35 CPU cores up to 1.8 GHz. It has native connections for HDMI 2.1 up to 4K@120fps or 8K, USB 3.0 support, internal storage up to eMMC, Ethernet 10/100 and audio capability up to 8 channels of audio input and output. On the graphics side we have the Mali-G31 MP2 GPU with Vulkan support.

CPU

The AMLogic S905W2 Quad Core has four ARM Cortex-A35 cores, is capable of reaching 1.8 GHz and surprises us with only 32 bit ABIs due to firmware limitations, hardware does support ARMv8-A instruction set.

  • As we see the system don’t supports ABI armeabi-v8a, so we can NOT run 64bit applications.
  • CPU revision r2p0 = RK3566 / r0p1 = RK3288 / r0p4 = RK3328.

GPU

For graphics there is a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU with a maximum speed of 650Mhz and performance up to 1.3 Gpix/s per core = 2.6Gpix/s (0.65 Gpix the Mali-450). It has support for OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan 1.2. We also have support OpenCL 2.0 FP, Render Script, support L2 Cache up to 512MB and bus AMBA 4 ACE-LITE. With this GPU we can play powerful titles like PUBG in low settings

VPU

In this SoC we have the Advanced Video Engine for decoding that support codecs h.265, VP9 and the new AV1, compatible with HDR  formats and support for REC709 / BT2020 profiles. This system allows us to take video up to UHD 4K@120fps or 8K resolutions without problems thanks to its HDMI 2.1 video output that theoretically can be compatible with automatic refresh synchronization, but this will depend on the implementation in the firmware and the technology of our TV.

Android system

The system that we find in this first Box that we are going to analyze is based on Android 11 (API 30), the kernel that controls the system is the kernel 5.4.86, a fairly modern version and that fortunately leaves behind the kernel 4 that we had in the models with previous SoC.

PERFORMANCE TEST

We performed several performance tests with the Amlogic S905W2 SoCs, VS them against the Nvidia Shield TV’s Tegra+ SoC, the Fire TV Stick 4K’s Mediatek, the extended Allwinner H616, the Rockchip RK3356 and the latest and most popular Amlogic SoCs in the industry.

Geekbench

A test that gives us some very interesting values of the raw power testing of the CPU in mono core and multi core in addition to GPU computing. As we see in the results in general are at a similar level to other products in its sector, in terms of CPU we have less power than the S905X4, but it is not very significant, for multimedia use is similar.

3DMark

The graphical performance test par excellence with a fairly solid continuity in terms of results which helps us when comparing GPU performance historically. As we can see the Mali-G52 MP2 GPU has identical performance to the S905X4, this is the aspect we have no limitations with respect to its rival.

PCMark

This test gives us an idea of the performance level for desktop applications of this hardware performing tasks such as video editing, managing text or audio files, something that is increasingly used in Android. The figures from this test reveal that the new S905W2 falls somewhat short of the S905X4 by having slightly less CPU computing power.

VPU and Sound

We ran a series of video playback performance tests on the Amlogic S905W2 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@60fps resolutions, we do not have support for the new AV1 codec. We have no problems with 10bit color formats, but we do NOT have HDR support, videos in this format will play at basic color level.

We ran a series of video playback performance tests on the AMLogic S905W2 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 it seems that the firmware has problems and hardware acceleration for this format is not enabled. We have good performance with 10bit color formats, we also have HDR support in the basic format.

  • Image quality: Correct colors and acceptable processing / NO image quality adjustments.
  • HDR support: Basic HDR supported / Firmware allows to disable it.
  • HDMI-CEC: Compatible.
  • Auto framerate: Not available by default.
  • Sound: By default the firmware support DD or DTS up to 5.1. See review of the specific model.
Video FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bit (IPTV)OK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)OK
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bitIt should be correct, but the firmware does not enable AV1 codec.
Max. Bitrate100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s.
  • SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have some frameskip in very heavy files.

CONCLUSIONS

After performing our comparison, we can say that the new AMLogic S905W2 SoC offers us a power quite similar to the current S905X4. The raw single-core and multicore performance of the Cortex-A35 is somewhat lower than the A55 found in the Amlogic S905X4, but this is not very significant for normal use. In terms of graphics power the Mali-G31 MP2 GPU maintains a fairly good level and is perfectly functional, it defends itself quite well and remains with good figures to allow gaming even in titles like PUBG at low level.

This new SoC AMLogic S905W2 is a good platform in terms of video playback, on the one hand we have support for the new AV1 codec even though it seems that the Android 11 firmware has problems for now in this aspect. We can play h.265 or VP9 content in 4K@120fps quality without problems and even reach 8K. We have support for basic HDR and it is compatible with HDMI-CEC.  As a base for this new SoC we have Android 11, but it seems that it needs improvements.

As we have seen the new AMLogic S905W2 offers a pretty good performance for its price, if we want a basic TV-Box for KODI and multimedia we will have a good experience, similar to the S905X4.

OTHER COMPARATIVES

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Radek

Very strange benchmarks. Cortex a35 1.8 has the same results as h616 1.5ghz cortex a53 and cortex a55 1.8-2.0????. Very strange.