Although the first generation Mali T600’s have yet to ship ARM has gone ahead and announced the second generation, the Mali-T624 and Mali-T628 were designed for smartphones and smart-TV’s while the Mali-T678 was concocted with tablets in mind.
These days GPU manufacturers have to choose between offering pure graphics processing power and having it designed with processing in mind. Instead of trying to compromise and do both with one product, which would result in a product that makes neither side happy, ARM has decided to build a two lane road to the future. In one lane you have GPUs designed specifically for graphics and in the other you have products that try to do a mix of graphics and computing.
The T624 can scale from one to four cores, the T628 can do one to eight, and the press release did not state how many cores the T678 had but stated that it offered 4x power over the T624. Besides the cores, the second generation of GPU’s brings what they claim to be 50% increase in efficiency stemming from “a combination of frequency improvements, such as optimizing the register transfer level (RTL) for increased performance, and micro-architectural improvements so that graphics are executed more efficiently.” On top of this they have a new texture compression technology called Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression or ASTC which takes up about 2% of the chip. On mobile GPUs one of the main performance bottlenecks and a big battery drinker is having to access data in main memory so having compressed textures that still retain quality is very important. Sadly developers have to choose between compression technology that doesn’t have much flexibility and could do better with quality so ARM engineers developed their own algorithm that addresses both. The best part is they plan to share it and put it into industry graphics standards, benefiting everyone!
Hopefully we will be seeing these out in the wild soon.