So one of the more curious issues behind the recently launched Cherry Mobile Fusion Bolt is the type of chip (SoC) they used with it. We dug a bit deeper into that so we can easily explain to you the details in a more condensed manner.
Actions Semiconductor is practically an unfamiliar name to most of us. We’ve been accustomed to hearing the popular Snapdragon brand from Qualcomm, the Tegra brand from NVidia and the Exynos from Samsung. Some might also be familiar with the TI OMAP chips from Texas Instruments and then there’s Mediatek which has been a popular choice of a lot of local and Asian brands (Alcatel, Lenovo, O+, Cherry Mobile) because they are much cheaper compared to the popular ones.
So how did the Fusion Bolt ended up with an Actions Semiconductor quad-core chip? This is probably because Ainol and Actions had a previous arrangement that a number of the new tablets from Ainol would be using the dual-core and quad-core chips from Actions. This move is primarily driven by cost of the chips. Mediatek has recently announced they also have a quad-core chip but maybe the ones from Actions is cheaper (or faster to market, or a combination of both).
From my previous discussion with CM, they’ve confirmed that they have some sort of licensing agreement with Ainol (probably the same way with other OEMs of their phones). This means they can take any one or more of their devices in the product line and re-label them straight out of the factory. You can only do this if you order in the thousands (it’s normally between 1,000 to 10,000 depending on the cost of each unit).
In the case of the Cherry Mobile Fusion Bolt, it was a re-labeled Ainol Novo 7 Venus Lite. The processor used is an Actions Semiconductor ATM7025 quad-core processor with a clock speed of 1.0GHz. There’s a lot of evidence (including the CPUID) that it is based on a smaller, and slower Cortex-A5 architecture and not the A9. It’s still a quad-core chip and will certainly benefit apps/processes that can fully utilize it. However, there are bench results that even a dual-core Cortex-A9 can almost match its performance.
Probably, the most questionable component of this chip is the Vivante GC1000 GPU. It is less known than Actions itself and with merely a dual-core graphics processor, is most likely the source of the bottleneck. It is also based on the 40nm process technology with a frequency of 630MHz.
Compare that to the popular ones like Mali-400MP which has 4 cores and is widely used by Samsung in their Exynos chips or the PowerVR SGX-554 quad-core GPU used in the new iPad 4
3 and the ULP GeForce on the Tegra 3 has 12 cores. And that’s just at the surface. We don’t want to dig deeper in too much technicalities here. We just want to point out that a good CPU should also be paired with an equally good GPU for more consistent performance.
We will soon find out once we get the final benchmarks and really see how this new chip combo really fares. More on that in our full review of the Cherry Mobile Fusion Bolt.
Updated: We published a complete set of synthetic benchmarks of the CM Fusion Bolt here.