ARM promise games with Ray Tracing on mobile, reality or smoke?

For a long time it has been tried to sell that mobile phones are a great platform to play video games. Now ARM, designer of architectures primarily for smartphones, is upping the ante. They have announced their Immortalis-G715 graphics card , which has the mission of bringing Ray Tracing technology to mobile phones , something that seems unrealistic.

Ray tracing technology or Ray Tracing, was an important bet of NVIDIA that everyone has followed. Although this technology has existed for years, the challenge was to be able to use it in real time. Such technology requires enormous computing power, so much so, that using it implies an FPS drop of 50% or more.

ARM promise games with Ray Tracing on mobile

ARM Immortalis-G715, a graphic that brings Ray Tracing to mobiles

Despite initial criticism, Ray Tracing in games is here to stay. AMD has adopted it and is even present in some PS5 and Xbox Series games. This technology enables more detailed visual effects by calculating the path of light rays and their interaction with objects. Something for which significant computing power is required.

It’s no surprise that ARM has announced its Immortalis-G715 GPU , which will bring Ray Tracing to mobile . Although there are many gaps in this announcement, since the company has hardly given any information about it.

We must point out that NVIDIA uses DLSS to compensate for the FPS losses generated by Ray Tracing. AMD for its part uses FSR technology that is open source and does not require specific hardware. Intel , meanwhile, has developed XeSS , which is quite similar to AMD’s solution.

Naturally, this announcement leaves a huge amount of doubt, since Ray Tracing is a heavy technology . It seems that ARM Immortalis would support Variable Rate Shading (VRS) and Adaptive Performance, but it is not certain. It could also take advantage of AMD FSR, which is open source and doesn’t require dedicated hardware to run.

Demos without any information

ARM has posted videos about it, but these do not have any benchmarks and no FPS counters are included . We must bear in mind that smartphone graphics are not nearly as rich as on PC or consoles. But, it is an interesting indicator that ARM has not given data, which could indicate poor performance.

The videos obviously show how the images are richer with this technology working. We see how the lighting and shadows make the scenes more realistic. Now, one thing is a demo and another is this technology within games.

We prefer to be very cautious, although from ARM they are much more confident : “our partners are ready, the hardware is ready and the developer ecosystem is ready”.

Something quite interesting is that the specific hardware for Ray Tracing occupies only 4% of the Immortalis GPU area . It is mentioned that it will support VRS and new unspecified execution technologies.

Trying to “revive” smartphone gaming

Immortalis-G715 would not be integrated into a smartphone until early 2023. There is plenty of time left for us to see mobiles with these graphics and we can see the first performance benchmarks. But it is better that we do not expect much, since playing on mobile (discounting the typical casual games) does not make much sense.

Along with these graphics cards with Ray Tracing will come the Mali-G715 and Mali-G615 that will support VRS and new execution technologies, but not Ray Tracing . Note that both these two Mali and Immortalis use the fourth generation Valhalla architecture.

The normal thing is that at CES and MWC in 2023 more information is given and we see the first smartphones with support for this technology. We recommend that you buy some oven mitts, to be able to hold the smartphone when you are playing with Ray Tracing.