A concern many customers have with the upcoming Fire TV Edition televisions from Westinghouse, Seiki, and Element is whether the device’s processor specs are sufficient to run not only current apps, but also more taxing apps in the future throughout the product’s life cycle. When I tried the TVs first hand at CES earlier this year, they were as snappy and responsive as Amazon’s flagship 2nd-gen Fire TV set-top box, but nobody could tell me the exact specs of the hardware under the hood. Thanks to a leaked Kodi log file, I can now say fairly confidently that the first batch of Fire TV Edition televisions will have an MStar quad-core CPU running at between 1.4Ghz to 2.0Ghz and a Mali-T820 GPU.
The exact model and specs of the SoC (CPU + GPU system-on-a-chip) in the upcoming Fire TV Edition televisions has been difficult to track down. The press brochure given to me at the Consumer Electronics Show simply listed the CPU as a quad-core “T1-938” with no make or speed information, and the GPU was just listed as a Mali series core.
Thanks to the leaked log, we now know for certain that the GPU is a Mali-T820. The log identifies the board as “margo” and the hardware as “maserati,” which is strong evidence the SoC is made by MStar, which has recently been acquired by MediaTek.
MStar makes a 6A938 model SoC, which is a good candidate for these TVs and does share similarities with the “T1-938” model number, however, due to limitations of that SoC which do not match known specs of the Fire TV Edition televisions, I don’t believe the 6A938 is the SoC being used. I suspect the actual SoC is a newer model in the same line of chips. MStar’s ARM v8 chips range from 1.4Ghz to 2.0Ghz, so I strongly suspect the CPU in the Fire TV Edition televisions to fall in that range. The Mali-T820 GPU is known to be 600Mhz.
Assuming the SoC in these televisions is related to the MStar 6A938, but likely newer, we can use an equivalent device to speculate a minimum performance baseline. The LeEco Super4 X65 is a TV that uses a quad-core MStar 6A938 CPU at 1.4Ghz and a Mali-T820 GPU. It has 3GB of ram, just like the Fire TV Edition televisions, and runs Android TV.
Comparing the GFXBench benchmark score of the LeEco TV to the rest of the Fire TV lineup, we can get a theoretical idea of the lowest point where the upcoming Fire TV Edition televisions fall in terms of gaming performance. Based on this comparison, I expect the gaming performance of the Fire TV Edition televisions to surpass that of the 1st-gen Fire TV, but to be weaker than the 2nd-gen Fire TV. While GFXBench does a good job of testing GPU gaming performance, it does not give a good estimation of CPU performance, which I suspect will be on par with the Fire TV 2.
Remember, this is all theoretical using a substitute device in place of the actual Fire TV Edition televisions which have not yet been released. I expect some of you reading this will criticize the comparison, but I did a similar theoretical benchmark comparison with a substitute Fire TV Stick 2 before that device was officially released. Those theoretical values matched the actual device’s benchmark scores perfectly. While I’m confident the substitute comparison above for the Fire TV Edition televisions is a good approximation, we obviously won’t know for sure until the TVs are released later this year, so take these findings with a grain of salt.
These theoretical performance results, if proven to be accurate, will disappoint those hoping the Fire TV Edition televisions would surpass all existing Fire TV models in performance. When it comes to streaming video, I’ve said before and proven that CPU/GPU performance is nearly irrelevant, so I expect the Fire TV Edition televisions to be very capable media consumption devices for years to come. Even the now laughably weak 1st-gen Fire TV Stick is still a great device for streaming video. As I was told by Amazon reps at CES, the Fire TV Edition televisions will likely be capable of playing all existing games in the Fire TV appstore, but the TVs are likely not extreme powerhouse devices like some were hoping. For that, we’ll have to wait and hope for a 3rd-gen Fire TV.