MediaTek Partners with ARM and Tencent to Bring Ray Tracing to Mobile

Ray tracing is a sophisticated method in which video cards conduct computations to simulate the behavior of light in a realistic manner. Although not technically new, having first emerged in the 1970s, computers have only recently obtained the capacity to execute this processing in real time, thanks to the introduction of Nvidia's GeForce RTX series.
  • Dimensity 2000 from MediaTek must be 22% more efficient than Snapdragon 719.
  • The Kompanio chip 900T from MediaTek is designed for tablets and laptops with 5G connectivity.

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With the growing popularity of the resource, more firms are adopting specialized Ray Tracing hardware, such as AMD, while others are planning to introduce the technique to additional devices, such as mobile phones. MediaTek is one of the companies that has risen to the challenge, announcing a cooperation with ARM and the game firm Tencent this week to help drive adoption.

The first consequence of the three companies' collaboration is the release of a software development kit (SDK) based on the Vulkan API for enabling Ray Tracing on smartphones. The novelty was developed by MediaTek, integrates Tencent solutions and is compatible with Mali GPUs ARM, present in most MediaTek chipsets.

The SDK, according to the businesses, allows Ray Tracing features like shadows and reflections, and uses a sophisticated post-processing method to remove the noise created by the technology. Members of the Dimensity 5G family will be the first to benefit, with a focus on the top-of-the-line Dimensity 1200.

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The initial product of the collaboration is Ray Tracing's SDK, which is compatible with Dimensity 5G chips, with a focus on Dimensity 1200.

The Khronos Group, a non-profit group committed to creating open source standards for diverse applications, uses standardized codes in the kit. The OpenCL, OpenGL, and Vulkan API formats, for example, are responsible for facilitating the movement of apps and games between different platforms, such as migration from PC to mobile phone, which is one of the aims of the trio led by MediaTek.

Aside from that, the note confirms that the next versions of ARM's Mali GPU would have dedicated hardware for Ray Tracing, as the company stated during the launch of the new Cortex cores. It's unclear whether the anticipated Dimensity 6000, which is said to be more powerful than competitor Qualcomm's next generation, will already be aware of the news.

Remember that MediaTek isn't the only company investing in Ray Tracing: Samsung, in collaboration with AMD, may be the first to use dedicated hardware for the feature with the Exynos 2200, whose GPU is based on an adapted version of the RDNA 2 microarchitecture, which is found in new generation consoles and Radeon RX GPUs 420230.

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The Exynos 2000, which will debut with the Galaxy S20, is expected to shake up the market and outperform rivals such as Qualcomm and even Apple's Bionic in terms of graphics performance, reintroducing the Exynos 2000 as a viable option after years of criticism due to overheating and performance instability.

Many PC games with Nvidia GPUs enable ray-tracing, however owing to hardware limitations, no mobile device has been able to do so. With their Dimensity 5G SoCs, Mediatek is altering that, and it will be fascinating to watch how developers use their tools.

What's more intriguing is that ray-tracing has already been enabled in Minecraft Pocket Edition. However, a large portion of the player population is unable to use it due to hardware limitations. As a result, these new technologies have the potential to transform the face of mobile gaming and usher us into the future.
 

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