ARM has unveiled the Mali-G51, a GPU built on the Bifrost architecture that looks to bring virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to the masses.
Arriving as a mid-end alternative to the Mali-G71 introduced earlier this year, the Mali-G51 is ARM's smallest Vulkan-enabled Mali GPU to date, and aims to ensure that VR and AR experiences aren't reserved for high-end devices.
Dan Wilson, senior product manager at ARM, Told V3's sister site the INQUIRER: "Our first GPU to implement Bifrost was this year’s Mali-G61, and we’re now making this available to more classes of device.
"One of our aims is to take the VR experience mainstream. Photo-realistic VR gaming is something that’s driving everyone’s GPU roadmaps at the moment, along with AR, lighter weight VR environments for social networking and businesses, and 360-degree video viewing experiences."
The firm is also looking to power Microsoft HoloLens-style AR experiences, saying that "games are increasingly based on live scenes and feeds, and for us, the need is to ensure that video and graphics can be combined efficiently".
In terms of performance and efficiency, the G51 offers a 60 per cent boost in performance density compared with the Mali-T830 and a 60 per cent increase in energy efficiency.
ARM also introduced the Mali-V61 that brings VP9 and improved HEVC to the next generation of devices, and takes aim at real-time 4K streaming using applications such as Facebook Live and Periscope.
ARM claimed that the Mali-V61 offers 50 per cent bit-rate saving over previous generation codecs, and noted that it also scales from 1080p60 on a single core and up to 4K120 on multiple cores, providing the highest definition streaming on any mobile device.
"The last few years has also seen an explosion in user-generated video, made possible by high-quality cams on smartphones, apps like Snapchats and Periscope," Wilson said.
"It’s growing at a frequency we’ve really not seen before, and mobile devices have a requirement to process it and compress it the best they can."
ARM explained that the Mali-G51 and Mali-V71 have already been licensed to multiple customers, and will start showing up in devices in 2018.
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