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Mali-G72 Targets Virtual Reality

May 30, 2017

Author: Mike Demler

ARM’s latest additions to its Mali graphics and multimedia family include a high-end GPU and display processor (DPU). The new Mali-G72 GPU surpasses the performance of the first-generation Bifrost design the company introduced last year. It has the same Bifrost architecture as its predecessor, but ARM used its experience from the first design to optimize and refine several areas. For the same configuration and process node, the improvements boost performance by 40% compared with the Mali-G71 and increase energy efficiency by 25%. They also yield a 5–10% die-area reduction.

The new Cetus DPU increases the 4K frame rate to 90fps, improving support for virtual-reality (VR) headsets. For mobile operating systems such as Android N, it also increases composition-layer capacity from seven partially overlapping layers to eight fully overlapping layers, and it can scale four of them in the same composition scene. Examples of composition layers are the navigation bar, status bar, wallpaper, and application windows. These windows can include additional layers to display picture-in-picture video.

The Mali-G72 targets the 3D-graphics demands of high-resolution gaming and VR in addition to improving support for general-purpose-GPU (GPGPU) computing in machine learning. Production RTL for the G72 is now available; the first phones using the design are likely to appear by early 2018. We expect Mali-G71 customers Huawei and Samsung will upgrade to the G72 in their next-generation processors, with Huawei being first to ship.

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