Over the last two years we have described several applications in these blogs for which the MaliTM-T600 series increased system performance by offloading compute-intensive portions of the application to the GPU, while the remainder was still running on the CPU. At COMPUTEX this year we are launching the powerful combination of ARM® Cortex®-A12, Mali-T622 and Mali-V500, bringing the benefits of ARM heterogeneous computing to mid-range smartphone SoCs.
The benefits that consumers are seeing today in the wide range of devices with Mali GPUs are in part a result of pairing them with Cortex CPUs. Silicon partners in the mid-range and mass-market smartphone space are constrained by having to balance functionality with cost and choosing the combination of ARM Cortex-A12, Mali-T622 and Mali-V500 enables them to build efficient systems where each processor has a different and unique role to play. The Mali-T622 builds on the successful Mali-T600 series established by the Mali-T604. It brings a high spec to the mid-range market segment with the right combination of performance and silicon area, thus enabling cost effective designs. This second generation adds increased energy efficiency, resulting in a 50% improvement over the first generation of the Mali-T600 series. What is more, Mali-T622 opens up the functionality enabled by OpenGL® ES 3.0 to a wider range of consumers and brings with it a vast ecosystem of tools and libraries from major software vendors. It is also the first solution in this market that enables Full Profile GPU Compute functionality with no compromises.
Smallest OpenCL™ 1.1 Full Profile and Renderscript solution in the Market
GPUs are becoming key components of the energy-efficient heterogeneous compute platforms that will penetrate the mass-market. Developers and users of smartphones will be able to take full advantage of hundreds of GFLOPS of compute resources and benefit from the increased efficiency in processing compute functions such as computational photography and computer vision. A case in point is Renderscript, the breakthrough Android™ technology that enables acceleration of computational tasks. While Mali-T604 was the first GPU that supported Renderscript Compute natively, Mali-T622 was specifically tailored for this job. Mali-T622 also supports OpenCL Full Profile and includes double-precision FP64 and full IEEE-754-2008 floating-point support which are essential features in order to enhance the user experience. Additionally, combining the powerful ARM CPU and GPU allows extending Mali-V500 functionality with video codec support for future standards during ramp of adoption.
50% energy efficiency improvements over first generation Mali-T600 products
As we all know, requirements for GPU processing throughput in the mid-range continue to grow exponentially but power still has to fit within the constant boundaries of smartphone technology. Mali-T622 increases energy efficiency resulting in a 50% improvement over the first generation of the Mali-T600 series. ARM’s unique IP portfolio enables us to deliver this level of saving by combining GPU micro-architectural improvements, software enhancements and system level optimization. Those advancements in conjunction with new features such as Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) reduce overall energy consumed by the system. ASTC, developed by ARM and supported on Mali-T622, is an official extension to the OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics standard, making it the natural choice for reducing texture bandwidth and therefore saving system power. All three items – performance, power, and bandwidth optimizations – benefit ARM partners who have already begun designing SoCs with the second generation and deploying them in a wide range of market leading solutions for mid-range mobile.
Richest user experience with OpenGL ES 3.0
The Mali-T600 series GPUs were originally designed to support OpenGL ES 3.0 and the first generation capable of this new graphics API has been shipping in consumer devices since last year. The Mali-T620 series is also OpenGL ES 3.0 conformant and by enabling this new graphics API, Mali-T622* provides developers with completely new features for creating even more compelling visual effects. Innovative functionality in the OpenGL ES 3.0 specification includes occlusion queries, instanced rendering, transform feedback, support for multiple render targets as well as standard ETC2 compressed textures. This means that OpenGL ES 3.0 enables both more advanced eye-candy effects and better bandwidth efficiency. Leveraging those advancements allows consumer devices to draw less power and, as a result, end-users can enjoy rich content for much longer – a trait we’ve always cared about at ARM. OpenGL ES 3.0 not only adds ETC2 / EAC texture compression formats as a standard feature, but, as I mentioned earlier, also introduces Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC), expanding texturing functionality. On top of this, Open GL ES 3.0 provides a broad set of texture and render-buffer formats, reducing differences between the various API implementations and allowing seamless portability of applications across different devices.
All of these features make Mali-T622 a perfect solution for devices aiming to leverage hardware and software and reduce development costs and time to market. In fact, optimized designs start with optimized IP and ARM provides POP™ IP solution for both ARM Cortex- A12 and ARM Mali-T622 as well as ARM DS-5™ toolchain. This provides silicon vendors not only with fast time to market and balance of superior performance, smaller area and lower power consumption but also with tools to optimise the entire system even further.
Please stay tuned for more news from Computex where ARM is introducing a suite of IP to deliver fully-featured user experience for mid-range devices.
* Product is based on a published Khronos Specification, and is expected to pass the Khronos Conformance Testing Process.
Current conformance status can be found here.
•Cortex-A12: Diversification in the Mobile Market – Serving the Mid-Range
•A new branch for the Mali family tree: Mali Video, featuring the Mali-V500
•POP IP for the Cortex-A12 Processor: Enabling the Next Billion Smartphones
•Want to get more out of your hardware? Think system.
Jakub Lamik, Graphics Product Manager, Media Processing Division, ARM. Jakub has spent several years working in the semiconductor industry but still remembers days when he used to type J followed by a double quote to load his favourite game on his ZX Spectrum Plus. On one rainy day, he had to give up his beloved system programming to lead the design of low power 3D graphics accelerators, which he believes is really about “not rendering pixels”. He soon became fascinated with visual computing and nowadays is a product manager looking after ARM Mali GPUs.