Today we present our comparison of the new Amlogic S905X4 SoC against the rest of SoCs in the current market integrated in TV-Boxes, an interesting chip that we will see in countless products soon.
This new S905X4 SoC is a Quad Core with ARM Cortex-A55 processors that integrates a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU and allows native decoding of H.265, VP9 video and as the most remarkable novelty with respect to the S905X3 support for AV1 codec up to 4K@120fps, in addition to the usual HDR support. This new AV1 codec seems to be the new standard for streaming services in the coming years. A chip destined for mid-range TV-Boxes that faces against the options of other manufacturers such as Allwinner, Nvidia, Hisilicon or Realtek.
SPECIFICATIONS AMLOGIC S905X4
To perform the analysis of this SoC we will use the TV-Box Mecool KM6 Deluxe includes the AMlogic S905X4 SoC. This Box has 4 GB of DDR4 RAM and 64 GB of storage, has Wifi AX (wifi 6) and Bluetooth 5.0. The connectors included in the plastic box are a micro SD card reader, USB 2.0 port, another USB 3.0, AV connector, Gigabit Ethernet and a HDMI 2.1 video output. The operating system is Android TV 10.
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As we say the new Amlogic S905X4 SoC has four ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores manufactured in 12nm up to 2 GHz. It has native connections for HDMI 2.1 that reaches up to 4K@120fps compatible with multiple DRM security systems, USB 3.0 support, internal storage up to eMMC 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet and audio capacity up to 8 channels of audio input and output. In the graphics section we have the same Mali-G31 MP2 GPU that this time has Vulkan 1.1 support. A fairly minor improvement over the previous S905X3.
The new Amlogic S905X4 Quad Core SoC has four ARM Cortex-A55 cores, it is capable of reaching 2 GHz and the manufacturing process is only 12nm like the previous version S905X3.
- As we see the system supports only ABI armeabi-v7a which limits us to install applications in 32bit.
- CPU revision r2p0 = S905X4 / r1p0 = S905X3.
For the graphical section we have 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 / medium settings.
In this SoC we find the Advanced Video Engine for decoding that support codecs h.265, VP9 and the new AV1, compatible with HDR, Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG, PRIME HDR formats and support for REC709 / BT2020 profiles. This system allows us to take video up to UHD 4K@120fps 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.
The system that we find in this first Box that we are going to review is based on Android 10 (API 29), the kernel that controls the system is kernel 4.9.180, a fairly modern version and that luckily leaves kernel 3 behind we had in the models with Android 7 and SoC S905X. As we have said before due to API limitations, we can only install 32bit Android apps, perhaps to avoid incompatibility problems.
We perform several performance tests with the Amlogic S905X4 SoC’s, we make a VS against the SoCs Nvidia Tegra X1+, Realtek RTD1296DR, Mediatek MT8695, Amlogic S912, S905X, S905X2, S905D2, S905X3 and Allwinner H616.
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 can see in the overall results, they are at a very similar to the previous SoC S905X3, the difference in power is small and is only noticeable because the CPU goes from 1.9 to 2GHz maximum.
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-G31 MP2 GPU has almost the same performance that we saw in the previous S905X3, in this aspect we do not have remarkable changes, although there is a small improvement.
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 results of the new S905X4 as we can see are almost identical to the S905X3, we are facing a hardware with few differences in terms of power.
VPU and Sound
We ran a series of video playback performance tests on the Amlogic S905X4 to check the formats supported by the integrated VPU Advanced Video Engine. As we can see the results are very good with h.265 and VP9 P2 codecs and the new AV1 codec also runs normally on Youtube. We have no problems with 10bit color formats and HDR, we can even watch smooth 8K videos.
In this firmware we miss controls for Dolby Vision that existed in the previous S905X3, perhaps we can only see basic HDR10. In this base firmware we continue without automatic refresh change and we continue without quality and image adjustments directly on the TV-Box, basically it is identical to what we find in a S905X3 with Android 9.
- Image quality: Good colors and acceptable processing.
- HDR compatibility: Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG, PRIME HDR and support for REC709 / BT2020 profiles.
- HDMI-CEC: Works with the firmware Android 10. It depends on each model.
- Auto framerate: Not available by default. It depends on each model and brand.
- Sound: In this firmware we have supports up to DD and DTS 5.1. See review of the concrete model.
|h.264 / 1080i / 8bit (IPTV)||OK|
|h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bit||OK|
|h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)||Frameskip (SW)|
|h.265 / 1080p / 8bit||OK|
|h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)||OK|
|h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bit||OK|
|h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR||OK|
|VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bit||OK|
|VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDR||OK|
|VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDR||OK|
|AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bit||OK|
|Max. Bitrate||100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s.|
- SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have some frameskip in very heavy files.
As we have seen in our benchmark the new Amlogic S905X4 SoC is a fairly symbolic improvement over the previous S905X3, we have a small increase in raw performance possibly only due to the increase in clock speed. The single-core and multi-core raw performance of the Cortex-A55 is very similar for practical purposes. In terms of graphics power the Mali-G31 MP2 GPU maintains its performance, defends itself quite well and remains with good figures to allow gaming even in titles like PUBG at medium level.
This new SoC Amlogic S905X4 does not bring radical changes in terms of image quality and options available for its Advanced Video Engine, we have that if with new support for the AV1 codec that is called to occupy an important place, but today has a still very marginal use and we can find all the content in h.265 or VP9. As a basis for this new SoC we have Android 10 which is very similar to the previous version and maintains certain shortcomings already known in the video section.
Undoubtedly the new Amlogic S905X4 will completely replace the current S905X3 and will help to introduce AV1 in all devices, but as we have seen it is a rather discreet change.
- NVidia Tegra+ Quad Core
- Amlogic S905X3 Quad Core
- Amlogic S905X2 Quad Core
- Mediatek Helio X20/23/27 Deca core
- Mediatek MT8695 Quad Core
- All Reviews with more information of latest models