by Anton Shilov
03/22/2010 | 03:20 PM
Microprocessors with ARM architecture already powers the vast majority of mobile phones, but its Mali graphics processing cores are hardly as popular. But ARM expects its Mali graphics technology to become much more powerful and one day find itself inside video game consoles.
“There isn't any reason why ARM's Mali shouldn't be in a gaming console at some point. Something like that would definitely be a good ambition for us to have in terms of hardware scalable up to those levels. Really, it is all about scalability for ARM. Of course, we wouldn't leave existing markets, but the goal would be successfully scale across multiple and diverse spaces simultaneously" said Ian Smythe, a spokesman for ARM, in an interview with TG Daily web-site.
By present Samsung Electronics has switched to Mali architecture for their mobile consumer devices, but, for example, companies like Apple and Intel use cores from PowerVR inside some of their chips.
In fact, there are just a handful of companies nowadays that have high-performance graphics cores, those are ATI/AMD, Imagination Technologies and Nvidia Corp. It will be rather tough for ARM to really compete against those three companies, but for the sake of truth it should be said that ATI does not really compete in the ultra-mobile space. Considering the fact that the importance of mobile graphics accelerators will only grow, the market of ultra mobile graphics cores will represent tremendous opportunities for ARM in general.
“This translates to quite a nice royalty for the company, but the console market probably wouldn't have the same return on investment for us,” added Mr. Smythe.
But to address the market of game consoles is rather tough: ARM will have to make the forthcoming Mali cores not only much more popular than they are today, but also to ensure that they continue to have excellent power efficiency.