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ARM unveils graphics chip design with up to 16 cores

ARM licensees such as LG Electronics will likely be shipping graphics chips in the coming years based on a new Mali-T760 design.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Samsung designs its Exynos chips with ARM's Mali graphics.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Samsung designs its Exynos chips with ARM's Mali graphics. CNET

ARM, which designs processors for smartphones and tablets, has disclosed a new graphics chip design with many more processor cores than in the current generation.

A future Mali-T760 graphics processing unit (GPU) -- due in products in the coming years -- will have up to 16 processor cores, ARM said Tuesday in a statement.

By comparison, the iPhone 5S' A7 chip boasts four GPU cores. The A7 chip is based on a design from Imagination Technologies, an ARM competitor.

In addition to offering up to 16 cores, ARM said the Mali-T760 chips will see an increase in both performance per processing unit -- referred to as a "shader" -- and overall performance. Energy efficiency will be boosted by about 400 percent from the current generation of Mali chips, the company said.

There are 85 Mali licensees to date. About 152 million Mali GPUs shipped in 2012, and about 300 million units shipped so far in 2013.

Lead licensees for the new ARM Mali GPUs include MediaTek, Rockchip, and LG Electronics, ARM said.