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.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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