ARM launches new extremely energy-efficient 4K-capable graphics chip for smart TVs, smartphones and tablets

by on January 24, 2016

Stephan Jukic – January 24, 2016

Chipmaker ARM has launched a new type of Mali-based graphics processor which can run 4K UHD displays and their video at lower power settings.

Given the amount of performance it normally takes for any processing system on a chip to run 4K resolution and its several million pixels, this new development from ARM is rather interesting indeed and could quickly pave the way for some much more efficient new types of 4K display technologies and rendering specs.

Currently, 4K displays in TVs amount to nearly 20% of all televisions sold on the market and even existing ARM chips, which are present in many displays, are also already known for their power efficiency. Thus, the new, even more efficient and powerful processor could have a lot to offer the industry.

Called the ARM Mali-DP650, the new chip is taking on rival chipsets from companies like Imagination Technology, which manufactures MIPS-based chipsets such as those found in many TVs and consumer display devices. ARM, which is based out of Cambridge, England has for its part said that their new 4K chipset can handle ultra HD resolutions at a solid and smooth 60 frames per second but is also capable of variable refresh rates for the sake of maximal power efficiency.

new 4K smartphones similar to Sony's Xperia Z5 4K phone could use the new Mali chip

new 4K smartphones similar to Sony’s Xperia Z5 4K phone could use the new Mali chip

Furthermore, ARM has explained that the new processor will be targeted at not only newly arriving 4K smart TVs but also at new generations of mobile devices with UHD displays and 4K video recording capacities. These new types of phones offer assorted above-HD display resolutions and at least one or two are expected to hit the market in 2016 with 4K Ultra HD display resolution at 3840 x 260 pixels, though it is not yet known if any such planned phones will definitely use the new ARM DP650 chipset.

According to Mark Dickinson, general manager, media processing group, ARM, “The Mali-DP650 processor will enable mobile screens with multiple composition layers, for graphics and video, at Full HD resolutions and beyond while maintaining excellent picture quality an d extending battery life.”

The new Mali-DP650 is designed to support a flexible range of display resolutions and is most particularly optimized for 2.5K content resolution formats which include WQXGA at 2560 x 1600 pixels in tablets and WQHD content display in mobile phones at 2560 x 1440 pixels. A large additional part of the chips potential uses comes from a need for solutions that facilitate easier 4K UHD content streaming from mobile devices to larger displays like 4K TVs.

Dickinson also explained that, “Smartphones and tablets are increasingly becoming content passports, allowing people to securely download content once and carry it to view on whichever screen is more suitable. The ability to stream the best quality content from a mobile device to any screen is an important capability ARM Mali display technology delivers.”

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