ARM Announces the Mali-D71 and Assertive Display 5 for Better VR Performance and HDR Content
ARM’s processors and GPUs are well-known to the Android world. Most Android phones use ARM’s CPU cores (the latest being the ARM Cortex-A73), and ARM’s Mali-GPUs are found in Samsung, HiSilicon, and MediaTek’s SoCs. The Exynos 8895, for example, has the Mali-G71MP20 GPU. However, ARM doesn’t just make mobile processors and GPUs.
Today, the British company, acquired by Softbank in 2016, has announced a new display solution with the Komeda architecture. To be specific, ARM has announced the Mali-D71 display processor, which is paired with the CoreLink MMU-600 and Assertive Display 5 – ARM’s outdoor visibility display technology. The Mali-D71 and the Assertive Display 5 are intended for a better HDR experience as well as improved VR performance.
The Mali-D71 can handle window composition for up to 8 layers. It’s optimized for 4K 120fps operations, which will be useful for VR. ARM stated that, combined with CoreLink MMU-600, the display processor is smaller and faster. It is said to provide 30% power savings, 2x area efficiency, 4x latency tolerance, and 2x pixel throughput.
The Assertive Display 5 is the headline announcement, though. The background is that mobile devices are just starting to roll out HDR displays, with the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7, the Galaxy S8/S8+, the LG G6, the LG V30, and the Galaxy Note 8 having the ability to display HDR content. The iPhone X is the first phone to actually support HDR end-to-end out of the box.
The problem here is that HDR displays clearly aren’t widespread even among flagship smartphones, and it will take years to bring them to the level of mid-range and budget smartphones. Even though HDR promises substantial improvements in image quality for a more lifelike experience when watching media content, most users aren’t going to see its benefits anytime soon.
Knowing this, ARM has promised that Assertive Display 5 can produce HDR content even on an SDR display. This will be a huge development, because it means that manufacturers won’t have to use expensive and hard-to-source HDR displays to enable users to view HDR content. It supports the HDR10 and HLG (hybrid-log gamma) standards for HDR. It also supports HDR to HDR mapping, which compensates for HDR’s vulnerability to ambient light conditions.
Some other features of Assertive Display 5 are:
- According to ARM, it preserves HDR experience even at reduced backlight – especially for handset devices and notebooks – offering significant power saving in HDR viewing.
- It utilizes iridix8 HDR, an “advanced and high-precision local tone-mapping engine to achieve a superb HDR experience, even on an SDR panel.”
- Assertive Display 5, integrated with Mali D71, supports the handling of both HDR and SDR windows within the same composition scene, allowing multiple windows to be scaled simultaneously.
- Assertive Display 5 utilizes “a novel, compact and silicon-friendly hardware implementation of 3D LUT (three-dimensional look-up tables) to perform advanced gamut and color mapping, preserving subtle gradations of color and maintaining the integrity of the viewing experience.
According to ARM, Assertive Display 5 achieves advanced features of HDR management and power-saving at a small die size and simple RGB interface, which should make it easy to integrate and utilize.