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ARM says GPGPUs could lower overall chip costs

GPU offload can replace other hardware
Thu Mar 28 2013, 14:15
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SAN FRANCISCO: CHIP DESIGNER ARM has said that chip vendors could cut down on costs by offloading processing to the GPU.

ARM has been pushing its Mali GPU architecture both as a graphics engine and as a GPGPU accelerator through its support of OpenCL. The firm told The INQUIRER that not only could chip vendors see improved performance by offloading onto the GPU but they could also cut costs by moving tasks from dedicated silicon to the GPU.

Ian Smythe, director of marketing at ARM told The INQUIRER that firms could move tasks such as image stabilisation over to the GPU, which is already on the system on chip (SoC), and cut back on other parts of the chip.

Smythe said, "You might be able to save some cost somewhere in the SoC by cutting out a bit of hardware that you had and run it on the GPU instead. So cost reduction and an improved capability. So maybe they will cut out some of the ISP and they will do it on the GPU because the silicon is already there, it's power efficient, it's a quicker way of doing [it], you get a cost reduction, performance goes up."

Aside from lower cost chips, Smythe's comments suggest that chip vendors and in particular vendors such as Samsung, which also develops software for its Android smartphones, will make use of GPGPUs as a way of cutting bill of materials costs and reducing chip complexity.

Smythe added that GPGPU computing doesn't have a single 'killer application' but rather could be applied to use cases such as computational photography, as seen in the HTC One and gaming. However given Smythe's comments, perhaps the real killer application for hardware vendors will come from lower material costs. µ


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