ARM Flexes Four New Mali GPUs To Bolster Machine Learning, Gaming And Mixed Reality On Mainstream Devices


Mobile chip designer ARM today announced a brand new Mali Multimedia Suite of video, display, and graphics processors for mid-range and entry level mobile devices, and also the digital television (DTV) market, a category that is demanding more graphics performance these days. The new graphics architectures integrate seamlessly with ARM's existing Cortex CPUs to enable 3D gaming, mixed reality, and 4K experiences on a range of devices.

Contained in the new suite of products are the Mali-G52, Mali-G31, Mali-D51 and Mali-V52. All four are designed in part to leverage machine learning and AI to help deliver next-generation experiences on phones and DTVs, especially in regards to gaming and mixed reality.

ARM Slide
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The Mali-G52 and Mali-G31 are both based on ARM's Bifrost architecture that is found in the company's higher-end graphics chips, such as the Mali-G72. According to ARM, the Mali-G52 delivers 3.6x better machine learning performance to ultimately enable "premium experiences" on mainstream phones. On the technical side, this is achieved in part by doubling the number of ALU lanes in each of the redesigned execution engines compared to the previous generation Mali-G51. This is the part of the processor that handles arithmetic.

Even though there are twice as many ALU lanes, the architectural upgrade only increases the core area by around 1.22x. ARM was willing to make the trade off in order to enable its GPU to handle 8-bit dot product instructions for more advanced graphics processing, ultimately making it more adept at image detection and other machine learning tasks.

The Mali-G31 is ARM's smallest GPU to date to support the latest APIs for graphics development, such as OpenGL ES 3.2, Khronos, and Vulkan, and can also handle complex user interfaces for DTVs. It's built on a 20 percent smaller area with 20 percent better performance density and 12 percent better UI performance, ARM says.

ARM Slide
Click to Enlarge (Source: ARM)

ARM's Mali-D51 and Mali-V52 are display and video processors. The Mali-D51 is the first ARM Mali display chip for mainstream applications to be built on the company's Komeda display architecture, which it launched last year with its high-performance D-71. It's 30 percent smaller than that chip, with the goal of delivering high quality visual experiences in a smaller silicon area.

"In mainstream mobile devices it’s very unlikely you’d want to display a great deal of 4K content, which is really still the realm of the high-performance roadmap, but you still need to be able to handle it, so in the mainstream it’s all about making smart choices which might include downscaling the video stream from 4K for the target display resolution in question. Mali-D51 capitalizes on this to provide superior quality at any resolution up to 2048x4096 pixels at 60fps, and across the same number of layers as the Mali-D71," ARM explains.

The Mali-V52, meanwhile, is a cut down version of the ARM's Mali-V61. IT is scalable from 1-4 cores (Mali-V61 is scalable from 1-8 cores) and specifically targets 4K content streaming. By narrowing the focus of this chip, ARM was able to reduce the size by almost 40 percent, and do so without sacrificing performance (in 4K content streaming). The benefit to customers is that the Mali-V52 costs less and reduces the power footprint.

ARM says its partners have shipped more than 125 billion chips to date based on its IP, and by 2021 it expects that number to grow to 200 billion.

Top Image Source: Flickr via Kārlis Dambrāns