ARM unveils new Mali GPUs

ARM has unveiled the latest updates to its Mali GPUs, the T720 and T760, which promise to improve performance and power efficiency.

ARM unveils new Mali GPUs

The Mali-T760 is for mid-market and high-end devices, while the Mali-T720 is designed for more mainstream handsets and tablets.

Both use ARM’s Midgard architecture, which was previously only found on its high-end GPU roadmap, but the Mali-T720 brings it into the mid-range market for the first time.

“We’re harmonising on the Midgard architecture across both of the roadmaps, so the new Mali-T720 and the T760 are both based on the Midgard architecture,” Steven Steele, product manager, told PC Pro. “We’re bringing some of the higher end features we’ve had for some time in Mali-T600 down into the mid-range roadmap.”

Steele said those features include support for GPU compute – letting users do more demanding work, such as video editing, on mobile devices – as well as the OpenGL ES 3 specification, which among other improvements boosts rending times.

The Mali-T760 promises 400% better energy efficiency than the Mali-T604, ARM’s first Midgard architecture GPU, released in 2010.

In the latest update, the efficiency comes via ARM’s new frame buffer compression and “smart composition”, both of which save bandwidth, helping the GPU cut energy use. The T760 is scalable to 16 cores to offer 326Gflops in terms of performance.

The T720, meanwhile, offers a 150% efficiency boost over the Mali-400, and is 30% smaller than T600s. It’s been optimised for Android to help cut time to market for manufacturers, and will likely be paired with the Cortex A7, A12 or A53 CPUs.

“It’s not exclusively for Android, but where there are optimisations and trade-offs to be made, we’ve always had Android first and foremost in our minds,” Steele said.

The two new Mali GPUs won’t replace any existing models, but will extend the high end of both premium and mid-range GPUs, ARM said. Both of the designs are already available to manufacturers, and will likely show up on consumer devices at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015.

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