ARM Launches New Mali-T600 GPUs For Smartphones, Tablets

The new Mali-T624, Mali-T628 and Mali-T678 processors are said by the U.K.-based chip licensor to offer a 50 percent boost in performance compared to its first-generation Mali-T600 series. They are also the first-ever chips to be based on ARM’s Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) technology, a compression technique said to increase a device’s battery life and enable the always-on, always-connected experience consumers expect from most mobile devices today.

ARM said its new Mali-T624 and Mali-T628 GPUs are optimized for use in smartphones and smart TVs, while the Mali-T678 was specifically designed for tablets.

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"People expect higher standards of visual computing on their smartphones, tablets and smart-TVs with seamless access to their digital world and personal content," said Pete Hutton, general manager of ARM’s media processing division, in a statement. "GPU compute enables this as it increases the range of functions mobile devices can perform within the available battery life. ARM continues to focus on system-wide optimization by integrating market leading CPU and GPU technologies to drive both high performance and energy-efficiency."

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OEMs including Fujitsu and Samsung have already said they plan to adopt the new Mali GPUs.

ARM currently licenses its chip technologies for use in over 95 percent of the world's smartphones, rising to its industry-leading position primarily because of its traditional Cortex CPUs. But, the company said it will continue to invest in GPUs like the Mali T-600s series, as well, because they allow mobiles devices to more quickly and smoothly handle graphics- and compute-heavy tasks.

Photo editing and video stabilization, for instance, can be handled with greater ease on a smartphone or tablet when a GPU is able to take on some of the processing workload and conserve power for the traditional CPU.

ARM's architectures are licensed today by a range of chip-makers, including Qualcomm, Samsung and Texas Instruments, and will power a new generation of mobile devices running on Microsoft's upcoming Windows RT operating system. ARM does, however, face new competition from rival chip giant Intel, which is taking aim at the mobile market with its new x86-based Atom "Medfield" processor.