ARM Introduces New Graphics Processor with OpenCL Support

ARM's Mali-T604 Graphics Chip Ready for GPGPU

by Anton Shilov
11/10/2010 | 12:00 AM

ARM has introduced its new Mali-T60-series graphics processors for integration into ARM-based system-on-chip devices. The new graphics technologies support OpenGL ES, OpenGL VG as well as OpenCL application programming interfaces, thus, enabling general-purpose processing on graphics processing units (GPUs). In addition the new chips also support certain DirectX features.


Building on the heritage of Mali-400 MP, the Mali-T604 is ARM’s fourth-generation GPU and is the first member of a new family of GPUs based on the Midgard architecture which all use a common software driver. The Mali-T604 delivers up to 5x performance improvement over previous Mali graphics processors and is specifically designed to be compliant with GPGPU-based applications that use OpenCL. ARM's Mali-T604 can feature up to four stream processors and also features new techniques that reduce memory bandwidth consumption, by up to 30%.

“Visual computing is driving the next generation of consumer electronics, as consumers and developers demand the highest levels of graphics performance. The tri-pipe architecture in the Mali-T604 provides both market leading compute functionality and high-performance graphics without compromise, enabling unequalled user experiences in energy-efficient consumer electronic devices,” said Lance Howarth, EVP and general manager of media processing division of ARM.

The Mali-T604 fully exploits ARM’s cache coherent interconnect (CCI-400) to deliver a memory coherent system with the recently announced Cortex-A15 MPCore, which allows to quickly share data between CPU and GPU, thus, enabling highly-efficient heterogeneous multi-core platform.

At present there are no applications that can take advantage of GPGPU or OpenCL designed for devices powered by ARM processor technologies. The announcement of Mali-T60 as well as support for OpenCL by competing PowerVR graphics processors by Imagination Technologies clearly shows that even makers of small form-factor gadgets want to speed up their products with GPGPU technology. 

“Khronos congratulates ARM on the announcement of the Mali-T604 and its plan to support full profile OpenCL 1.1 on both ARMv7 CPUs and the GPU. The OpenCL 1.1 specification was announced by the Khronos organization in June 2010 and is a significant milestone in enabling GPU computing on embedded devices," said Neil Trevett, President of the Khronos Group and chairman of the OpenCL working group.

The Mali-T604 is currently available to license by lead partners. Samsung, who is already a licensee of the Mali graphic processor technology, will be the first ARM partner who can gain access to the Mali-T604.