New ARM GPU could bring VR to low-priced smartphones by 2018

The company, which designs low-power chip architectures and then licenses those designs to such chip makers as Qualcomm and Samsung, on October 31 unveiled the Mali-V61 video processing unit (VPU) and Mali-G51 GPU, which officials said will bring a greater visual experience to mobile devices, something that members of Generation Z are demanding. The Mali G-51 won't be expensive to implement considering its small size, ARM said.

ARM CPU and media processing groups general manager James McNiven said: "The cost and visual experience a device delivers are key purchasing factors for Generation Z and mainstream mobile users. This is a system-level media solution that enables developers to balance performance, efficiency and cost control".

The Mali-V61 offers 50 percent bit rate saving over previous generation codecs and contains up to 8 cores providing scalability from 1080p at 60 frames per second up to 4K at 120 frames per second. ARM says the VPU is the "first multi-standard video processor to be contained in a single IP block".

ARM's Mali-G51 GPU is targeted toward budget smartphones and has the horsepower to handle VR applications. It can bring VR to mainstream handsets priced around $200.

"We're now seeing demand for mainstream devices to cater for not only complex UIs and casual gaming but also low power VR and virtual spaces applications", said Shen Li, General Manager, Joint Development Product Centre, Tencent Games. Compared to its predecessor, the Mali-T830, the Vulkan-enabled Mali-G51 GPU is 30 percent smaller, offers 60 percent more performance per square millimetre, and, is 60 percent more energy-efficient.

Alongside the Mali-DP650 display processor, Mali-G71 and Mali-G51 GPUs, the Mali-V61 is the third element in the ARM Mali Multimedia Suite configuration.

"We have delivered RTL to customers, " ARM's Dan Wilson told EW, pointing out that "graphics processing within a smartphone budget is something that has only become possible in the a year ago".

The two cores have also been engineered to work well together as part of a Mali multimedia suite and alongside Cortex-A processors.

ARM technology is at the heart of a computing and connectivity revolution that is transforming the way people live and businesses operate.

The Mali G-51 is created to operate within the limited size and power constraints of a smartphone.

All information is provided "as is" and without warranty or representation.

ARM explained that the Mali-G51 and Mali-V71 have already been licensed to multiple customers, and will start showing up in devices in 2018. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders.

  • Leroy Wright