ARM completes their block updates with Egil video unit

Mali-Vsomething is now official

ARM logoThe one block missing from the latest ARM updates was the video unit so meet Egil. If you were waiting for the latest video encoder to complement Artemis/A73 and Bifrost/G71, SemiAccurate has news for you.

There are five main blocks in the ARM lego pool, A- CPUs, G- GPUs, DP- Display Processors, V- Video Processors, and CCx- Interconnects. Three of these have been recently updated and although there is a new DP650 Display Processor announced, we will only be looking at the new V- line called Egil. The basic layout looks like this.

ARM Egil video block and software stack

The rough layout and stack for Egil video

This time around the focus for Egil was more encoding than decoding, decoding is pretty much a solved problem at this point. Almost any high-end phone SoC can do 4K60 unless the implementation is totally botched, but that isn’t ARM’s fault. Going higher is quite possible but is there really a point in spending that silicon for something a user will never be able to output? Encoding on the other hand is a bit more problematic, especially when you consider higher end codecs like VP9 and H.265 which put the compute burden on encode, getting them to 4K60+ is a bit higher of a bar.

That said the decoders on Egil do add VP9 Profile 0 and VP9 10-bit Profile 2 hardware/firmware support to the mix. On the encode side the same two are added as well as HEVC Main 10 High Tier support. You might have noticed the common thread here, both encode and decode support 10-bit data widths. This means the cores also support 10-bit wide operations which should permeate every bit, pun intended, of the block itself. This is a massive area adder to the core so it’s inclusion should not be taken lightly. HDR is coming…

ARM Egil video scalability

How many Egils in a flock? Less than 9.

Mali V-Something aka Egil scales from 1-8 cores and runs at a claimed 800MHz on 16nm or 5-600MHz on 28nm. If you look at the numbers above you can see that on 16nm, 6 cores is about all you will need but 8 will save a bit of power if you are aiming your SoC at encode heavy workloads. In short Egil should be able to handle most video encode workloads for the foreseeable future, the next generation will be here long before 8K is commonplace.

Other than that Egil adds a few features like B-Frames on H.265 and the ability to encode and decode simultaneously at high resolutions. Teens must now be able to both stream 4K videos of their food and see the streams of their friends’ food, because, like, omahgawd! Everything else is beefed up, food pun not intended, and made more efficient as you would expect in a new architecture. Throw in the Alliance for Open Media’s codec support, if it ever becomes final, and you have a pretty interesting unit. Now you can watch footsport players sportsing while streaming high rez pictures of your food to the kids. Why would want to escapes us but with Egil, you can.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate