ARM Unveils Mali-G71 GPU And Cortex-A73 Chip Aimed To Power VR Smartphones

By Victor Thomson , Jun 01, 2016 05:00 AM EDT

ARM has unveiled the Mali G71 CPU and the Cortex-A73 processor that could be used in the majority of 2017's virtual reality (VR)-ready smartphones.

According to Slash Gear, smartphones remain the fastest-growing device market today, despite a noted slowdown in shipment and sales. Smartphones have even come to outnumber PCs.

However, smartphones are not mere communication devices anymore. They have started venturing into indirectly related territory, such as virtual reality (VR).

In order to address the growing VR market niche, ARM Holdings has announced new chips, specifically the new Mali-G71 GPU and the new 10nm FinFET Cortex-A73 CPU. They naturally aim to address the processing needs of augmented and virtual reality applications.

According to V3, ARM claims that the ARM Cortex-A73 offers better efficiency and more performance. The processor has been designed with "smartphone intensive" uses in mind, including augmented reality (AR) and VR.

The same publication reports that John Ronco, senior VP of product marketing at ARM, said that there is no slowdown in customer demand for new features and in innovation. The goal of the company is "to redefine VR and AR experiences on Android."

The Cortex-A73 new processor is built using the 10nm FinFEt manufacturing process. Compared with the previous Cortex-A72, it offers 30 percent more power, according to ARM. Despite being the smallest premium ARMv8-A processor yet, the A73 also provides an increase of up to 30 percent in power efficiency. 

Another novelty from ARM is the new Mali-G71 GPU. This is the first graphics chip built on the ARM's proprietary Bifrost architecture, and it is the company's most scalable and highest-performing GPU offering to date.

The Mali-G71 is designed for next-generation content, such as VR and 4K displays. The graphics chip is optimized for AMD's low-overhead Vulkan API. Compared with that found in this year's top-end smartphones, the Mali-G71 boasts a 1.5X increase in graphics performance.

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