Smallest Mobile Processor For VR And Graphic Intensive Applications

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ARM has announced a suite of mobile processor technologies for flagship devices from 2017. The ARM Cortex-A73 processor and the ARM Mali-G71 graphics processor offer sustained performance and efficiency for newer products with enhanced contextual and visual capabilities. This will allow devices to run high resolution content for longer periods while staying within strict mobile power budgets.

“The smartphone is the world’s most ubiquitous compute device, offering experiences that improve with each new product generation,” said Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president, product groups, ARM. “In 2017, we will see devices with the Cortex-A73 and Mali-G71 processors that stand out thanks to their impressive and sustained performance, and even more stunning visuals. This technology can make engaging with 4K video, virtual reality and augmented reality an everyday experience on a mobile device.”

Mali-G71: Change in ARM Mali GPU Performance

The Mali-G71 scales up to 32 shader cores, twice as many as the previous generation IP GPU – the Mali-T880.The product is fully coherent, helping in software development and efficiency. It is useful in power immersive VR and AR experiences on mobile devices.

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Bifrost, the third-generation ARM GPU architecture, is the foundation of the Mali-G71. The architecture is optimized for Vulkan and other industry-standard APIs, building on innovations from the previous Utgard and Midgard architectures.

“VR is one of the most important technological breakthroughs for the gaming industry in a generation,” said Niklas Smedberg, technical director, platform partnerships, Epic Games. “The ability to deliver a compelling VR experience on all platforms, but especially mobile, is critical for the industry’s continued growth and advancement. To enable a great mobile VR experience, devices need to be the highest performing and most energy efficient available.”

“It’s basic math – the sheer number of smartphones in the world is already double PCs and rising, which makes it the single most important device for accelerating VR gaming adoption,” said Clive Downie, CMO Unity Technologies. “ARM is making smart investments that move the mobile VR and AR ecosystems forward. By creating more efficient and powerful technology solutions for mobile they are helping push the boundaries of what is possible in the virtual world and everyone will benefit.”

Cortex-A73: Efficiency and Performance for Mobile SoCs

At under 0.65mm2 per core (on a 10nm FinFET process technology) the Cortex-A73 is the smallest ARMv8-A core. Its mobile microarchitecture enables a 30 percent uplift in sustained performance and power efficiency over the Cortex-A72.

The changes enhance the ability of silicon providers to use the Cortex-A73 in ARM big.LITTLE configurations. These create further opportunities for designers to scale cores along with the GPU and other IP in a single SoC.

“In order to deliver more quality and excellent smartphone experiences to consumers, Huawei will continue enhancing the integrated performance of our premium smartphones,” said Kevin Ho, President, handset business, Huawei consumer business group. “The system-level approach that ARM takes in developing its IP is a vital element in ensuring our design teams are able to maximize efficiency and performance across the entire device.”

In addition to smartphones, ARM’s latest premium IP suite offers performance density and throughput required for other consumer electronics applications such as large-screen devices, industrial gateways, vehicle infotainment and smart TVs.

The Smartphone Challenge: 2017

The challenge for device makers is to build slimmer devices with razor-thin bezels, higher screen resolutions and longer battery life. These design choices drive constant innovation in the size, performance and efficiency of device processing technology. The challenge intensifies with the proliferation of mobile VR, AR, 4K120 video, hi-fi quality audio and multiple cameras. Advanced technologies provide higher-bandwidth communications but also elevate the need for efficiency as tight mobile thermal budgets must be met.

Pervasive SoC Security and Efficiency

Security is a critical ingredient in today’s smartphones as devices often hold highly sensitive and valuable data. ARM TrustZone forms the secure foundation for billions of devices, providing a root of trust for ARM premium IP that enables heavy security across the SoC.

Delivering system-wide efficiency and performance is a key design priority as SoC complexity increases to meet new application demands. Optimized for the latest 10nm FinFET process technology, ARM premium IP blocks are designed to deliver across the board efficiency and performance gains, with ongoing enhancements to power management and system IP.

Mali-G71 and Cortex-A73 are fully compatible with ARM’s recently acquired Assertive Camera, Assertive Display and Spirit imaging technology which enhances the user experience for mobile VR/AR applications.

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