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ARM Intros 8-core GPU for Next-gen Superphones


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The Mali-T658 graphics processor announced by ARM on Wednesday can be equipped with up to eight cores to help it deliver ten times the graphics performance of the company's existing GPU.

The superior graphics performance is compared to the Mali-400 MP, which is used on a number of smartphones from Samsung Electronics, including the Galaxy S II andthe new Galaxy Note.The chip also has four times the computing power of the Mali-T604 GPU, which has yet to appear in any available products.

The performance boost will result in better HD gaming and help usher in new compute-intensive applications, such as augmented reality, according to ARM. Besides smartphones, the GPU will also be used in tablets, smart TVs and automotive entertainment systems.

But don't expect products based on the Mali-T658 GPU anytime soon. Smartphones based on the Mali-T604 GPU will arrive next year, while products that use a Mali-T658 chip with four cores will arrive in 2013. Products powered by a version with the maximum eight cores are expected to be introduced in 2015, according to a chart from ARM detailing the evolution of its mobile processors.

Samsung, Fujitsu Semiconductor and LG Electronics are among the companies that will partner with ARM on products, ARM said.

The chip is compatible with a number of different of graphics and compute APIs, including DirectX 11 and DirectCompute from Microsoft; Khronos OpenGL ES and OpenCL; Google's Renderscript and OpenVG.

Besides the new Mali GPU, this week also saw the introduction of Asus's 10-inch Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet. It is powered by the ARM-based Tegra 3 processor, which has four cores, and will start shipping worldwide in December.

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oh great hour of battery maybe?

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for the Asus Transformer Prime Tablet:

Beyond better performance, the tablet will provide longer battery life as processor cores can be shut down depending on workload, Brookwood said. Asus did not provide a battery life for the Transformer Prime tablet, but Nvidia said the tablet could provide up to 12 hours of battery.
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Typo: Should be Asus' 10-inch Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet

Fixed. :)


That should be 12 hours standby time. :P

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ARM shows PlayStation 3 like power in a mobile GPU


Chip designer ARM has announced its next generation mobile GPU, the Mali-T658. ARM boasts that the design will offer ten times the performance Mali-400 MP, found in, among other smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The T658 is ARM's second GPU using an architecture it calls Midgard. Midgard is designed to support both 3D workloads using modern APIs—it supports both OpenGL ES and Microsoft's Direct3D 11—and computation workloads using OpenCL, Microsoft DirectCompute, and Google RenderScript. To aid with compute tasks, Midgard supports full IEEE 754 floating point.

The first Midgard design, the T604, was announced last year, with companies including Samsung and LG licensing the GPU. Midgard has a design built around three kinds of pipelines: arithmetic, load/store, and texture. Each T658 core has four arithmetic pipelines, and one each of load/store and texture, doubling the number of arithmetic pipelines found in T604. Up to eight cores can be integrated into a single GPU, again representing a doubling in performance relative to T604, which allows up to four cores to be ganged together.

The result is performance that ARM claims is comparable to that of the PlayStation 3. Mali-400 MP is specced as offering about 30 million triangles per second (a crude measure of GPU performance), and with T658 offering ten times the performance, that gives it about 300 million triangles per second. The PlayStation 3 has performance of about 250 million-300 million triangles per second.

ARM isn't the only competitor in the mobile GPU space. The current king of the hill is the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 found in the iPhone 4G S, which has two cores offering about 35 million triangles per second each. Next-generation parts include PowerVR's Series 6, with up to 380 million triangles per second, and Marvell's Armada 628, with up to 200 million triangles per second.

Though these mobile GPUs are starting to rival console graphics processors in raw triangle count, these days people demand more of their GPUs than simply pumping out flat triangles. The console processors boast far more memory bandwidth than the mobile GPUs are ever likely to be coupled with, so for complex applications consoles processors will still retain their edge. High-end desktop GPUs can spit out more than 2 billion triangles per second.

T658 is designed to integrate easily with both current ARMv7 designs such as Cortex A9 and A15, and future 64-bit ARMv8 designs. T604 parts are due to hit the market next year, with Samsung's Exynos 5250 set to be the first. T658 GPUs are likely to arrive at some point in 2013.

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