ARM Introduces New High-Performance Mali-T658 Graphics Core

ARM’s New GPU Quadruples Compute Performance over Previous-Gen Solution

by Anton Shilov
11/10/2011 | 01:29 PM

ARM, a leading developer of low-power microprocessors and graphics cores, on Thursday introduced its new graphics processing core that quadruples compute performance over the previous generation solution. The new Mali-T658 graphics core will be able to improve graphics performance by ten times over existing products and thus rival such system-on-chips (SoCs) as Nvidia Corp.’s Tegra 2 or 3.


“Next generation consumer devices based on the Mali-T658 GPU will address the growing user expectation for slick user interfaces and desktop-class graphics. Intuitive user interfaces will mean that consumers can access the full functionality of their connected devices, for richer user experiences. This includes HD gaming and new compute-intensive applications, such as augmented reality,” said Pete Hutton, general manager of media processing division at ARM.

ARM Mali-T658 is based on Midgard architecture and sports up to eight shader cores with doubled number of arithmetic pipelines within each of these cores as well as 32KB of L2 per core. The new graphics processor fully supports OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0; OpenVG 1.1; OpenCL 1.1; DirectX 11 as well as Google Renderscript applications programming interfaces. The Mali-T658 uses AMBA 4 ACE-Lite interface.

ARM Mali-T658 GPU delivers up to ten times the graphics performance of the Mali-400 MP GPU, found in a wide range of today’s mainstream consumer products. It also features four times the GPU compute performance of the Mali-T604 GPU, enabling a raft of new use-cases outside of traditional graphics processing, including computational photography, image-processing and augmented reality.

The Mali-T658 has been designed to work seamlessly with the ARM Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 processors either in standalone modes or in big.Little processing mode. The new Mali graphics engine is compatible with the ARMv8 architecture. The autonomous nature of the Mali Job Manager, and its ability to carry on graphics processing with a reduced load on the CPU, means it is very well suited to work alongside a big.Little heterogeneous CPU system. By using the right processor for the right task the Mali-T658 is able to handle GPU compute tasks in parallel with the CPU handling the always-on always-connected tasks. The Mali-T658 GPU takes advantage of ARM CoreLink cache coherent interconnect (CCI-400) technology, enabling faster and more efficient sharing of data with other processors in the system.

“Following the recent introduction of big.LITTLE processing and the ARMv8 architecture, the launch of Mali-T658 is another example of how ARM is seeking to redefine heterogeneous computing for the embedded space. This will provide high-performance graphics and compute systems for low-power applications,” said Jon Peddie, president of specialist graphics research consultancy Jon Peddie Research.

Supported by lead ARM Partners, such as Fujitsu Semiconductor, LG Electronics, Nufront and Samsung, the Mali-T658 GPU enables an immersive visual computing experience on a range of ‘always on, always connected’ consumer devices. These include high-performance, energy-sensitive superphones, smartphones and tablets, as well as smart-TVs and automotive infotainment solutions.