CHIP DESIGNER ARM has said that within 18 months its Mali GPU will be able to match the power of Sony's Playstation 3 or Microsoft's Xbox 360, but that Moore's Law was not the only way to achieve that.
ARM told The INQUIRER that it is already planning what its chips will be capable of in 2016 and in particular the graphics capabilities of its Mali GPU. Planning five years ahead is not all that surprising, as those who have seen roadmaps from AMD or Intel will agree, however ARM said that it needs to plan even further ahead, as the cadence of its designs appearing on devices is a further 18 to 24 months.
The message from ARM is achingly similar to that of AMD saying that it needed to take advantage of the CPU and the GPU in order to create the next generation user interfaces, gaming and tasks such as computational photography. ARM said that in order to make this happen it needs to "put huge amounts of computational power in the hands of developers".
In order to provide those "huge amounts of computational power", ARM said that it "can't throw hardware at it to solve the problem". When asked whether this means that ARM believes Moore's Law is not relevant any longer, ARM said that while it was still relevant there is also the need for other techniques in order to provide the computational power within the strict thermal design power requirements of embedded chips, such as aggressive power management.
ARM told The INQUIRER that "battery technology doesn't have that [Moore's Law] sort of growth" and that shrinking the process node does not necessarily solve the power problem. It said that a combination of technologies is needed, such as very aggressive power management and multiple GPUs that can power up as required.