RK3188 Processor found in Android Headunits

The RockChip 3188 SoC is a processing chip found powering some low end android headunits.

RockChip RK3188 Answers

Is the RK3188 a considered a fast processor for an android head unit?

No. The RK3188 is not considered a fast processor.

Is an android head unit with the RK3188 a good buy?

No. The RK3188 based android headunits are not a good buy. The processor is slow and the RAM is limited to 2Gb.

Is the RockChip RK3188 a quadcore

Yes. The RK3188 is a quadcore processor. It has just 4 ARM cores.

Can I add more RAM than 2Gb to my RK3188 android head unit?

No. It is not possible to add more RAM to the android headunits.

RK3188

The RockChip RK3188 SoC is a quadcore ARM Cortex A9 based processor

  • The Cortex A9 uses the Armv7-A architecture.
  • 4 cores of Cortex A9 are clocked at around 1.8Ghz
  • Has a 512KB unified Level 2 Cache
  • Includes ARM Neon SIMD co-processor

ARM Cortex A9

The Cortex A9 was superseded by the Cortex A7 for most applications. The A7 the gave a much lower power consumption for a slight loss in total processing power. This makes sense for battery operated devices and small handheld gadgets but not so much for an android head unit.

These earlier ARM Cortex A9 based units may be just slightly quicker in some benchmarks, but no one will notice.

ARM A7 vs ARM A9

ARM Cortex A9 and ARM Cortex A7 use the same Armv7-A Architecture. The ARM Cortex V7 is a later version of the very similar Cortex A9. There is very little speed difference between the two and neither are great for modern android systems.

RAM

RAM for the RK3188 is limited to 2Gb per bank, although there are 2 banks, only one is used giving a maximum RAM available of 2Gb.
The RockChip3188 supports DDR3/LPDDR2 SDRAM with data rates up to 1066MHz.
Unfortunately the RAM is not in those sticks you can buy so adding more ram to the android headunit is not possible.

Graphics

RK3188 graphics is handled by the ARM Mali-400 MP4
This Mali-400 has an embedded 4 shader cores with shared hierarchical tiler with support for

  • OpenGL ES1.1 and 2.0
  • OpenVG1.1

Support for LCD or TFT interfaces up to 2048×1536

USB ports

RK3188 us USB2 compatible.

  • USB Host2.0: Compatible with USB Host2.0 specification.
    Supports high-speed, full-speed and low-speed modes
  • USB OTG2.0: Compatible with USB OTG2.0 specification.
    Supports high-speed, full-speed and low-speed mode OTG

SD Cards

The RK3188 has an interface for SD/MMC, compatible with

  • SD3.0
  • MMC ver4.41

RK3188 Block Diagram

RK3188 Processor Block Diagram
RK3188 SoC block diagram showing the four cores of Cortex-AM MP each with their NEON floating point co-processor.

Overall

The quadcore 1.8Ghz RK3188 is a quadcore by name and a quadcore by nature. The processing cores are too few to provide a fluid android 10 experience on the headunit. Similar to all the other quadcore based SoC used it the very popular but low rent android head units.

While these quadcore based units, like the 8227L_Demo are ever popular, they are just not powerful for modern expectations. The android versions these old 4 cores were designed to run was Android 4.4.4 and Android 6. This is a world away from the Android 12 that is the basis of modern phones. The android headunits often play catch-up with the phones. But buying a SoC with only 4 cores is not going to give enough processing power to make an enjoyable and fluid android headunit experience. Coupled with the lack of RAM, at 2Gb this is another limiting factor on the fluidity that you can expect from later android versions.

Fake

With the poor specifications the RK3188 SoC based android head units will need to be running much older core versions of android. The versions that didn’t demand so much processing power. These will be versions of android 6 and below. The fakery will need to be implemented to pass the old android versions off as a later and more appealing version name, like ‘Android 10’.

Marshmallow
Marshmallow
An android-headunits.com staff blogger. I am a multi-skilled dogs-body and I also make the coffee ☕

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