Arm, the IP core supplier from the UK, was talking about the latest variations of its Mali GPUs – it claims to be the top GPU design supplier globally with 550 million sales. The company was keen to emphasise that from its base in CPUs, it has now developed very solid businesses in GPU and video processor designs. Featured products included the Pipo P4 tablet which uses a Rockchip 3277 quad core CPU that includes the Mali T764 GPU and was the first SoC to use the Arm Cortex-A17 processor. As well as H.264 and VP8, the Rockchip can support H.265 up to UltraHD resolution.
Looking at the graphics, Arm was showing how its architecture could support the Enlighten Global Illumination technology from Arm’s Geomerics company to enhance the look and realism of game play. There was a demonstration of 64 bit Android running very smoothly and we were impressed with a port of Unreal Engine 4 running on the Mali GPU. There was no real news on display & video processors as the Mali-V550 video processor and the Mali-DP550 processors (designed for use on 16nm FinFET+ processes) were announced at the beginning of February, along with the T880 series of GPUs. The V550 can support 8 or 10 bit H.265 decode and 8 bit H.265 encode. The DP550 can support display hardware at up to UltraHD at 120Hz.
Arm told us that it is particularly highlighting that using its GPUs, display and video processors is very efficient, as data compression (like the lossless Arm Frame Buffer Compression [AFBC]) and other techniques can be used to minimise data transmission around the system. The use of devices from a single company also simplifies the challenge of keeping up with Android releases.