1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

ARM Mali-T604 Arrives, But With What Kind Of Driver?

Free Software

Published on 11 November 2010 09:31 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
12 Comments

ARM yesterday introduced the Mali-T604 graphics processor that is a major step-up from their current-generation Mali graphics. The Mali-T604 is not only compatible with OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 and OpenVG 1.1, but it also brings OpenCL 1.1/1.2 support to this embedded graphics processor for GPGPU computing. Additionally, the Mali-T604 is said to deliver up to five times the performance of current Mali graphics processors and is scalable up to four cores, but what kind of Linux driver(s) will it bring?

There's still quite some time before we will see the ARM Mali-T604 graphics processor in any device paired with an ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, but the information we have received indicates that the driver situation won't be radically different from current Mali offerings. Like is the case right now, there should be the open-source X.Org (DDX) driver with EXA/DRI2 support. However, for a working 3D driver stack, you will need the updated Mali DDK that is provided to just the Mali GPU customers along with their closed-source MaliDRM.

It would be nice if the situation would improve where there was an open-source 3D driver (ideally based upon the Gallium3D architecture) with an open-source DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) module with aims towards mainline Linux kernel integration, but it doesn't look like we will see that for the Mali-T604 or at least not immediately. This is pretty much the same situation across the embedded graphics world where the Linux graphics drivers are largely dependent upon binary blobs for all but basic 2D/X.Org support.

In July there was an open-source 2D/3D kernel driver by Qualcomm for their Snapdragon, but that unfortunately didn't move anywhere but it did cause a dirty mess due to the lack of an open-source user-space driver (more details on the situation). Intel also has their GMA 500 Poulsbo / GMA 600 Moorestown graphics IP licensed from Imagination Technology based upon the PowerVR SGX core, and we all know what a mess that is.

The ARM Mali-T604 looks like an especially nice graphics processor for the embedded world, but unless things magically change before the hardware starts shipping, there isn't expected to be a fully open-source Linux driver stack. Those interested in reading more about the technical features of the Mali-T604, hit up the ARM product page.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Intel Xeon E5-1680 v3 & E5-2687W v3 Compared To The Core i7 5960X On Linux
  2. Intel 120GB 530 Series SSD Linux Performance
  3. Btrfs/EXT4/XFS/F2FS RAID 0/1/5/6/10 Linux Benchmarks On Four SSDs
  4. AMD's Windows Catalyst Driver Remains Largely Faster Than Linux Drivers
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Mesa Git Yields Performance Improvements For Newer AMD GPUs
  2. Apple OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 Performance
  3. Mesa 10.5-devel Brings Some Intel Haswell HD Graphics Changes Over Mesa 10.3
  4. NVIDIA vs. Nouveau Drivers With Linux 3.18 + Mesa 10.4-devel
Latest Linux News
  1. IMP Launches As Another Open-Source Computer Attempt
  2. Git 2.2.0 Released With 550+ Changes
  3. GNOME 3.15.2 Released
  4. Quantum OS Aims For A Linux Desktop With QML, Wayland & Material Design
  5. New Open-Source, Linux Benchmarks To Feast On
  6. FreeBSD Plans For The Next Ten Years
  7. Qt 5.4 Planned For Release On 9 December
  8. Meizu's Ubuntu Phone Not Expected Until Early Next Year
  9. DragonFlyBSD 4.0 Drops i386 Support, Improves Graphics
  10. Expensive "Free/Libre Software Laptop" Uses A NVIDIA GPU
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  2. Hurrican SDL Port
  3. Roadmap to Catalyst 14.10 ?
  4. how to configure module phoromatic ?
  5. PulseAudio 6.0 Is Coming & Other Linux Audio Plans For The Future
  6. Debian Developer Resigns From The Systemd Maintainership Team
  7. Cant get working Kaveri APU - A10-7850k
  8. Script for Fan Speed Control