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ARM launches first Midgard GPU

ARM launches first Midgard GPU

ARM's Mali-T604 is the company's first Midgard GPU, offering a five-fold performance boost to mobile devices.

Chip design specialist ARM has announced its latest GPU, designed to bring desktop levels of performance to portable devices: the Mali-T604.

Designed as a companion processor to the company's Cortex-A15 'Eagle' CPU, the Mali-T604 is a surprisingly powerful beast for a smartphone and tablet-oriented GPU: featuring between one and four processing cores depending on the requirements of an individual hardware partner, the Mali-T604 promises a five-fold boost in performance over the company's existing GPU range.

The company claims that the Mali-T604's triple-pipeline design means that the chip can be used for both GPGPU and GPU tasks simultaneously, with full support for the open source OpenCL GPGPU language. ARM has also included API support for Microsoft's DirectX along with the Kronos Group's OpenGL ES and OpenVG.

ARM's latest design includes full-scene anti-aliasing support, with 4x FSAA possible with, the company claims, 'minimal performance drop,' while 16x FSAA is also possible on higher-power implementations.

Lance Howarth, general manager of the Media Processing Division at ARM, claimed of the chip: "the tri-pipe architecture in the Mali-T604 provides both market leading compute functionality and high-performance graphics without compromise, enabling unequalled user experiences in energy-efficient consumer electronic devices."

For companies looking to implement the Mali-T604 alongside the Cortex-A15 ARM has also announced the CoreLink 400 interconnect, which is designed to offer high-speed cache sharing between the two chips for enhanced performance.

The Mali-T604 is to be the company's first product in a planned series known as Midgard: GPUs that share a common software driver, allowing manufacturers an easy upgrade path when higher performance parts are released.

ARM has stated that the Mali-T604 IP is available to hardware partners now, with Samsung slated to be one of the first to implement the technology alongside its Cortex-based Hummingbird processors. Until the company's licensees start producing parts, however, there is no way of knowing how much of a premium the parts will fetch - nor the possibility of any official benchmarks.

Are you pleased to see ARM looking to improve 3D performance on low-power devices, or more excited about the possibilities of Midgard for GPGPU acceleration? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

9 Comments

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TWeaK 11th November 2010, 14:33 Quote
Awesome stuff, hopefully we might get these in phones by June next year when my contract finally runs out.

As an aside, when are we going to get enlargement links on the pictures in news articles?
Hustler 11th November 2010, 16:13 Quote
""the tri-pipe architecture in the Mali-T604 provid....."

Lol...i read that as Tripe architecture....
Tyinsar 11th November 2010, 16:22 Quote
I foresee tablets & hand held gaming devices getting better.
I'm waiting for a powerful enough, open enough, tablet with good battery life.
yakyb 11th November 2010, 17:16 Quote
anyone else think holy **** their remaking FF7 when they read Midgard?
schmidtbag 11th November 2010, 17:22 Quote
i think this is great news, especially for companies like via. i'm assuming arm stepped up their graphics because amd is trying to target smartphones and they're likely to do a better job if their claims are true
dslickness 11th November 2010, 18:50 Quote
Sweet tech! Please let this tech come to Android asap to be the bane of iPhones.

Down with the tyrant~!
Aracos 11th November 2010, 20:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
anyone else think holy **** their remaking FF7 when they read Midgard?

Or at least a GPU capable of playing it :)
Goty 12th November 2010, 00:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
anyone else think holy **** their remaking FF7 when they read Midgard?

Actually, I was thinking, "Holy **** they're remaking FF7!" Then I remembered that it is "Midgar" and I got sad.

:D

On a side note, that "five times the performance" figure in the article sounds like a nice bit of marketing fluff when you combine it with the statement that they can place up to four on a chip. I'm thinking it's more like "25% faster, but we can give you four of them at the same time."
ferret141 12th November 2010, 13:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
Awesome stuff, hopefully we might get these in phones by June next year when my contract finally runs out.

As an aside, when are we going to get enlargement links on the pictures in news articles?

http://www.tomshardware.com/gallery/armmali-t604-lg,0101-268771-0-2-3-1-jpg-.html
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