Chip designer ARM has added a new tranche of Mali graphics processors to its line-up, designed to boost performance in tablets, smartphones and smart TVs, and bring the benefits of GPU computing to the mobile arena.
This second generation of the Mali-T600 series GPUs comprises three new designs, with the Mali-T624 and Mali-T628 set to bring enhanced graphics and GPU computing to smartphones and smart TVs. The Mali-T678, meanwhile, has been optimised to address the rapidly growing tablet market, ARM said.
ARM itself does not manufacture its own chips, so like the firm's Cortex CPU family, the Mali family are intellectual property licensed out to chip manufacturers such as Samsung, where they are typically embedded into chip designs along with ARM-based CPU cores.
With the new graphics cores, ARM said it is building on the leadership that it has in the CPU space and is applying it to the Mali GPU architecture.
Specifically, ARM said that the use of GPU computing will enable greater control when balancing tasks between the CPU and GPU, ultimately improving on energy efficiency by allowing tasks to be executed on the most efficient architecture for the job in hand.
"GPU compute enables this as it increases the range of functions mobile devices can perform within the available battery life. ARM continues to focus on system-wide optimisation by integrating market leading CPU and GPU technologies to drive both high performance and energy-efficiency," said Pete Hutton, general manager of ARM's Media Processing Division.
The new designs deliver a 50 per cent performance increase over the first generation of Mali-T600 products. They are also the first to include ARM's Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC), which is designed to reduce memory bandwidth, leading to further energy efficiency savings.
The Mali-T624 design is scalable from one up to four cores, while the Mali-T628 scales up to eight cores and offers double the graphics and GPU compute performance.
Meanwhile, the Mali-T678 also scales from one to eight cores, but offers the highest performance, four times that of the Mali-T624, according to ARM.
ARM's new designs are compatible with the OpenCL API framework that supports both CPU and GPU programming, plus OpenGL ES versions 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0, and Microsoft's DirectX.
Chipmakers lining up to back the new Mali designs include Fujitsu Semiconductor, MediaTek and Samsung, which said it will include the technology in future versions of its Exynos processors.
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