ARM Introduces Mali-D71 Advanced Display Processor

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 11:04 PM |
Tagged: MMU-600, Mali-G72, Mali-D71, Mali GPU, mali, Chi, Assertive Display 5, arm, AMBA

Not much can stand in the way of progress. This is particularly true in the mobile market. The competition is so fierce that we have seen yearly refreshes that push the feature and quality levels to new heights. Several years back we saw Apple release their high DPI displays and the rest of the industry followed. We have seen Android and iOS add new software features and capabilities into their products that have pushed the limits of the CPU and GPUs of these phones.  Now we are entering a new era with AR and VR capabilities in phones and it is only pushing the performance envelope of these handheld devices that may consume only a couple of watts at full power.

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One area that has needed an upgrade for a while is in the display capabilities cooked into the latest ARM processors. The needs of upcoming phones to display 4K resolutions at 120 Hz for high end devices that can also support VR capabilities are great. Previously units have been limited to 4K/30 or in higher end phones 4K/60 capabilities. With VR being a push in mobile as well as other features that require high resolution displays and high refresh rates, it was imperative for ARM to update their technology on this front.

Previously known as “Cetus”, ARM is introducing the three different functional units that comprise their latest display technology.  The Mali-D71 is based on the new Komeda display architecture and it can handle the aforementioned 4K resolution at 120 Hz. The second portion is the MMU-600 which is a memory management unit which is tightly coupled with the D-71 to provide high bandwidth and low latency memory accesses to achieve that 4K/120 spec.  Finally the Assertive Display 5 unit helps the D-71 provide HDR support across a wide range of specifications.

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The new display processor is highly associated with the latest Mali GPU cores, but with enough work a 3rd party licensee could adapt it to another GPU architecture. This is obviously not the most efficient way of using this technology as it is regarded as a turnkey solution for the Mali GPU products. ARM has developed the software stack for both Andriod and Linux, and if needed it can develop Windows based drivers to fully leverage the features of this latest product. It is easily attached to 3rd party panel interfaces.

The D-71 is somewhat unique in that it adds a tremendous amount of features and speed, but is highly area efficient as compared to previous products. It takes up about half the size of the previous DP-650 unit, but because of the overall design and specialized hardware support in D-71 it features twice the pixel throughput at about 70% of the power consumption. This is an excellent example of inspired design overcoming previous generation limitations.

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MMU-600 is a lynchpin in the operation as it provides advanced memory management which improves bandwidth and lowers latency dramatically as compared to the previous unit. It is tightly designed with the D71 and is highly optimized to work with the latest AMBA/CHI interconnect and Mali-G series of GPUs.

The final piece of this release is the Assertive Display 5 functionality. This provides extensive HDR support with a wide variety of panels. It is highly programmable and can provide HDR-like performance even to SDR displays. It has native HDR 10 and HLG support as well as converting HDR content to SDR. It implements blue light filtering in hardware as well as compensation for ambient light using the device sensors. ARM tries to ensure the best possible picture from the screen no matter the conditions.

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The latest ARM display solution overcomes many of the limitations of the previous unit as well as adds a few new wrinkles with Assertive Display 5. It can provide top end VR and HDR experiences, as long as the GPU portion of the device can keep up with the needs of the software. ARM has removed a pretty significant hurdle to providing a rich visual experience with handheld devices.


Source: ARM

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October 31, 2017 | 11:21 PM - Posted by just a guy (not verified)

someone please explain to me, how i need a 300watt video card to do 4k at 120hz on desktop, yet a 10w phone can do it.

November 1, 2017 | 02:03 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Well, what I described here is the potential throughput of the display processor... not the GPU. A half watt GPU is not going to get you to framerates and complexities of a 300 watt GPU. So, a cellphone GPU can give you those kind of frame rates in super simple scenes and video playback, but put something in there like the latest Ghost Recon or Hellblade and the cellphone GPU is pushing 1 to 2 fps.

November 1, 2017 | 12:23 PM - Posted by ReallyYouNeedToReadMoreAndPlayLess (not verified)

This ARM display processer(with some post processing/security/other functionality added) is just a screen controller that is fed output from the GPU and not a GPU. So the GPU is doing all the polygon/vetices calculations, tessilation claculations, the shading calculations, texture mapping calculations, GPU raster output/other and that takes a lot more processing power. You need 300W(not really that high) on a desktop GPU because it's using FP 32 and has a much higer raster/ROP fill rate and texture/TMU fill rate while mobile GPUs are using FP 16 and have relatively lower ROP/TMU counts. Mobile GPUs take every short cut in the book just to meet power budget, where desktop GPUs can not afford shortcuts that could show up easily on those large displays.

Also have you looked at the mesh models(lower polygon counts) and texture packs(lower resolution) used for mobile games. Every thing is culled back to the lowest resolution possible for mobile tablet/phone usage. Not so for the desktop games. At lot of accuracy is lost at FP16 but not enough to be noticed on those small screens even though they are still high resolution just look at the pixel density on a high end phones/tablets Pixels Per Inch(PPI) and compare that to a 32 inch monitor.

Who would have thunk it, mobile devices need display processors just like monitors need dsiplay processors driving their output, it's just with mobile this IP is included on the SOC or the POP module.

And PCPer, and some other websites lately, you are getting lazy in not pointing to the actual ARM website sub-link to the actual related technology. Your readers should not have to have to dig down through the Arm Holdings' main web page down into the webistes' levels to get to the proper entry on the D71.

November 1, 2017 | 08:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous999925925 (not verified)

why not SDR to HDR ?
why not 10/12 bit ?

November 1, 2017 | 02:55 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

SDR to HDR probably would introduce some nasty artifacts.  Not sure if realtime processing of that magnitude can be done anywhere near accurately at a fraction of a watt.

I believe the display unit does at least support 10 bit color.  12 bit might be out of the usage scenarios for mobile parts.

November 1, 2017 | 11:26 AM - Posted by zasilacz (not verified)

I'll keep this in mind if I decide to build a smartphone in the near future.

November 1, 2017 | 02:53 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Ha! I get the apathy, but it still is amazing to me what all goes on in modern SOCs. Understanding some of the basic underpinings of mobile tech makes it that much more interesting for me (and hopefully others).

November 2, 2017 | 12:34 PM - Posted by Lily Oliver (not verified)

Well, what I described here is the potential throughput of the display processor... not the GPU. A half watt GPU is not going to get you to framerates and complexities of a 300 watt GPU. So, a cellphone GPU can give you those kind of frame rates in super simple scenes and video playback, but put something in there like the latest Ghost Recon or Hellblade and the cellphone GPU is pushing 1 to 2 fps.

Lily Oliver | happy wheels

February 6, 2018 | 11:26 AM - Posted by sleeky

Hi Josh, thanks for sharing. Hopefully the MALI D71 processor lives up to the hype.

Thelma | Ring light mirror

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