ARM multimedia cores engineered for 4K

October 31, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
ARM Ltd. (Cambridge, England) has introduced a video codec core and a graphics core into its Mali range; the Mali-V61 and the Mali-G51, respectively.

The V61 is a multi-standard video processor that supports VP9 encode while the Vulkan API enabled Mali-G51 extends the Bifrost graphics architecture and both are designed to better handle 4K and immersive video and hybrid graphics.

The cores have been licensed to multiple customers with production of SoCs including the cores expected in 2017 and the first equipment including those SoCs expected in 2018.

The Mali-V61 offers 50 percent bit rate saving over previous generation codecs and contains up to 8 cores providing scalability from 1080p at 60 frames per second up to 4K at 120 frames per second. This is assuming a 28HPM process and 600MHz clock frequency. VP9 encode is expected to be a requirement in Android and Google apps, said ARM, going on to claim that the Mali-V61 VPU is the only multi-standard codec featuring HEVC and VP9 encode in a single scalable IP block.

The Mali-G51 follows on from the first Bifrost GPU, the G71 launched at the beginning of 2016, but provides a number of enhancements to improve performance. These include a dual-pixel shader core, redesigned texturing units, improved framebuffer compression and changes to the Bifrost instruction set architecture. Mali-G51 is ARM’s smallest and most efficient Vulkan-enabled GPU for screen resolutions up to 4K. The processor delivers up to 60 percent more performance per square millimeter and is up to 60 percent more energy-efficient than its non-Bifrost predecessor, the Mali-T830 GPU.

The two cores have also been engineered to work well together as part of a Mali multimedia suite and alongside Cortex-A processors. For example both the Mali-V61 and Mali-G51 support version 1.2, of the ARM Frame Buffer Compression (AFBC) standard, to deliver increased bandwidth savings, and ARM TrustZone technology to enable a secure foundation for consumer products.

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