ARM and Samsung have just signed a long-term graphics technology agreement, meaning that Samsung has licensed ARM’s latest and greatest graphics technology to power future devices, with the promise of even more impressive and immersive visual experiences. The license covers ARM’s latest Mali graphics processing units, including the Mali-T820, T830, T860, the high-end T880, and future Mali GPUs as well.
Samsung has long been using ARM’s GPU technology alongside its licensed CPU designs to help build its own range of mobile SoCs. The company’s latest Exynos 7420 chip makes use of a high-end ARM Mali-T760 MP8 GPU design and this latest licensing deal means that future Samsung SoCs will continue to make use of ARM graphics parts.
ARM’s high-end Mali-T880, which was unveiled back in February, promises up to 1.8 times the peak performance of the current generation Mali-T760, while also offering a 40 percent reduction in energy consumption for the same workloads as existing products. ARM’s T860, T830 and T820 were unveiled last October and will likely find a home in products looking for GPUs offering a balance of power consumption and performance or the smallest possible silicon area size.
The scope of the deal suggest that Samsung will be making use of the latest generation of Mali GPUs in a range of different SoCs for its wide selection of different mobile products and target markets. From budget to high-end smartphones as well as tablets. Samsung had been rumored to be developing and planning to use an in-house GPU design at some point this year, but that now seems unlikely.
“The visual quality is a critical part of high-end mobile devices. The highly scalable and energy-efficient ARM Mali family gives us the flexibility we need to address a broad range of devices,” – Jae Cheol Son, Samsung Electronics.
For ARM, the deal will help secure the Mali range’s prevalence in the mobile market and as the most widely licenced GPU IP in the world. ARM’s silicon partners shipped in excess of 550 million Mali-enabled SoCs throughout 2014. Alongside Samsung, a number of mobile SoC developers, including MediaTek, HiSilicon and even Intel’s Atom X3, have licensed ARM’s graphics technology for use in their chip ranges, .
No details regarding products or any release dates have been given out at this time. However, it is likely that we will see this long-term agreement have an impact on Samsung’s next and following generations of mobile SoCs designed for its future smartphones and tablets.