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ARM's Mali-T604 makes official debut: it's the SAMSUNG Exynos 5


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 14, 2010
Tel Aviv
ARM's Mali-T604 makes official debut, we get a first look at the next-gen GPU (hands-on video) (update: it's the Exynos 5)
Think those are some pretty slick graphics in your Galaxy S III? Samsung's latest smartphone packs some mighty graphics prowess of its own, thanks to the Mali-400 MP GPU, but once you spend a few minutes with the Mali-T604, the company's next-generation chipset, the improvements become quite clear. After seeing the Mali-T604 in action, as we did at SIGGRAPH today, the capabilities leave us hopeful for the future, and perhaps feeling a bit self-conscious about the silicon currently in our pockets. The reference device on hand was operating in sync with a variety of unnamed hardware, protected from view in a relatively large sealed box. We weren't able to squeeze many details out of ARM reps, who remained mum about the demo components, including clock speed, manufacturer and even fabrication size. What we do know is that we were looking at a quad-core Mali-T604 and dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor, with a fabrication size in the range of "28 to 40 nanometers" (confirming the exact size would reveal the manufacturer). Clock speed is also TBD, and the early silicon on demo at the show wasn't operating anywhere close to its top end.
In order to experience the T604, we took a look at three demos, including Timbuktu 2, which demonstrates elements like self shadowing and depth of field with OpenGL ES 3.0, Hauntheim, which gives us an early look at physics simulation and HDR lighting with OpenCL, and Enlighten, which rendered silky smooth real-time illumination. You can see all of the demos in action after the break, and you can expect T604-equipped devices to make their debut beginning later this year -- ARM says its working with eight manufacturers to get the licensed tech to market as early as Q3.
Update: ARM has just confirmed to us that this reference device is running off an Exynos 5 Dual chip (up to 1.7GHz), which means the following video is also a heads-up on what Sammy has in store for us in its forthcoming devices.


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 14, 2010
Tel Aviv
Samsung reveals cortex A15 Exynos 5 Dual (5250): what you need to know
Samsung has just released the whitepaper for their long-awaited Exynos 5250 SoC, now called the Exynos 5 Dual, and there’s a lot of interesting information to be discovered in it.
The Exynos 5 Dual will be the world’s first Cortex A15-based chip, when it will ship later this year, presumably inside the 11.8-inch tablet Samsung is going to launch later this year. Samsung had to wait for this A15-based chip to support the very high WQXGA (2560×1600) resolution of the Galaxy Tab 11.6.
Some of the most important features of the newly unveiled Exynos 5250 are:

  • Dual-core 1.7 Ghz Cortex A15 CPU
  • Mali T604 GPU
  • OpenGL ES 3.0
  • OpenCL 1.1 full profile
  • Support for WXQGA displays
  • Wi-Fi display support
  • 12.8 GB/s memory bandwidth with 2 port 800 Mhz LPDDR3 RAM support
  • 1080p 60 FPS video performance and VP8 codec decoder
  • USB 3.0 support
Let us take you through the most important features of the new Exynos 5 Dual.
Cortex A15

Cortex A15 is the next generation of ARM CPUs, arriving to replace the Cortex A9 design at the high-end of the scale. In a way, the Exynos 5250 will compete with Qualcomm’s S4 chip, based on the Krait design, which is a next-gen design as well, although with slightly less performance per clock than Cortex A15. This follows the same pattern of the first Snapdragon chips (S1, S2, S3), based on the Scorpion design, which also had slightly lower performance than Cortex A9.
Qualcomm’s advantage was that, in both cases, then and now, they came first to market with the new designs. But when the Cortex chips came out, they were able to match and exceed the performance of Qualcomm’s custom design chips.
It seems that history will repeat itself with the dual-core 1.7 Ghz Exynos 5 Dual arriving on the market and competing with Qualcomm’s dual core 1.7 Ghz S4 chips. Qualcomm will also have a quad-core 1.5 Ghz S4 Pro chip later this year, but it will be the same story as with the dual-core S4 vs the quad-core Tegra 3 chip comparison from earlier. I expect the Exynos 5 Dual to beat the quad core S4 Pro in performance for all single threaded apps, with the S4 Pro gaining a slight advantage in multi-threaded apps.
Mali T604 GPU

What’s nice about Exynos 5 Dual is that it doesn’t come just with a next-gen CPU, but also a next-gen GPU. This is a fortunate match, as they are both designed by ARM itself, so they benefit from higher integration, and also because ARM changes its GPU architecture only once every 5 years. So Mali T604 is the very first GPU design based on the new Midgard architecture, with unified shaders, OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenCL 1.1 full profile.
We’ve already discussed that the OpenGL ES 3.0 specification is meant to help developers create more visually impressive games on mobile devices, that should even surpass current-gen consoles soon. OpenCL, or the Open Compute Language, is meant to give developers a way to harness the power of the GPU to enhance what the CPU can do, while making the whole assembly more power efficient. It can be used for games, digital photography, and other things that can be done faster with parallel computing (usually graphics related).
WXQGA Displays and 12.8 GB/s Memory Bandwidth

To power a display with a 2560×1600 resolution, which is double (or four times the pixels) of what you see in Android tablets today (1280×800), you need not only a powerful GPU, but also high-memory bandwidth, so you can send all that high resolution data to the screen. Fortunately, the Exynos 5 Dual comes with support for 12.8 GB/s memory bandwidth, with two port 800 Mhz LPDDR3 RAM.
It takes a 1GB/s bandwidth to draw a 24-bit WQXGA screen at 60 FPS, but that’s just for the screen alone. Add the interface and all the icons, and the required bandwidth grows to 8GB/s. But that’s just the effective bandwidth, and when taking into account a memory utilization of 80%, you reach 10GB/s. Exynos 5 Dual has been designed with support for 12.8 GB/s memory bandwidth, specifically to support a 2560×1600 resolution.
Such high resolution displays also use a lot more power than lower-res displays. Manufacturers mitigate the increased power consumption with more efficient and more powerful GPUs, larger batteries, and more efficient displays. The Exynos 5 Dual supports a so-called PSR mode, which enables the display to use 20x less power when displaying a static image, like when reading an ebook or a web page, or viewing a picture. PSR mode should help significantly reduce the overall power consumption of the device.
1080p 60 FPS Video, Wifi Display and VP8 Decoding

The 1080p 60 FPS video might not be very useful, unless you want to record super smooth videos, but it’s great for displaying stereoscopic 3D graphics. Exynos 5 Dual is the first chip in the market to support full HD 60 FPS video decoding/encoding, and, if you have some 3D glasses laying around, you can use HDMI to stream the video from your phone to the TV, and watch the videos in 3D.
Exynos 5 Dual also supports Wi-Fi Display technology, which means you can stream the videos and everything else inside your phone, wirelessly to your TV. Wifi Display requires a lot of memory bandwidth, as it has to decode and encode the full HD videos at the same time. But Exynos 5 Dual is able to do that, all while providing a minimum of 30 FPS experience.
Google’s VP8 codec is also supported by Exynos 5 Dual, and I think we’re going to see a lot more upcoming chips supporting hardware acceleration for VP8. One of the main arguments of the H.264 video codec over VP8 was that H.264 was already hardware accelerated by many devices on the market, while VP8 wasn’t. I think Google is trying to change that, and finally bring us widely used royalty-free and open source video codecs. Exynos 5 Dual is the first step in that direction, being able to decode full HD video at 60 FPS using the VP8 codec.
USB 3.0 Support

It looks like Exynos 5 Dual is bringing us another first in the mobile world — USB 3.0 support, a standard that can reach 5Gbps transfers, ten times faster than USB 2.0. With all the new laptops coming out these days supporting USB 3.0 and SATA 3 drives, mobile devices were beginning to become the bottleneck when it came to transferring files from and to the PC. USB 3.0 support will help you transfer files in seconds rather than minutes.
Exynos 5 Dual’s USB 3.0 port can operate as either Host or Device, so besides being able to transfer files to your PC, users will also be able to connect peripherals to the device, like keyboards, controllers, external storage, LTE modems. The support for USB host will give Exynos 5 Dual devices a high amount of flexibility.

The Exynos 5 Dual is the chip you should look for in upcoming tablets and smartphones, as it should have the most powerful CPU and GPU of any new chips coming out by the end of the year, including the S4 Pro and OMAP 5. Next year, we can begin talking about the quad-core Tegra 4 and the Exynos 5 Quad, but, until then, Exynos 5 Dual should reign supreme in the mobile market in terms of performance and features.


macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
Middle Earth
Interested in seeing the Mali T-604 compared to the PowerVR Rogue 6000 series GPU.

As excited as I am about the Cortex A15 I'm most excited about the nextgen GPU stuff coming.


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 14, 2010
Tel Aviv
About PowerVR 6 Series (ROGUE)

magination's PowerVR Series 6 “Rogue” GPUs Released To Licensing, G6200 & G6400 First Out The Door

With the emphasis on smartphones and tablets at this year’s CES, it should come as no surprise that the various SoC IP developers are focusing their announcements around the show, and Imagination Technologies is among them. In 2011 Imagination announced their next generation of SoC PowerVR GPUs, the Series 6 family, based on the PowerVR Rogue architecture. Now just under a year later Imagination has announced that they’ve officially released their first GPU designs to licensing for inclusion into SoCs.
Shedding more light on feature support for the first time, Imagination has announced that the baseline graphics feature set for Series 6 will include support for OpenGL ES “Halti”, the current working name for ES 3.0, itself derived from OpenGL 3.x. In terms of DirectX generations, this would make Series 6 a DirectX 10 part, analogous to the GeForce 8/9/200 series, the Radeon 2000-4000 series, and Intel’s HD2000/3000 iGPUs. Interestingly enough Imagination will also be offering designs that are DirectX 11.1/OpenGL 4.x compliant, which would bring them to parity with the very latest GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA.
Meanwhile on the compute side OpenCL will also be supported, and while Imagination doesn’t list the specific version we believe they will be conformant up to version 1.1. Microsoft’s DirectCompute is not specifically mentioned, however at a minimum the DX11.1 parts would need to support it.
Unfortunately at this time Imagination is still playing their cards close to their chest, so while we know what APIs Series 6 supports, we don’t know much about the configuration of the first two GPUs: G6200 and G6400. G6200 features two “compute clusters”, while G6400 features four of them, though beyond shader blocks we don’t know what a compute cluster entails.

PowerVR Series 5XT Architecture Diagram
Most likely Imagination is configuring their GPUs in a method similar to the SGX543 series, where a fixed frontend is coupled with a specific number of shader blocks and ROPs, along with several fixed function DSPs. The biggest question perhaps is whether Series 6’s geometry performance will once again be fixed; SGX543 only scaled the number of USSE2 pipelines, so while Imagination could grow the number of pixels they could deal with geometry performance was solely a function of a given GPU’s clockspeed.
Long term Imagination is planning to have designs that offer up to 1 TFLOP of shader performance, which would be nearly 10 times the theoretical shader performance of the SGX543MP16. The initial G6200 and G6400 will be much more conservative, though we don’t have specific performance estimates for them yet.
Finally, as Imagination is an IP vendor, there isn’t any kind of timeline on availability as this is up to their customers. The only SoC announced to use Series 6 so far is ST-Ericsson’s Nova A9600, which is not scheduled to arrive until sometime in 2013. Given the fabrication ramp-up schedule for most SoCs, any Series 6 equipped SoC is still a year out if not more; in the meantime there are still a number of ARM A15 + SGX543/544 scheduled for later this year. And for larger, more capable GPUs such as the SGX545 the release gap has been closer to 2 years, so DirectX 11.1 SoCs in particular are almost certainly 2014 products assuming Imagination gets a DX11.1 GPU design out this year.
We’ll have much more on Series 6 later this year as further designs are announced and Imagination publishes more details about the underpinnings of their PowerVR Rogue architecture, so stay tuned.
Mobile SoC GPU Comparison PowerVR Series 5XT PowerVR Series 6 Adreno 2xx Adreno 3xx Mali-400 Mali-6xx Kal-El GeForce DirectX 9_3 10/11.1* 9_3 >9_3? N/A 11 9_3 OpenGL ES 2 3 2 3 2 2/3? 2 OpenCL 1.1 1.1? N/A 1.1 N/A 1.1 N/A Availability Now 2013? Now H2 2012 Now H2 2012 Now

Imagination Technology Adds the G6230 & G6430 to the PowerVR Series 6 Rogue Family

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In 2011 Imagination announced their next generation of SoC PowerVR GPUs, the Series 6 family, based on the PowerVR Rogue architecture. In Taipei today, they announced two new additions to this family, the G6230 & G6430 which are the bigger brothers of the G6200 & G6400 which were announced at the beginning of this year. The Series 6 is based on cluster architecture unlike the Series 5 before it.
Imagination Technology released a diagram of how design on the Series 6 Rogue Family since it is a departure from their previous generation.

The two new G6230 & G6430 are scalable from mobile devices to smartTV, but we should expect to see higher end IPs in the future that will be scaled down to mobile rather than mobile up to smartTV.
We are told to expect the new line up to offer 20 times the performance.

Also announced was the move to offer 10bit color, it is a much needed technology advancement because we’ve been on 8bit since the MPEG1 format emerged. As OLED display’s become more common on more and more devices there will be more products available to take advantage of it. Another current technology that will be keen for the boost is Wireless Display since color degradation is an issue. Imagination Technology’s increased focus on video and 10 bit color ensure that their licensees will be first movers allowing them to be early adopters. This isn’t a statement to be taken lightly since Imagination Technology can take credit for the graphics on Apple’s mobile line up.
Imagination Technology focus on video represents the potential they feel exists in the ecosystem. Not only to aid growth in mobile streaming and downloading but in HD video standards like HEVP & 4k displays. With their new Meta processors they wanted to emphasis that there they we should also keep an eye on connected and smartTVs.
We will be sure to keep an eye on these processors to see what types of products they’ll end up in over the next few months.
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