Graphics processor units for multimedia apps

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Edited by the Electronicstalk editorial team Feb 14, 2007

ARM has announced availability of two ARM Mali graphics processor units (GPUs) for mobile multimedia applications at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

ARM has announced availability of two ARM Mali graphics processor units (GPUs) for mobile multimedia applications at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The ARM Mali200 processor delivers 3D graphics for next-generation mobile games on smart phones and other high-end portable devices.

With a particularly small footprint, the ARM Mali55 processor brings rich 3D graphics capabilities to low-cost phones.

Both graphics processors have a novel rendering architecture that scales from the smallest of displays right up to HDTV resolution, while minimising memory bandwidth and conserving battery life.

"Mobile multimedia phones today rival the personal computers of ten years ago", says Ian Drew, Vice President, Segment Marketing, ARM.

"Now, console-quality 3D graphics are transforming the mobile handset into a compelling gaming platform, and recent innovations are redefining the very way we interact with the UI".

"With the integration of the Mali processors into the ARM portfolio, we can now offer comprehensive 2D and 3D graphics solutions for a wide range of handsets, from low-cost phones to high-end mobile multimedia devices, and accelerate time-to-market".

According to Juniper Research, total worldwide revenues in the mobile gaming market are expected to approach $17.6 billion by 2011, producing a cumulative revenue stream of nearly $57 billion over the next six years.

This growth is fuelled by the popularity of both casual gaming and hardcore gaming across all ages of consumers, as more compelling content is becoming available on mobile handsets across the board.

Enhanced 2D and 3D graphics are opening new opportunities for game developers and publishers not only to port console titles to mobile platforms, but also create "designed for mobile" and networked multiplayer games that take advantage of the most advanced smartphone features.

The ARM Mali200 processor delivers 2D and 3D graphics with 4x and 16x full scene anti-aliasing to "smooth" otherwise jagged lines.

In addition, the Mali200 processor supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering, which uses floating-point values to represent a huge range of naturally occurring light values, resulting in more life-like, striking images.

Content developers can also take advantage of OpenGL ES 2.0 support for fully programmable shaders, which provide them with a high level of control over the rendering pipeline to create PC- and console-quality effects on VGA and higher resolutions at more than 30frame/s.

As with all ARM Mali processors, the Mali200 graphics processor minimises memory bandwidth and power consumption using a technology that combines tile-based rendering with traditional immediate-mode rendering techniques to minimise total gate count, area and cost.

The ARM Mali55 graphics processor brings visually enhanced mobile games and user interfaces to the mass market by enabling graphics acceleration for low-cost feature phones.

Measuring in at under 1.4square mm on a 90nm generic process, the Mali55 processor is the smallest GPU in its class and an attractive option for mobile phones where area comes at a premium.

With full scene anti-aliasing up to 16x, the Mali55 processor can transform a QVGA screen to resemble a high-cost VGA system for UI and gaming.

The Mali55 processor is fully compliant with both OpenGL ES v1.1 and OpenVG, further lowering integration costs for ARM silicon Partners.

The ARM Mali200 and Mali55 processors are supported by ARM's existing embedded software solutions for Java-based 3D graphics, including ARM Swerve Client software.

Built on the M3G 1.1 (JSR-184) standard, a higher level API defined with over the air (OTA) delivery in mind, Swerve Client software ships today in phones from Siemens, Motorola, Samsung and LG Electronics.

By combining Swerve Client software with a dedicated Mali processor, OEMs can offer games developers a high-end platform for outstanding visual clarity in 3D gaming, while maintaining compatibility with existing games catalogues.

The ARM Mali200 and Mali55 graphics processors will be featured in the ARM booth at 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona (Booth 1C01, Hall 1) and are available for licensing immediately.

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