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ARM doubles up on cores with new Mali GPUs

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GPU? hardware IP? design?

ARM announced two new Mali graphics cores, a new high-end part and one aimed at mid-market devices. The Mali T760 delivers up to 326 GFlops using 16 cores; the T720 promises higher energy efficiency and a smaller area than previous cores.

ARM hopes the new parts accelerate its momentum in mobile graphics where it is gaining ground but trailing Imagination Technologies and Qualcomm, according to market watcher Jon Peddie Research.

"In general, Imagination has had superior performance to ARM's Mali, and Mali has had a smaller die size," said Peddie in an email exchange. "When a company like Samsung or MediaTek wanted performance parts in their product line they would choose Imagination and when they wanted low cost they'd go for Mali," he said.

With the Mali T760, ARM doubled to 16 the number of cores that can be linked in a design. Each core uses two arithmetic pipelines rather than four in the previous high-end Mali 678 for which ARM saw little demand.

Nevertheless performance per core is up about 25 per cent from the previous 628 which also had two arithmetic pipelines. The T760 runs at up to 600MHz to deliver 1,066 million triangles/second and has a 9.6 Gpixels/s fill rate.

With the T760, "we believe we will far surpass where Imagination is for some time," said Andy Loats, graphics product manager for ARM.

For its part, the Android-optimised 720 core delivers 533 million triangles/second and 4.8 Gpixels/s or 81.6 GFlops in overall performance. ARM says the chip is 30 per cent smaller than previous mid-market cores and uses 15 per cent less dynamic power.

Loats dismissed start-up Vivante, which has a tiny market share, but gained significant traction earlier this year. He also downplayed Nvidia's decision in June to license its graphics IP to other SoC makers.

Nvidia "certainly will have a decent GPU in their own products, but we don't think anyone will be able to layout their IP in a short time," he said, noting Nvidia is new to the market as a supplier of cores.

ARM will release hardware IP for the T760 at the end of the month and the T720 at the end of November. Production level software for the cores is expected to follow in three months.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times





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