LONDON – ARM Holdings plc has announced the next core in its Mali line of graphics processing units, which is intended to start appearing in smartphone system-chips in 2013.
The Mali-T658 design supports up to 8 shader cores, compared with the Mali-T604's four shader cores, and ARM has also doubled the number of arithmetic pipelines per shader core from two to four.
ARM (Cambridge, England) claims, the result is up to 10 times the graphics performance of Mali-400 GPUs found in mainstream consumer products today in 40-nm silicon and four times the GPU compute performance of the quad-core Mali-T604 GPU. The Mali-T604, the previous top-of-the-range, launched at the ARM TechCon in 2010. That core is expected to appear in silicon in 2012.
Like its predecessor the Mali-T658 is expected to perform some general–purpose computing on suitable applications, which may include image processing, augmented reality or running physics engine software for games. ARM has had at least two more graphics cores on its graphics roadmap to take performance up and to the right.
Mali-T658 roll out in context of smartphones. Source: ARM
And for now ARM claims the Mali-T658 will give the company performance leadership over its rival graphics core licensor Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England). Imagination's top-of-the-line GPU is a PowerVR Series 6 design that goes by the codename Rogue. "Imagination and Vivante; they are the competition," said Ian Smythe, director of marketing for the media processing division.
However, ARM also claims that Mali in all its versions, with 57 licenses and 29 SoCs designed, is now the most widely licensed GPU architecture.