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 960 and Firefly-RK3288 drivers don’t have specific files about Vulkan, …

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Vulkan 1.1 and SPIR-V 1.3 Specifications Released

The Khronos Group released Vulkan 1.0 specifications in 2015 as a successor of OpenGL ES, compatible with OpenGL ES 3.1 or greater capable GPU, and taking less CPU resources thank to – for instance – better use of multi-core processors with support for multiple command buffers that can be created in parallel. A year later, we saw Vulkan efficiency in a demo, since then most vendors have implemented a Vulkan driver for their compatible hardware across multiple operating systems, including Imagination Technologies which recently released Vulkan drivers for Linux. The Khronos Group has now released Vulkan 1.1 and the associated SPIR-V 1.3 language specifications. New functionalities in Vulkan 1.1: Protected Content – Restrict access or copying from resources used for rendering and display, secure playback and display of protected multimedia content Subgroup Operations – Efficient mechanisms that enable parallel shader invocations to communicate, wide variety of parallel computation models supported Some Vulkan 1.0 extensions are now part of Vulkan 1.1 …

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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 Kryo 385 Silver efficiency cores @ up to 1.80 GHz …

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Imagination PowerVR “Furian” Series8XT GT8525 GPU Targets High-end Smartphones, Virtual Reality and Automotive Products

Imagination Technologies has unveiled their first GPU based on PowerVR Furian architecture with Series8XT GT8525 GPU equipped with two clusters and designed for SoCs going to into products such as high-end smartphones and tablets, mid-range dedicated VR and AR devices, and mid- to high-end automotive infotainment and ADAS systems. The Furian architecture is said to allow for improvements in performance density, GPU efficiency, and system efficiency, features a new 32-wide ALU cluster design, and can be manufactured using sub-14nm (e.g. 7nm process once available). PowerVR GT8525 GPU supports compute APIs such as OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan 1.0 and OpenVX 1.1. Compared to the previous Series7XT GPU family, Series8XT GT8525 GPU delivers 80% higher fps in Trex benchmark, an extra 50% fps in GFXbench Manhattan benchmark, 50% higher fps in Antutu, doubles the fillrate throughput for GUI, and increases GFLOPs for compute applications by over 50%. GT8525 GPU is available for licensing now, and has already been delivered to lead customers. More …

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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 (AFBC) 1.2, and supports Vulkan, OpenGL ES 3.2, and OpenCL …

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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, it’s possible to use low power cores (e.g. Cortex A53) …

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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 and reduce power consumption: Support for the latest bus interface …

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ARM TechCon 2015 Schedule – IoT, Servers, 64-bit ARM, Power Usage Optimization, and More

The ARM Technology Conference (ARM TechCon) will take place on November 10 – 12, 2015, in Santa Clara Convention Center, and just like every year, there will be a free exposition for companies to showcase their latest innovation and/or products, as well as a technical conference with sessions and workshops sorted into various tracks: Automotive/Embedded Vision Embedded IoT Mobile/Connectivity Networking Infrastructure/Servers Tools & Implementation Wearables/Sensors ARM Training Day Sponsored Vendor Training Special Event General Event Software Developers Workshop You can find the complete schedule on ARM TechCon website. Although I won’t attend, I’ve created my own virtual schedule with some of the sessions I found interesting. Tuesday – November 10 8:30 – 9:20 – ARM Vision for Thermal Management and Energy Aware Scheduling on Linux by Ian Rickards (ARM), Charles Garcia-Tobin (ARM), Bobby Batacharia (ARM) This talk will cover the history and where are we going, for ARM’s Power Software (IPA, EAS, and some concepts for the future). ARM will detail …

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