Silicon design house ARM isn’t content adding the smarts to most of the smartphones in the world, now they have announced a new family of graphics processor to add to their silicon portfolio. ARM would like to introduce you to the Mali-T600 mobile graphics processors.
Three new members of the T600 family of products have been introduced to the world, the Mali-T624 with 4 cores, Mali-T628 with 8 cores and the Mali-T678 with 8 cores optimized for Tablets. The T600 chips are based on a brand new architecture named the Midgard architecture, rebuilt from the ground up ARM is proving that people will use as much power as they are supplied.
Currently the most powerful smartphone the Samsung Galaxy SIII uses a slightly overclocked Mali 400 GPU, the T678 should be close to 4 times faster. Able to drive screen resolutions up to 4k2k while providing console class gaming these chips are not only destined to travel but may also find a place in our living room, driving big screen TV’s.
Designed by ARM’s Norway division, known as Falanx prior to 2006, the upgraded Mali architecture has had some mighty claims made, especially theMali-T678 the fastest of the 3 new chips. Faster than current generation consoles, twice as fast as NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 and faster than a speeding bullet, the T600’s has a lot to live up to.
Helping to increase performance over previous generations ARM have made a number of changes internally to the design of Mali chips. The cores (shader cores) at the heart of the GPU have been completely redesigned. Now with triple pipeline execution units, new 64bit arithmetic pipelines along with new schedulers. This is a proper generational change with a complete rebuild of many of the major sections of the chip.
Approaching performance from the opposite angle, efficiency, the new Midgard architecture introduces a number of technologies to save power and do more with less. The new texture compression technology ATSC, along with improved caching, hierarchical tiling and more efficient writes to the frame buffer keep the performance improvements stacking up and save power by reducing the number of read and writes to RAM, which is a very power hungry exercise.
The new shader cores also ensure compliance with the latest standards for graphics, OpenVG™ 1.1, OpenGL® ES 1.1, 2.0, DirectX® 11 and OpenCL™ 1.1. Interestingly the compliance with Direct X 11, Microsoft’s gaming (standard) library will allow the T600 chips to be used in any Windows 8 RT tablet, smartphone or computer.
The new pixel pushing chips now integrate an assisted compute engine thanks to the new a Unified Shader Architecture. A chip (shader) design philosophy that allows the number crunching power of the GPU to be put to work on other tasks. Video conversion, photographic effects, data analysis and augmented reality tasks will all benefit from this new found portable power.
Pete Hutton, GM of ARM’s Media Processing Division said, “People expect higher standards of visual computing on their smartphones, tablets and smart-TVs with seamless access to their digital world and personal content. 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 optimization by integrating market leading CPU and GPU technologies to drive both high performance and energy-efficiency.”
The smartphone destined Mali-T624 and T628 should become available during Q4 2012, the T678 will be available 2013.
When combined with their latest ARM A15 Cortex CPU the T678 will provide console quality gaming to high end smartphones and tablets, along the way potentially creating a whole new class of console, the cheap Android console. The T600 family, bringing game to the world of smart devices.