Arm Releases Android / Linux Vulkan User Space Drivers for Mali GPUs (HiKey 960, Firefly-RK3288 Boards)

A little while ago, I wrote about Imagination’s PowerVR CLDNN Neural Network SDK and Image for Acer Chromebook R13, and some people looks into the Arch Linux Arm image and were pleasantly surprised to find Vulkan drivers, as it was the first Arm platform support Vulkan in Linux. It looks like there are now more Arm hardware supporting Vulkan drivers in Linux, as Arm has released binary user-space components for GNU/Linux and Android for development platforms featuring the Arm Mali Midgard GPU family, and – provided the GPU can handle it – supporting the following APIs: OpenGL ES 1.1 / 2.0 / 3.0 / 3.1 / 3.2, OpenCL 1.1 / 1.2 / 2.0, Vulkan 1.0, and RenderScript. Mali-G71 GPU is supported by Android 8.0 and Linux (fbdev) ARM64 drivers for Hikey 960 board, and Mali-T760 should be supported by Linux drivers (fbdev / wayland / X11) for Firefly-RK3288 board. Hikey […]

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa Core Kryo 385 SoC to Power Premium Smartphones, XR Headsets, Windows Laptops

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor was expected since May 2017 with four custom Cortex A75 cores, four Cortex A53 cores, Adreno 630 GPU, and X20 LTE modem. with the launch planned for Q1 2018. At least, that what the leaks said. Qualcomm has now formally launched Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform and rumors were mostly right, as the the octa-core processor comes with four Kryo 385 Gold cores (custom Cortex A75), four Kryo 385 Silver cores (custom Cortex A55) leveraging DynamIQ technology, an Adreno 630 “Visual Processing System”, and Snapdragon X20 modem supporting LTE Cat18/13. The processor is said to use more advanced artificial intelligence (AI) allowing what the company calls “extended reality (XR)” applications, and will soon be found in flagship smartphones, XR headsets, mobile PCs, and more. Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (SDM845) specifications: Processor 4x Kryo 385 Gold performance cores @ up to 2.80 GHz (custom ARM Cortex A75 cores) 4x […]

Allwinner SoCs with Mali GPU Get Mainline Linux OpenGL ES Support

OpenGL ES support in Linux for ARM SoC is usually pretty hard to get because of closed source binary blobs coupled with the manufacturers focus on Android. Workarounds include open driver projects such as Freedreno for Qualcomm Adreno GPU, Nouveau for Tegra, or Etnaviv for Vivante GPUs, as well as libhybris library that converts Linux calls into Android calls in order to leverage existing Android GPU binary blobs. Allwinner processors relies on either PoverVR or ARM Mali GPU, and the former does not have any open source project, while some work is still being going for the latter with Lima project, but it’s not ready yet. That means so far, you’re only option was to use libhybris for either GPU family. The good news is that Free Electrons engineers have been working on OpenGL ES support for ARM Mali GPU for Allwinner processor, and have been allowed to release the […]

ARM Introduces Bifrost Mali-G51 GPU, and Mali-V61 4K H.265 & VP9 Video Processing Unit

Back in May of this year, ARM unveiled Mali-G71 GPU for premium devices, and the first GPU of the company based on Bifrost architecture. The company has now introduced the second Bifrost GPU with Mali-G51 targeting augmented & virtual reality and higher resolution screens to be found in mainstream devices in 2018, as well as Mali-V61 VPU with 4K H.265 & VP9 video decode and encode capabilities, previously unknown under the codename “Egil“. Mali-G51 GPU ARM Mali-G51 will be 60% more energy efficiency, and have 60% more performance density compared to Mali-T830 GPU, making the new GPU the most efficient ARM GPU to date. It will also be 30% smaller, and support 1080p to 4K displays. Under the hood, Mali-G51 include an updated Bifrost’s low level instruction set, a dual-pixel shader core per GPU core to deliver twice the texel and pixel rates, features the latest ARM Frame Buffer Compression […]

This Video Shows Vulkan API’s Higher Power Efficiency Compared to OpenGL ES API on ARM SoCs

Vulkan was introduced as the successor of OpenGL ES in March 2015, promising to take less CPU resources, and support multiple command buffers that can be created in parallel and distributed over several cores, at the cost of slightly more complex application programming since less software work in done inside the GPU drivers themselves with app developers needing to handle memory allocation and thread management. This was just a standard at the time, so it still needed some time to implement Vulkan, and work is still in program but ARM showcased the power efficiency of Vulkan over OpenGL ES in the video embedded at the end of this post. The demo has the same graphics details and performance using both OpenGL ES and Vulkan, but since the load on the CPU in that demo can be distributed over several CPU cores with Vulkan against a single core for OpenGL ES, […]

Open Source Operating Systems News – Maru OS, Zephyr, ReactOS, Tizen 3.0, and Raspbian

There have been several news related to open source operating systems in the last couple of weeks including Maru OS to run Debian on Android, Zephyr Project real-time OS managed by the Linux Foundation, ReactOS an open source port of Windows XP, and Raspberry Pi boards are getting a Tizen 3.0 port, as well as a new Raspbian release. Maru OS – Mobile <-> Desktop  Convergence Maru OS mobile operating system is supposed to do what Ubuntu convergence promised: it runs in mobile mode on the go with Android Lollipop mobile OS, once you connect the phone to an HDMI screen, and pair Bluetooth keyboard and/or mouse, it will switch to desktop mode running Debian Linux. The downside is that so far it a single developer (Preetam D’Souza) worked on it, and the beta version only works on Nexus 5 smartphone. However, since the project went viral, dozen of other […]

PowerVR GT7200 Plus and GT7400 Plus GPUs Support OpenCL 2.0, Better Computer Vision Features

Imagination Technologies introduced PowerVR Series7XT GPU family with up to 512 cores at the end of 2014, and at CES 2016, they’ve announced Series7XT Plus family with GT7200 Plus and GT7400 Plus GPUs, with many of the same features of Series7XT family, plus the addition of OpenCL 2.0 API support, and improvements for computer vision with a new Image Processing Data Master, and support for 8-bit and 16-bit integer data paths, instead of just 32-bit in the previous generation, for example leading to up to 4 times more performance for applications, e.g. deep learning, leveraging OpenVX computer vision API. GT7200 Plus GPU features 64 ALU cores in two clusters, and GT7400 Plus 128 ALU cores in a quad-cluster configuration. Beside OpenCL2.0, and improvements for computer vision, they still support OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan, hardware virtualization, advanced security, and more. The company has also made some microarchitectural enhancements to improve performance […]

Google Plans Vulkan API Support for Android, Imagination Shows a Demo

Vulkan graphics API is the successors to OpenGL and OpenGL ES API, which will support multi-threaded rendering, move some of the complexity to the applications, and simplify graphics drivers, which may not be a bad things since these tend to be closed source, and bugs may be hard to get fixed. Google, which is now a subsidiary of a new company called Alphabet,  has recently announced that Vulkan will be implemented in future versions of Android, although OpenGL ES will still be supported, so developers can select their preferred graphics API for their apps, as Vulkan will be more complex for application programmers than OpenGL ES. Separately, Imagination technologies showcased their Vulkan driver for PowerVR Rogue GPU on the Nexus Player powered by an Intel SoC including a PowerVR G6430 GPU, and compare the Vulkan demo to the same demo using OpenGL ES 3.0 drivers. The difference between Vulkan and OpenGL […]