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ARM introduces Mali-G51: a GPU for the VR era

With VR heating up, companies have been looking for ways to provide an affordable entry, but VR requires a very different GPU than gaming on a screen. Meet ARMs new GPU – the Mali-G51 – built specifically for VR.

A smaller brother of the G71, this is the second GPU to use the new Bifrost architecture built with Vulkan in mind. This one is more than just a G71 with fewer cores, in fact its the first to use a dual shader architecture.

Basically, traditional shaders process one pixel per clock cycle. Mali-G51s shaders can do two pixels per clock while using fewer resources (both in terms of energy and space on the chip) than two traditional shaders. Note that a Mali-G51 MP6 denotes three dual shader cores, not six cores.

To put this in simpler terms, a Mali-G51 will be 60% more energy efficient than a Mali-T830 while doing the same amount of work. It will have a 60% higher performance density, i.e. it needs fewer transistors, making chipsets smaller and cheaper.

ARM touts this as the smallest Vulkan GPU and will make VR accessible in 2018. Yep, VR is a fledgling and affordable devices are still some way out.

Interestingly, ARM talks about Virtual Spaces – not fully interactive VR environments, but instead spaces with static surroundings filled with interactive elements. This is aimed at business applications that are simpler than a full blown game with players rushing through huge levels.

ARM also unveiled a new video processor, the Mali-V61. It does both video capture and streaming and will be found in anything from drones to Smart TVs. It supports HEVC h.265 with HDR/10-bit and scales from one core (enough for 1080p @ 60fps) all the way up to eight cores (4K @ 120fps, it will be a while before we need that).

Source 1 | Via