For smartphone manufacturers the world over, there are few things as important as being able to deliver a quality experience for everything, and these days that includes virtual reality and gaming. For years now, the firm that's responsible for developing the CPU designs that power our smartphones have also been developing their own GPU designs as well. Branded under the Mali name, these are GPUs that are often used in more budget-friendly devices, but since the Galaxy S6 and Samsung's Exynos 7420, the industry has looked at the Mali GPU a little differently. Today, ARM is announcing the new Mali-G71 with a whole new architecture, delivering much better performance as well as excellent performance for virtual reality on smartphones.
There's a huge laundry list of what's changed in the new Mali-G71, but the headlining change is to a new architecture called "Bifrost", the first time since 2013 that ARM has introduced a new architecture since 2013. This new architecture will obviously include much better performance for everyday 2D and 3D tasks, but it's also going to be a big deal for the world of virtual reality on mobile as well. With full support for the new Vulkan API, ARM is confident that SoCs with the new Mali-G71 included will be able to push 120fps at resolutions up to 4K. With up to 32 shader cores and a 20% improvement in terms of bandwidth, the Mali-G71 should be a much more immediate experience overall and deliver the next-generation of mobile graphics to devices next year.
Paired with the new Cortex-A73, which will be shipping in devices H2 2017, ARM believe that smartphones will be able to deliver a much smoother VR experience that also has high quality graphics to deliver, too. Devices with the new Mali-G71 should be 1.5x faster than devices from 2016, and while devices with a Snapdragon CPU will no doubt still utilize Qualcomm's own Adreno GPU design, smartphones from the likes of Huawei and Samsung stand to get a big shot in the arm where gaming and VR is concerned. The same can also be said of devices powered by MediaTek CPUs, as the Chinese manufacturer has also jumped onboard.