Could you imagine an Android device with 10x faster graphics and 70% longer battery life? It sounds like some kind of dream device we might see by 2013 or 2014, but recent comments from ARM suggest this could happen as early as next year.
Last week ARM announced the latest member of their GPU family, the Mali-T658. This next generation GPU promises 10 times the performance of the ARM Mali-400 found in the Galaxy S II by doubling the number of GPU cores, doubling the number of arithmetic pipelines within each core, and improving the compiler and pipeline efficiency.
Many industry insiders were expecting to see this Mali-T658 GPU arrive in 2013, but Edvard Sørgård, ARM consultant graphics architect, says we should expect to see it in stores next year (which I assume means consumer devices).
ARM announced that the launch partners for the Mali-T658 GPU included Fujitsu Semiconductor, LG Electronics, Nufront and Samsung. Only Samsung has launched an Android device with an ARM Mali GPU, so we think they would be most likely to be one of the first to put the Mali-T658 into an Android device.
Samsung previously said they would deliver an Exynos processor that leverages both the Cortex-A7 and big.Little technology in 2012 and the ARM Mali-T658 would be the perfect GPU to pair with that combo. The Mali-T658 GPU takes advantage of ARM CoreLink Cache Coherent Interconnect (CCI-400) technology, enabling faster and more efficient sharing of data with other processors in the system.
So, as crazy as it sounds, Samsung should technically be able to deliver a 28nm quad-core Exynos processor in 2012 with two Cortex-A15 cores, two Cortex-A7 cores and a Mali-T658 GPU. That might be a little ambitious for next year, but Samsung has quickly become a leader in the mobile system-on-a-chip industry and I think they can pull it off.
Some might question why anyone would need that kind of graphics muscle in a mobile device, but Steve Steele, ARM Senior Product Manager, says you can never ever have enough processing power. Steve points out, “Those clever artistic folks who create content will always find exciting new ways to use up the fill-rate, triangle-rate and GFLOPS that you have so faithfully provided in the latest technology. This is, of course, great because it means that consumer products are constantly improving to provide more and more exciting user-experiences.”
For an idea of the kinds of user experiences that might be created for this next-generation GPU, check out the new video ARM uploaded for the Mali-T658. It might not be the most exciting looking video, but you can see that augmented reality apps will play a big role.
Other than games, what kinds of experiences would you like to see created for a 10x faster GPU?