ARM releases new GPU powerful enough to take on gaming consoles

Exynos chip
Small but powerful

ARM has announced two new Mali GPUs, part of its third generation of T-Series cores. The T760 and the T720 come 14 months after the launch of the T628, T624 and the T678.

The new flagship that takes over the latter is the T760, a mammoth GPU that can scale up to 16 cores and boosts a fourfold improvement over the T604 in terms of power efficiency (i.e. performance per watt).

ARM introduced a new technology called AFBC (ARM Frame Buffer Compression) which, alongside Smart Composition and Advanced Scalable Texture Compression, cuts the total memory bandwidth utilisation by more than half.

Interestingly, the T760 boosts two 512KB L2 cache, has a clock speed of 600MHz, a pixel fill rate of 9.6Gpixel/s, a Triangle rate of 1067MTri/s and a FP performance of 326.4GFLOPS. ARM's product page mentions that the 16-core model, the Mali-T760 MP16, etched in 28nm, can clock at up to nearly 700MHz with a Triangle rate of 1.39GTriangle/s and 11.2Gpixel/s.

Improved graphics

The second product launch, the T720, caters for the market targeted by the Mali-4xx series and bring both OpenGL ES 3.0 and GPU compute to it. ARM states that this GPU comes with some "targeted optimisations" for Android OS but doesn't elaborate what they are other than saying that the T720 is in effect, an Android Optimised version of the T-62x.

It can scale to eight cores, has two 128KB L2 cache, clocks at up to 600MHz, has a pixel fill rate of 4.8Gpix/Sec, a triangle fill rate of 533Mtriangle/s and reaches a peak FP performance of 81.6GFLOPS, achieving an increase in graphics performance of 50 per cent.

Power consumption has also been improved with ARM claiming that the T720 delivers a 150 per cent improvement in its energy efficiency over the T400 (i.e. it can deliver the same amount of performance with a third of the power) with nearly a third less transistor.

Exynos boost?

Mediatek, Rockchip and Samsung have all licensed the two cores which is likely to be rolled out next year. It wouldn't be surprising to see Samsung roll the T760 out in the Galaxy Note 4 in September 2014 with an early appearance in the Galaxy S5 (widely speculated to be launched in March) very unlikely.

ARM claims that Mali GPU powers more than 50 per cent Android tablets and more than 20 per cent of Android smartphones but still lags behind market leaders Power VR.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.