Mali GPU Architectures

Tile-based rendering

All Mali GPU architectures are based on the principle of tile-based rendering, a technique designed to improve system-wide energy efficiency by minimizing the external DDR memory bandwidth needed for framebuffer access. The key principles of the Mali GPU tile-based rendering approach are:

  • All primitives are vertex shaded and assigned to screen-space tiles based on pixel coverage.
  • Fragment shading renders into an intermediate tile-buffer stored in a local memory that is tightly coupled to each shader core, and only written back to main memory at the end of rendering for that screen region. All frame buffer accesses during shading, such as depth testing or alpha blending, are energy efficient accesses made to this local memory instead of external DDR.
  • The use of local memory for intermediate storage enables energy efficient blending, zero bandwidth transient attachments, and almost free 4x multi-sample anti-aliasing.

Over time the Mali GPU architecture has evolved with new features to meet the needs of the latest standard APIs — such as OpenGL ES, OpenCL and Vulkan — and to provide further improvements in area efficiency and energy efficiency.

Transaction Elimination

Transaction Elimination (TE) is a key bandwidth saving feature of the Mali GPU architecture which allows for significant energy savings on a System on Chip (SoC). When performing TE, the GPU compares the current frame buffer with the previously rendered frame and performs a partial update only to the particular parts of it that have been modified, thus significantly reducing the amount of data that need to be transmitted per frame to external memory. The comparison is done on a per tile basis, using a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) signature to determine if the tile has been modified. Tiles with the same CRC signature are identical; therefore eliminating them has no impact to the resulting image quality. TE can be used by every application for all frame buffer formats supported by the GPU, irrespective of the frame buffer precision requirements. 


The Mali GPU architectures provide a configurable set of graphics and GPU compute IP, allowing a silicon implementor to select the shader core count and level two cache size. This configurability allows each implementation to find the appropriate balance of performance, power, and silicon area that meets its requirements.

Arm Mali product family



Mali GPU Architecture

The Mali Valhall architecture - implemented with the premium Mali-G7xx, the mainstream optimized line is the Mali-G5xx family and the low power line is the Mali-G3xx of GPU products. It is Arm's 2nd generation of Arm GPU scalar architecture for high-performance, high-efficient GPUs. With an innovative, simplified and compiler-friendly instruction set. Valhall improves on the Bifrost advancements of previous generations. Better alignment with the latest APIs such as Vulkan allows for users to experience AAA-game titles with high quality graphics on mobile and laptop devices, with all the benefits of longer battery life.


Mali GPU Architecture

Arm Mali Bifrost Family

The Mali Bifrost architecture – implemented by the Mali-G3x, Mali-G5x, and Mali-G7x family of products, is the successor to the Midgard architecture and the predecessor of the Valhall architecture. The main design goal of the Bifrost architecture is to improve energy efficiency and area efficiency. The application-visible feature set is very similar to the Midgard architecture; with minor feature additions needed to support Vulkan 1.1 and OpenCL 2.0.


Mali GPU Architecture

Arm Mali Midgard Family

The Mali Midgard architecture – implemented by the Mali-T6xx, Mali-T7xx, and Mali-T8xx family of products, is a unified shader core architecture which was first released with support for OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenCL 1.1, but the later GPUs in the family also support OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan APIs when paired with newer driver releases.


Mali GPU Architecture

Arm Mali Utgard Family

The Mali Utgard architecture – implemented by the Mali-2xx, Mali-3xx, and Mali-4xx family products, is the most successful GPU architecture in history based on total volume shipment. It was the first programmable shader core architecture developed by Arm, supporting an OpenGL ES 2.0 feature set using a pair of very energy and area efficient shader core designs: one dedicated vertex processor, and one dedicated fragment processor.


  • Tools and durable equipment.
  • Mali Graphics Processing Units

    Find out more about our Mali GPU's.

    Learn more
  • Models used for applications on a computer.
  • Graphics  Development

    Graphics and gaming resources for developers.

    Learn more