ARM's Mali "Midgard" GPUs Hit the Market, Ready for Tablets, Smartphones
August 6, 2012 7:01 PM
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The mobile graphics war continues to accelerate
ARM Holdings, Plc. (
) this week made good on the
promises it made
late last year,
a GPU trio based on its Mali-T6xx "Midgard" architecture.
The mobile graphics market is currently packed with designs by Qualcomm, Inc. (
) (makers of Adreno), NVIDIA Corp.'s (
) (makers of mobile GeForce derivatives), and Imagination Technologies Group Plc.'s (
) (makers of PowerVR). But ARM, whose licensed intellectual property (IP) CPU cores and titular instruction set dominates the mobile market, broke onto the smartphone graphics market in a big way, thanks to inclusion in
top Android manufacturer Samsung
Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (
With its latest GPU trio, ARM looks to expand on that promising position.
The T624 can have up to four cores, while the T628 carries up to eight. Both chips are primarily aimed at the smart TV and smartphone market. The T678 is focused on the tablet space, packing up to eight cores.
A (slightly) lower level view of the Mali T658 chip. [Source: ARM Holdings]
All the chips feature support for the latest standards including OpenGL ES 3.0 and
. The latter feature is important, as it will allow ARM's GPU cores to be included on the system-on-a-chip (SoC) brains
of upcoming Windows 8 tablet designs
Samsung's Taehoon Kim a VP in his company's chipmaking division praised the new CPU, commenting, "An advanced visual computing experience is an expectation that most consumers have when they purchase a new smartphone, tablet or smart-TV. It is therefore important that Samsung works with partners, such as ARM, to achieve technology leadership in areas that include advanced graphics and GPU compute. The next generation of the ARM Mali-T600 series GPU is an important introduction, and will help Samsung Exynos processor to address consumer demands."
The Mali T6xx GPUs should pop up in future Samsung smartphones and tablets.
The new GPUs all feature a special proprietary multi-format texture compression technology called Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC). ARM says the technology will save battery life while delivering better graphics, without any programming hassle.
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Hit the Market
8/6/2012 7:44:55 PM
Hit the market may be a little bit enthusiastic. As the Anandtech article describes in greater detail, what is being announced today are 2nd gen Mali-T600 parts. However, first-gen Mali-T600 aren't even shipping in devices yet despite launching 2 years ago. Seeing this is a refresh, it probably won't take so long to be adopted, but it'll likely be late 2013 or 2014 before we see actual devices on the market.
RE: Hit the Market
8/6/2012 8:08:52 PM
If WebTV/GoogleTV ever takes off, this might gain faster adoption.
8/7/2012 4:39:01 AM
Afaik, ASTC is to replace S3TC in OpenGL precisely because it's unencumbered by patents.
Ready for market?...LOL
8/7/2012 6:51:46 AM
Umm...Can I buy one? Can I buy one in 6 months? I'll probably be lucky to get gen1 in the 3-6 months IN a device. These are Gen2 and I can't even buy Gen1...LOL. By the time this comes out FOR REAL, it will be competing with Tegra 4 at least if not 5. NV was working on 3/4/5/6 in tandem so to speak (straight from the CEO). This gen2 chip will be competing with very different animals from today (from all makers).
And what's the point of DirectX 11 if it can't run any directx games? If it meant it would run windows games this might be important...But without that (and MS will never give in to that) this Winblows RT is pretty useless. Watch for the x86 tablet version to kill the arm surface version shortly after it arrives. If MS wants any tablet/phone market share they should release a Tegra/Intel based model in both areas. I can't think of a good reason to want Windows RT over any x86 variant once Intel gets a decent mobile chip out the door and pairs it with decent graphics (meaning, NOT INTEL gpu).
Terrible reporting yet again...If it's not spelling/grammar mistakes, it's just completely inaccurate reporting...Yikes.
I'd like to see
8/8/2012 1:41:41 PM
AMD enter this space, i've been an ATI/AMD fan for a long time...even though their drivers have been pretty awful
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