Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Thanks to ARM, your next phone may have hardware-based ray tracing


ARM has been providing GPUs to smartphones for years, and today the company has announced its most ambitious piece of hardware yet: the ray tracing supporting Immortalis-G715. Ray tracing, a technology that allows gaming hardware to render realistic-looking reflections, was at the center of the marketing for the newest generation of gaming consoles in 2020. Now when playing a game using a phone with an Immortalis GPU, the visuals will attempt to mimic those found on high-end gaming PCs, the PlayStation 5, and the Xbox Series X.

The new flagship GPU will be available exclusively on Android smartphones and tablets, putting them even further ahead of the rest of the competition when it comes to making immersive gaming experiences on mobile. The big thing to note here is that the Immortalis is ARM’s first GPU to offer ray tracing on a hardware level. The Mali-G710 GPU from 2021 also supported ray tracing, but only via software. Pushing ray tracing via hardware should make it more reliable and impressive than ARM’s previous attempt.


According to ARM, the Immortalis-G715 should perform 15% better than the previous generation of the company’s hardware thanks to the 10 or more cores working under the hood. While that’s a tantalizing promise, ray tracing is infamous for requiring an enormous amount of graphics processing.

In addition to the Immortalis-G715, ARM also announced updates to its premium line of Mali GPUs. The Mali-G715 is the newest addition to the line and, although it doesn’t support ray tracing like the Immortalis, it’s still a formidable GPU for mobile gaming. The Mali-G715 runs on seven to nine cores and supports variable rate shading — a technology that reduces the power required to render high-detail in-game assets. The end result is an overall faster, smoother gaming experience.

And ARM isn’t only focusing on GPUs this year. The company is also pushing new CPUs for better performance. The ARM Cortex-X3, ARM Cortex-A715, and the refreshed version of the ARM Cortex-A510 are all focusing on new ways to provide more efficient performance when compared to ARM’s previous models. As the second generation of ARM CPUs, fans can expect the new hardware to improve in plenty of areas, such as energy efficiency and performance uplift.

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