ARM announced Mali GPU-G51 based on the architecture of Bifrost recently on science and technology magazines. It brings high-quality graphic to mid-range device. However, users will have to wait until 2018 to see the new arrival of the Mali-G51 on commercial products.
ARM has announced the specs of the GPU Bifrost platform this year with the information about the first GPU to use this architecture. It is Mali-G71. Since that time, we have been witnessing the emergence of this GPU on some SoCs as Kirin 960. Because Mali-G71 is towards the high-quality market. It creates space in the level middle segment, where some manufacturers desire to integrate a GPU-based on Bifrost platform and supports Vulkan API. To compensate, ARM officially launched Mali-G51 GPU today.
Before going into the details of the Mali-G51, let’s talk about Bifrost. Before Bifrost, mobile GPU of ARM has undergone two major architecture. The first is Utgard with the ability to support OpenGL ES 2.0 and be deployed on some GPU Mali-400 and Mali as-470. Later generation is Midgard which supplemented unified shader model and supported OpenGL ES 3.0. Some GPU uses typical Midgard architecture may include Mali-t604 on the Nexus 10, the Mali-T760 on Galaxy S6 or S7, Mali-T880 on Galaxy or Huawei Mate 8.
New Bifrost platform supports API Vulkan graphics library and additional ability to mount between CPU and GPU. Specifically, CPU and GPU can read and write the same part of memory, instead of having to copy the data from CPU to GPU and on the contrary like before. This significantly reduces latency, thereby improving processing speed.
While the G71 focuses on giving the best possible performance from the energy level are allowed, G51 tries to bring this in smallest chip area. Smaller, meaning that the manufacturer uses the Mali-G51 that will be able to minimize the cost of integrated GPU into the SoC, while their products will still bring in new technologies.
GPU uses Bifrost’s architecture has potentially supported up to 32 shader cores. However, Mali-G51 has a number of small changes. Typically, Mali GPU processors a pixel shader per core per clock cycle. But the G51 on the other hand, when it uses dual pixel shaders. This means that each shader can process two pixels simultaneously. This will help Mali-G51 save more area (due to less use of shadows), but performance will be affected slightly.
With the new arrangement, Mali-G51 may include three dual shaders, allowing handle 6 pixels per clock cycle. This GPU version will have name as Mali-G51MP6.
G51 had performance density increased 60% compare to the previously mid-range GPU is Mali-T830. It means that transistors needed Mali-G51 to achieve equivalent performance with Mali-T830 is just 60 %. In aggregate, the Mali-G51 is smaller than 30% compared to the Mali-T830, and this GPU supported Vulkan smallest size ever that ARM has ever produced.
Besides GPU, ARM also announced a new video processor. When it comes to SoC, we often think of the CPU and GPU and forget that inside it there are many other important components. One of which is the video processor. From watching videos on Youtube to filming, all undertaken by the department.