You can find the Allwinner UIS8141 chip powering some Android Headunits, but is it any good?
We take a look at the QuadCore SoC chip.
Allwinner is a company with its roots in China. Experts at making low-power processing chips. Their story started in 2007 and is still going strong today. The Allwinner chips make their way into phones, tablets, and Android headunit, to name a few. The low-cost processor could have an Allwinner inside anywhere that needs a low-power.
The UIS 8141 is a quad-core processing chip based on the ARM technologies Cortex-A7 cores. This design of core was first used in the technology of 2011 devices. When these cores are combined with a graphics core, you get an SoC – system on a chip. The UIS8141 is an SoC, and the processing cores of this chip are essential for an Android headunit.
The four cores of the UIS8141 are clocked at between 1.3 GHz and 1.4 GHz.
The Cortex-A7 is an old technology from the early days of 2014. A 32-bit processing core (modern processors are 64-bit). It has a low clock speed of about 1.3 GHz. The idea was to combine multiples of the Cortex A7 and other ARM Cortex cores with building multicore processors. These multiple cores can give many advantages, particularly in power consumption, and are ideal for mobile phone and tablet use. Devices that use batteries benefit from the cortex big.LITTLE cores design.
There are 4 of these Cortex-A7 cores in a single UIS8141. This is where it gets the quad-core name from. While four cores may sound like a lot, it is deficient compared to modern standards. Fewer cores mean lower power, both electrical power – like good battery life in a phone. But also low computing power like a lagging game or slow to boot.
The low cores count and old technology of those processing cores lead to a lower-cost device.
More cores = more cost to produce.
Modern cores technology is more expensive to license and produce.
Old technology cores = cheaper price product.
Old-design chips are limited to older standards.
A maximum of 2 GB RAM can be fitted to the UIS8141 SoC, the maximum RAM this quad-core can use. It was typical to see the UIS8141 with only 1 GB RAM, and, Thankfully, this is less common now because modern apps and users require much more than the maximum of 2 GB RAM to run well.
Less RAM means less cost. You can think of the RAM chips as 1 GB each, and fitting two RAM chips costs more than just fitting one chip. Your RAM chip stock lasts twice as long, and the factory has to pay for a replenishment RAM delivery half as often. This can be a considerable cost when RAM is expensive.
The downside to fitting less RAM is the lower performance. Android needs RAM to run its apps, and it also needs RAM to run itself. 1 GB leaves only 786 MB for apps, and 2 GB only leaves about 1.5 GB for apps when Android has taken its share. It would help if you had more than 2 GB RAM to run AAndroid quickly and smoothly.
Is UIS8141 any good?
The UIS8141 is based on ancient technology, and it is not up to providing a modern experience due to its low number of cores, low clock speed, and limited access to RAM.
It may be cheap, but it is like a very old phone processor from 2014, and this is not something most people would find acceptable in the 2020s, no matter how cheap it was.
UIS8141 is similar in design to the 8227L and its clones. All are to be avoided for use in an Android Headunit for an enjoyable experience with multiple apps.
See also SC7731 for a similar specification SoC.