Virtual Reality (VR) has been a focus area for ARM® in recent years with significant investment made in ensuring the ARM Mali™ range of graphics and multimedia processors is a great fit for mobile VR devices now and in the future.
We’re pleased to have been working with Google to ensure our range of Mali GPUs, Video and Display processors are able to deliver the ultimate mobile VR experience on Daydream. In addition, ARM has been working closely with a number of our leading silicon partners, enabling them to ship their first wave of Daydream ready devices.
Google’s announcement of high performance mobile VR support through Daydream, combined with our broad ecosystem of partners using the no.1 shipping GPU, is making VR accessible to hundreds of millions of consumers across the globe.
We’ve released a series of blogs over the past few months on the various VR technologies and activities which make Mali products a great fit.
VR places increasing performance demands on the systems we’re seeing today. Not only are we rendering for two different eyes, but we are also required to render at higher framerates and screen resolutions to produce a quality experience. Mali GPUs with their performance scalability and continual emphasis on energy efficiency ensure we are well positioned to address these ever increasing requirements.
Mali GPUs also offer additional features that benefit VR use-cases. ARM Frame Buffer Compression (AFBC) is a system bandwidth reduction technology and is supported across all of our multimedia IP. AFBC is able to reduce memory bandwidth (and associated power) by up to 50% across a range of content. This and other system wide technologies further enable efficient use-cases such as VR video playback. A number of other features including tile based rendering and other bandwidth saving technologies such as ASTC ensure we’re able to meet the high resolution and framerate requirements of VR. Mali GPUs also support 16x MSAA for best quality anti-aliasing. This is essential for a high quality user experience in VR as the proximity of our eyes to the images and the fact that we are viewing them in stereo means that any artefacts are much more noticeable than in traditional applications.
On the software side, a large amount of driver and optimization work has gone into our Mali DDK in order to reduce latency and ensure fast context switching required for VR. In addition to optimizations, we’ve enabled a number of extensions to OpenGL ES to support efficient rendering to multiple views for both stereo and foveated rendering.
VR is an incredibly exciting use-case for ARM and is an area in which we intend to continually invest and innovate to make the VR experience on mobile even more awesome. We’re proud to be in close collaboration with Google on Daydream and look forward to the opportunities this opens up for the industry.