Arm unveils Mali-D77 show processor geared toward VR head-mounted shows


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Arm has introduced its next-generation show processor, the Mali D77 — previously codenamed Mira. Like the prevailing Mali D71, the D77 is constructed on the Komeda structure. The show processor’s primary job is to help the GPU when dealing with complicated workloads — together with HDR and digital/augmented actuality content material, for instance. In addition to higher efficiency, a DPU can ship important energy financial savings, resulting in longer battery life for cell units.

Arm’s show processors, together with the AD5 (Assertive Show) co-processor that primarily enhances exterior viewability by dynamically adjusting display screen brightness based mostly on enter from an ambient gentle sensor, are utilized in a wide range of machine sorts, starting from PCs and tablets to VR head-mounted shows (HMDs).


The brand new Mali-D77 is geared toward premium smartphones possible for use in VR holsters (reminiscent of Google’s DayDream), and at VR head-mounted shows.

Picture: Arm

The first focus for the Mali-D77 is VR HMDs — be they holsters for premium smartphones, wired or wi-fi companion units, or standalone merchandise.


Picture: Arm

As much as 4 stereo VR layers could be composed by the Mali-D77, which is optimised for 3K decision at 120 frames per second (fps), or 4K at 90fps. This could eradicate the movement illness that has bedevilled earlier VR merchandise; the brand new design also needs to enable machine producers to create smaller, lighter and extra comfy untethered VR headsets, Arm says.


Picture: Arm

Mali-D77 enhancements

Three new features, all utilized in a single move by reminiscence, have been added to the Mali-D77 to allow VR acceleration: Asynchronous TimeWarp (ATW); Lens Distortion Correction (LDC); and Chromatic Aberration Correction (CAC).


Picture: Arm

Time-warping includes the reprojection of VR content material to account for the consumer’s head actions. “When the consumer is interacting with VR content material with a head-mounted show on, what tends to occur is, they’ll transfer their head round, and so the content material they’re taking a look at is rotating, getting translated, getting transposed — and all of this must occur in actual time,” defined Kushan Vyas, Arm’s technical lead for the Mali-D77. “However the precise content material, which was generated both by the graphics processor or by the video decoder, is rendered like a rectangle within the exterior reminiscence. Taking that rectangle and processing it in actual time — that is the method of reprojection, and that is what the Mali-D77 does.”

In terms of distortion from the lenses in VR headsets, the Mali-D77 ‘predistorts’ the inverse impact based mostly on the traits of the lenses — barrel distortion to compensate for pincushion distortion, for instance. “With the Mali-D77, the lens properties are software-configurable, which permits it for use with a variety of head-mounted units,” mentioned Vyas.

The Mali-D77 corrects for chromatic aberration in lenses utilizing the identical precept because it does for geometric distortion — by making use of the reverse of the defect. Once more, the aberration will fluctuate between lenses, which the D77 can deal with in software program.


The Mali-D77’s advances over the previous-generation Mali-D71 are lens correction (distortion and chromatic aberration) and asynchronous timewarp (yellow packing containers, above).

Picture: Arm

When there isn’t any DPU and VR processing happens on the GPU, it sometimes takes between 10 and 20 % of the cycles away from the GPU, mentioned Vyas, together with an additional learn/write move by exterior reminiscence. The result’s greater perceived latency by the consumer, and decrease pixel decision and body fee.

With DPU-based VR processing, decision and body fee could be maintained, whereas delivering financial savings of greater than 180mW per VR layer and over 40 % of DRAM bandwidth, Vyas mentioned.


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