It's been a while since ARM announced its next generation of Mali GPUs, the T604 and T658, but in the semiconductor business silence should never be confused with inactivity. Behind the scenes, the chip designers have been working with Khronos -- that great keeper of open standards -- to ensure the new graphics processors are fully compliant with OpenCL and are therefore able to use their silicon for general compute tasks (AR, photo manipulation, video rendering etc.) as well as for producing pretty visuals.
Importantly, ARM isn't settling for the Embedded Profile version of OpenCL that has been "relaxed" for mobile devices, but is instead aiming for the same Full Profile OpenCL 1.1 found in compliant laptop and desktop GPUs. A tall order for a low-power processor, perhaps, but we have a strong feeling that Khronos's certification is just a formality at this point, and that today's news is a harbinger of real, commercial T6xx-powered devices coming before the end of the year. Even the souped-up Mali 400 in the European Galaxy S III can only reign for so long.
ARM Leads GPU Computing Trend, Improving Systems Performance and Energy-Efficiency
ARM submits ARM® Mali™-T604 GPU for Full Profile OpenCL Conformance
What: The submission of the ARM® Mali™-T604 graphics processing unit (GPU) for OpenCL™ 1.1 Full Profile conformance with Khronos*. ARM is the first GPU Intellectual Property (IP) supplier to submit conformance for Full Profile OpenCL, bringing desktop GPU computing features to the mobile, embedded and smart-TV markets.
This will help bring visual computing to life by providing developers with a consistent and effective platform on which to build their designs, and tangible benefits to the end user in terms of improved performance and battery life of their devices.
GPU computing is a trend where the computational performance of the GPU, historically used for graphics is harnessed to augment the main processor (or CPU) for certain applications where the GPU architecture will be more effective. The result is improved performance and energy-efficiency and a more efficient use of the system as a whole, making computational photography, computer vision, advanced imaging, point-of-interest extraction and augmented reality possible because of the extended processing capacity.
The Open Computing Language (OpenCL) is an important open standard programming framework for portable, parallel computation that enables the CPU and GPU in a system to work faster and more efficiently together.
Why: The Mali-T600 Series of GPUs have been designed from the outset for GPU computing, including full support for work-groups and synchronization barriers. Building on a scalable multicore, multi-pipeline architecture design, the Mali-T600 Series GPU includes a number of advanced features. In particular, native scalar and vector operations for OpenCL's integer and floating point data types (including 64-bit); support for static and dynamic compilation; hardware accelerated image and sampler data types; fast atomic operations and compliance to IEEE754-2008 precision requirements.
For more information about OpenCL 1.1 Full Profile and ARM Mali GPUs please click here.
* Product is based on a published Khronos Specification, and is expected to pass the Khronos Conformance Testing Process.
Current conformance status can be found at www.khronos.org/conformance
When: 2nd August 2012
Who: ARM designs the technology that is at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM's comprehensive product offering includes RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company's broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies.