ARM launches first Midgard GPU

November 11, 2010 // 11:31 a.m.

Tags: #arm #arm-eagle #arm-midgard #cortex-a15 #eagle #gpgpu #hummingbird #mali-t604 #midgard

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.

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