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Arm Gets Assertive With 4K Displays

November 21, 2017

Author: Mike Demler

To address growing demand for 4K content, Arm has developed a new display-processing subsystem comprising the Mali-D71 DPU, the fifth-generation Assertive Display (AD-5) coprocessor, and a specialized version of its CoreLink memory-management unit (MMU-600). The new DPU can output 120fps to a single 4K display. It also supports 60fps to dual displays, along with side-by-side modes for virtual-reality headsets.

The AD-5 enables picture in picture as well as mixing of high- and standard-dynamic-range (HDR and SDR) regions of interest. It uses a proprietary tone-mapping engine, which algorithmically increases contrast and detail by analyzing image features and making adjustments pixel by pixel. The AD-5 further improves picture quality by dynamically adjusting display brightness on the basis of input from a device’s ambient-light sensor. The backlight control also saves power by enabling content-dependent adjustments.

All Mali-D71 customers receive a script that automatically generates a display-optimized version of the CoreLink MMU-600. Whereas designers can use the full SoC-level model to manage the virtual-memory interface to CPUs, GPUs, and other processing cores, the company developed the reduced version for direct integration with the D71’s memory subsystem. According to its measurements, the tight integration decreases memory latency by 50% and takes 55% less die area than its previous display solution, which employs separate CoreLink MMU-500 and Mali-DP650 DPU components. The new MMU also enables the digital-rights-management (DRM) features in the latest version of TrustZone Media Protection (TZMP). All of the components in the Komeda display-processor platform are available for licensing now.

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