Nov 14 AT 1:04 PM Taylor Wimberly 35 Comments

Will we really see 10x faster graphics in Android devices this time next year?

ARM Mali

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 SørgÃ¥rd, 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?

Via: ARM blog

Source: Mali-T658

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • WarDrake

    I’d mix the glasses and the last one into single App and make my house into a kick ass dungeon :D

  • Sway_212

    What I ask is that do we really need such powerful devices? What are we going to do with all that power? Aside from the battery life gains,I see no point in these future devices.

    • Jeff

      That’s like asking “Why do we need to improve technology? Everything we have is already good enough!”


      • Starship

        If everyone stuck with “Good enough” then we’d still have horse and buggies.

        • Tom Hughes

          Hey! Back off! My horse resents that remark! So does my wagon …. and buggy whip! Sheesh!

      • Sway_212

        Do we really need the extra power right now? Tell me some games or apps which actually pushes the current crop of dual core processors to its limits. There are very few of these games out right now and we’re already moving on to more powerful and expensive devices.

        • Legend

          Future-proofing comes to mind…

    • TomKat

      I’m with you, Sway! I’m still using Windows 3.1 … I don’t think that Windows 95 thing is going to fly …..

    • M0nk

      Well… “640k is enough for anyone”. Bill gates

      Give developers and hardware vendors the power and they will found new functions / uses that we don’t even dream today. Windows 8 is round the corner and a chip like that could easily power a notebook / Tablet that would last all day on and could replace most current X.86 hardware.

      • Sway_212

        Our hardwares are getting extremely powerful but the software isn’t able to cope with the progress. Like I said before,there are very few games which can truly push the dual core processors we have nowadays.

        • Legend

          I’d say that depends on what you use your computer/phone for. Nothing really uses dual/quad core+ except for optimised games and apps. IMO hardware will come to a halt sometime in the future and software will catch up.

    • phaet2112

      emphasize the battery life gains and mix with some fluid picture taking and editing and you have significant but compact video editing tools without the need for a full windows install

  • Derek

    I’d say they will be comparable to current generation integrated graphics (Llano, Sandy Bridge), not with any mid-range PC graphic cards. On the other hand, Nvida will have the Tegra 4 and maybe even the 5 out. You have to build GPUs to match the release cycles of new phone. Nvidia will sell millions of chips before this baby is even released.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Tegra 4 might be out by the end of 2012 and Tegra 5 is slated for end of 2013.

  • QuantumRand

    I’m sure they’re getting this 10x figure by comparing the highest end configuration of the T658 (with all 8 cores) to the single core implementation of the 400.

    Still, still, that would mean around 300M Tri/s which would be impressive.

  • Dragonithe

    I like that while there trying to show off the capabilities of this new chip. They are using a HTC Desire for the demo’s :)

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Yeah that video is really a year old. They used the same footage when they announced the Mali-T604.

  • Louis91

    Now I’m thinking of not getting the nexus prime this year but just wait for one off these bad boys. I’m happy with my nexus s right now :) the improved battery sounds sooooo nice though

    • Legend

      Glaxy Nexus* :)

  • Jeff

    When are we even getting the ARM Mail T608? Perhaps in the Galaxy S III?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Don’t know what will be in the SGSIII, but the next Exynos is the dual-core 1.5 GHz Exynos 4212. Lots of speculation that Samsung is working on a quad-core too, but not many details.

      • Orion78

        Personally, I can’t wait to see what Samsung has in store.

  • xsynth

    I wonder how long it’s going to be until companies like nintendo, sony and microsft start putting their game consoles directly on phones w/hdmi out. It would mean digital distribution, but I could quite happily dock my phone to tv to play games instead of having a massive console sitting there all the time. I guess the Sony PlayStation Suite is the beginning

    • crickerman

      well, the tegra 3 has native gamepad (xbox, ps3, wii) support with Ice Cream Sandwich so it may not be too far off…

    • Mark

      I can guarantee you that will most likely never happen and even if it does, it won’t be very enjoyable. Unless battery technology R&D is accelerated, it won’t take up to 10 mins for you battery to die off it’s powering heavy games like Battlefield, Borderlands, Skyrim etc most with multiplayer.

      • xsynth

        All it would need is a dock that has the usb/hdmi plugs on it like what Motorola has done, so it uses the main power, not battery.

  • DRA

    i can’t wait to see a phone with one of these bad boys in action

  • Nathan

    Sweet can wait to see this in a mobile device and see it’s power.

  • Zhi Hao

    Had to post this: ST Ericsson Nova A9600.

    210+ GFLOPs, 350+ million tri/s, 13+ GPixels/s.

    2 X Cortex A15s, plus undisclosed cores for heterogenous multi processing.

    Expected in devices by late 2012.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      ARM says the Mali-T658 will do 350 GFLOPS.

  • BOB

    no fing way

  • ACR

    Games on Android don’t take advantage of the GPU like they do on iOS. So it’s kind of useless to have super fast GPU on Android.

  • wild

    I think big.Little system+new arm gpu’s will rock.

  • honourbound68

    hardware has usually had to push innovation and software usually had to catch up. I’m sure someone will come up with uses for the chips (augmented reality in glasses, HUD’s for cars etc).

  • pritams

    let’s see what happens in 2012..:)