ARM uncloaks GPU to turbo boost smartphones


British success story ARM has announced a fresh GPU designed to bring a significant graphics boost to mobile devices.

ARM has managed to maintain a solid grip on the mobile processor space and the Mali-T658 GPU is another addition to its popular lineup of chip designs.

The company claimed its new processor could provide up to ten times the graphics performance of its predecessor - the Mali-400 MP GPU, which is currently found in the Samsung Galaxy SII.

Based on the Midgard architecture, the Mali-T658 GPU is capable of linking up to eight cores. ARM has also doubled the number of arithmetic pipelines in each of the cores compared to the Mali-T604 GPU.

"Following the recent introduction of big.LITTLE processing and the ARMv8 architecture, the launch of Mali-T658 is another example of how ARM is seeking to redefine heterogeneous computing for the embedded space," said Jon Peddie, President of specialist graphics research consultancy, Jon Peddie Research.

"This will provide high-performance graphics and compute systems for low-power applications."

The new GPU has been designed to work alongside the ARM Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 processors announced recently, either in standalone ways or via the big.LITTLE processing architecture, designed to save on power.

The concept behind big.LITTLE is to have the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 processors work as a system-on-a-chip. The LITTLE', lower-power Cortex-A7 runs the operating system and applications for basic always-on, always-connected tasks, such as social media and audio playback. The Cortex-A15 is used for high-performance tasks, like navigation and gaming, as required.

The new, super-powered processor could help back this architecture for some seriously powerful and energy-efficient mobile devices.

"Next generation consumer devices based on the Mali-T658 GPU will address the growing user expectation for slick user interfaces and desktop-class graphics," said Pete Hutton, general manager, Media Processing Division, ARM.

"Intuitive user interfaces will mean that consumers can access the full functionality of their connected devices, for richer user experiences. This includes HD gaming and new compute-intensive applications, such as augmented reality."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.