ARM claims Mali will match Xbox 360/Playstation 3 within 18 months

ARM has come out and stated that its Mali GPU will be able to match the power of the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 within 18 months. They said that Moore's Law was not the only way to achieve this kind of leap in processing power, according to The Inquirer. There is little doubt that this will eventually happen, but in less than 18 months? We have heard this song from ARM before. A quick Google search pulls up results from Slashgear and the Bright Side of News. There is probably more to be found, if one does further searching.

It is not a stretch, however, to say that ARM could turn out a design that packs as much power as the current-gen consoles. In 2010, Microsoft showed off its System on a Chip (SoC) for the Xbox 360. That SoC had a 45 nanometer die, while ARM could easily turn out a chip with a 28 nanometer die. What will make things interesting in the sector is Nvidia. Their current chip is the Tegra 2. The big wait is for the upcoming Kal-El chip that is due in the second half of this year. The race for mobile graphics will really heat up at that point. One has to wonder if ARM can maintain its lead in the mobile graphics sector.

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Do not discount Imagination Technologies PowerVR 6 technology in the mobile market. Sony have already signed their quad core parts for NGP and I believe their Rogue chipset will trounce Kal-El.

Not much of a claim in my view, my ps3 is 6 years old.. New hardware should do as good if not better without question.. I am aware however this is a much smaller but of hardware so spec wise for something like this is lower.. But still its not something I would use as a selling point.. YAY our new hardware is as good as something made 6 years ago... Is it just me?

windows95isg8 said,
Not much of a claim in my view, my ps3 is 6 years old.. New hardware should do as good if not better without question.. I am aware however this is a much smaller but of hardware so spec wise for something like this is lower.. But still its not something I would use as a selling point.. YAY our new hardware is as good as something made 6 years ago... Is it just me?

It's just you. This is truly saying a lot for a phone!

Does the amount of power really matter that much? Game budgets are likely more an obstacle than tech for many companies (especially smaller ones). It doesn't matter if a new SOC has 100x the power if developers can't afford to make the game and the publisher doesn't think they'll make their money back. And I know I don't want to pay more for games than I am now!

Possible and probable...

Consider this:

The XBox 360 introduced the entire gaming and GPU industry to a new architecture.

It was a bigger jump than anyone anticipated, as it was not just fast, but a new concept and GPU design, specifically created by Microsoft. (Although even AMD wasn't confident in the Unified Shader architecture at first, and continued with their next PC GPU based on the older non-unified shader technologies.)

Microsoft brought out the XENOs in early 2005, which made Sony scramble, as it was far beyond what they were doing with their PS3 design, and they went to NVidia and secured the RSX (an under clocked Geforce 7900) they strapped on to the Cell CPU in the PS3.

What makes this kind of sad, is the PS3 shipped in 2006 and back in 2005, notebooks were shipping with faster GPUs than the PS3 was going to have almost a year later.

Which is kind of a big 'ouch' for Sony, but also a reflection of how far behind the PS3 GPU was.

This also demonstrates why 6 years later, we should see a PS3 level GPU (but based on lighter, faster XBox 360 GPU technology) should be possible to be efficient and fit in a phone/tablet easily..

If we look now at current GPUs in netbooks and notebooks, they are already faster GPUs than the PS3.

Even the Intel GMA HD series GPUs are almost 2x faster than the PS3 GPU, as are the NVidia and ATI GPU/APUs in the Tablet and Netbook class systems, and they are very efficient and if you cut their performance in half, they could possibly be thrown in a phone/tablet today, and faster thant he PS3 at the very least.

Being faster than the XENOs is a bit harder, but not much. Many are using the unified shader model already, and if Intel's cheap chipset based GPU solutions can get close to 2x the PS3, it is not hard to believe that in 18mos we should see even more than what ARM is predicting.

Another example of where we are...

The current generation of WP7 devices (when running WP7 as the OS specifically) is faster than the Original XBox, so it makes sense.

I don't know if this is a great step forward for mobile gaming, or a great kick in the ass for console maker's to hurry up and bring out the next generation of hardware.

Nihilus said,
I don't know if this is a great step forward for mobile gaming, or a great kick in the ass for console maker's to hurry up and bring out the next generation of hardware.

Problem is cost. PC gamers are already a different breed of people and are more likely to spend large sums of money on adequate hardware. Console makers have to consider all the casual gamers who just want to buy a game, stick in the disc tray and have it run, and aren't always worried about what resolution the game is running at. Those people, which make up a very large portion of console gamers, are not going to shell out a month's paycheck for a game console just because Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo decided to try and match current PC hardware capabilities in a console.

CoMMo said,
Those people, which make up a very large portion of console gamers, are not going to shell out a month's paycheck for a game console just because Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo decided to try and match current PC hardware capabilities in a console.

I know, but I sincerely hope they're at least considering bringing out some new hardware within a year or two. Unfortunately it looks like it's going to be at least two years, if not three or four, until something new arrives.

IMHO the insanely long product life of consoles is genuinely hurting gaming, new features like fully destructible environments just aren't going to become commonplace whilst the majority of games are being designed to run on six year old hardware.

As it is it's somewhat pointless buying high end PC hardware, most games that I know of can be run on the highest settings with a GTX 280.

Reacon said,

Not really. The Xbox 360 has been around for 5-6 years now.

And yet it has the more advanced GPU between the two consoles. (reference PSX, XENOS)