While earlier Mali GPUs were optimized for 1600p60 resolutions, ARM had to create a whole new display architecture that would push the envelope and address future mobile graphics requirements, like the support for up to 4K 90fps resolutions driven by virtual-reality, quad-scaling and more layers for Android 7.0 Nougat and future Android OS releases as well as support for new UHD content like HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and Dolby Vision, and that is where the Mali-Cetus comes in.
ARM has made a significant shift in the design by separating the Cetus DPU into five different units, rameBuffer Compression (AFBC) Unit, the Global Control Unit, the Layer Processing Unit, the Composition Unit, and the Display Output Unit, each meant to handle a specific task.
According to details provided by ARM, the new Mali-Cetus architecture will be first of all focused on bringing better support fro multi-window sessions in Android 7.0 Nougat and further Google Android OS releases. This is done by adding an optimized HWC Solver, support for eight composition layers on a single display or four layers per display on dual-display devices, simultaneous layer and pixel alpha blending for better window animations and fully-flexible and software programmable Z order.
What makes the Mali-Cetus quite interesting, in addition to the whole new focus on higher-resolution devices, is the fact that this is the first HRD-capable architecture from ARM, using ARM's Assertive Display (AD) components which can be seamlessly integrated with Cetus by using a coprocessor interface.
We won't see ARM's new Mali-Cetus architecture in any SoC's soon but it is nice to see in which direction is ARM moving when it comes to display architecture, focusing on both mobile devices as well as VR headsets and 4K HDR-enabled TVs.