Imagination Technologies Releases Details on Next-Generation GPU for iOS Devices

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Apple has long used Imagination Technologies' graphics processing unit (GPU) technology in its iOS devices, currently utilizing the company's PowerVR SGX543MP2 in the A5 system-on-a-chip found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.

Last June, Imagination Technologies announced that the first six licensees for the next-generation Series6 family had signed on with the company, and while Apple was not explicitly named as one of the licensees, it has been presumed to be involved given the long-standing partnership that has even seen Apple take a financial stake in Imagination.

Imagination has now revealed new details (via The Verge) on the upcoming Series6 family, touting performance improvements of 20x or more for the G6400 and G6200, the first two members of the family.
Based on a scalable number of compute clusters the PowerVR Rogue architecture is designed to target the requirements of a growing range of demanding markets from mobile to the highest performance embedded graphics including smartphones, tablets, PC, console, automotive, DTV and more. Compute clusters are arrays of programmable computing elements that are designed to offer high performance and efficiency while minimising power and bandwidth requirements. The first PowerVR Series6 cores, the G6200 and G6400, have two and four compute clusters respectively.

Delivering the best performance in both GFLOPS/mm2 and GFLOPS/mW, PowerVR Series6 GPUs can deliver 20x or more of the performance of current generation GPU cores targeting comparable markets. This is enabled by an architecture that is around 5x more efficient than previous generations.
The press release notes that all Series6 GPU designs will support Apple-backed graphics APIs such as OpenGL ES "Haiti", OpenGL 3.x/4.x, and OpenCL 1.x for maximum performance. Previous reports of Series6-based GPU technology being licensed by ST-Ericsson have cited the capability to push 350 million polygons per second, compared to the nearly 70 million polygons per second achievable with the dual-core SGX543MP2 currently used by Apple.

Article Link: Imagination Technologies Releases Details on Next-Generation GPU for iOS Devices
 

i.mac

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Dec 14, 2007
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Will this performance in an ipad approach that of a desktop from two+ years ago?
 

Superken7

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Feb 13, 2011
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I wonder how much this will take to actually arrive to products in the market. Maybe fall 2012?
 

mkrishnan

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Jan 9, 2004
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Impressive. I guess, this is the answer to the question of how the processing hardware would be able to push video quality that would live up to a retina iPad. Not that polygon count is everything, but I understand that the 350M polys per second falls somewhere into the current-gen console range (I think from what I see, Wii is about 70M, PS3 about 270M, and XBox 360 about 500M per second). Hopefully game quality design can live up to the hardware capabilities.
 

Frobozz

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I'm pretty psyched by developments like this. I would love an iPad3 or iPhone5 (or both) that have that much power. You can slowly see, or perhaps not so slowly see, that iOS taking Nintendo and Sony to the cleaners over mobile gaming.

I gave up a long time ago on my PSP. It was a great little device, but I had to haul around something else every day. Why not just use the thing(s) I use for everything else, namely my iPad and iPhone? The only real downside is that traditional games do not always translate well without discreet buttons. Some third party developers are moving this ball forward, though.
 

Frobozz

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Jul 24, 2002
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Impressive. I guess, this is the answer to the question of how the processing hardware would be able to push video quality that would live up to a retina iPad. Not that polygon count is everything, but I understand that the 350M polys per second falls somewhere into the current-gen console range (I think from what I see, Wii is about 70M, PS3 about 270M, and XBox 360 about 500M per second). Hopefully game quality design can live up to the hardware capabilities.
Totally. And with Retina displays, you don't need to spend cycles Aliasing pixels to make things look smooth. Not sure what their tessellation capabilities might be, but I'd assume a nice set of geometries and beautiful textures that don't look jagged.
 

nikhsub1

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mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
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People that are excited about this just need to get out more often.
 

nickn

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People that are excited about this just need to get out more often.
What kind of stupid comment is that? You do realize this is a tech website, correct?
 

acslater017

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People that are excited about this just need to get out more often.
I get out plenty and this excites me. :cool:

This is MacRumors. News that a near-future Apple product will have huge improvements gets people excited. Why the Haterade? :)
 

aduteau

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Oct 14, 2007
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I dont know ..... I highly doubt that this will end up in the A6 processor ... as Apple has finished the design a while ago and test run to manufacture the SoC (A6) has been reported to have begun since this fall ...

Wouldn't having this GPU in the A6 .. be cutting it kind of short in the design phase for Apple ?
 

mkrishnan

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I gave up a long time ago on my PSP. It was a great little device, but I had to haul around something else every day.
I haven't really played DS much since I got an iPhone, but the game quality is still lacking in comparison to DS (mostly for design reasons, but I guess to a lesser extent because of the physical controls issues). In any event, iOS game quality has been improving for the most part, so I miss my DS less over time (although there'll never be another Mario or another Zelda).
 

Thunderhawks

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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

People that are excited about this just need to get out more often.
Gave you one plus back from the minuses.

Doesn't do a thing for me either.

I'll judge everything when I can play with it in an Apple store.

In the meantime let's keep getting excited about home buttons, ribbon connectors, phantom screen pcs. and 1 mm additional thickness
(although not discoverable at first sight).

After this exciting revelation I need to go lie down:)
 

jwm2

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Jan 5, 2012
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I haven't really played DS much since I got an iPhone, but the game quality is still lacking in comparison to DS (mostly for design reasons, but I guess to a lesser extent because of the physical controls issues). In any event, iOS game quality has been improving for the most part, so I miss my DS less over time (although there'll never be another Mario or another Zelda).
I hate to argue with someone else from the Grand Rapids area but i have to disagree. Imo the iPhone is quite abit ahead of the DS or PSP in areas of mobile gaming, especially from a casual gamer aspect. Even hardcore gamers have plenty to keep them busy with first person shooters, grand theft auto, and plenty on the horizon. The only games the DS has to fall back on are the Mario, Zelda and Mario Kart games. Granted those are fantastic titles to fall back on, but without those 3 their platform is dead.
 

fpnc

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Oct 30, 2002
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I dont know ..... I highly doubt that this will end up in the A6 processor ... as Apple has finished the design a while ago and test run to manufacture the SoC (A6) has been reported to have begun since this fall ...

Wouldn't having this GPU in the A6 .. be cutting it kind of short in the design phase for Apple ?
From the full, original press release from Imagination Technologies:

PowerVR Series6 has already secured eight licensees, and been delivered to multiple lead partners.
Thus, it sounds to me like sample parts have already shipped.
 

holmesf

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2001
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Will this performance in an ipad approach that of a desktop from two+ years ago?
It's not really a stupid question. The current chip, the PowerVR SGX543MP2 was a huge step up from the previous generation (about 4x faster), putting every other mobile offering on the market to shame (the competition may have since caught up, I'm not sure). It's a chip capable of 19.2GFLOPs, which is on par with a Core 2 Duo (the Core 2, of course, being more flexible). It's also as fast as the Geforce 6800, NVidia's flagship GPU from 2004. Perhaps surprisingly, it's the PowerVR chip in this case that is more flexible.

A 20x increase (the figure quoted in the article) over that at the same energy consumption doesn't sound reasonable, but let's suppose that happened. You'd arrive at 384 GFLOPs. That brings you up to the level of a flagship desktop GPU from 2007 (Geforce 8800) and (humorously) beyond Intel's current integrated offerings.
 
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Nicky G

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Mar 24, 2002
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How does this compare to Sandy Bridge gfx? After Intel's total FAIL in today's demo/lie of Ivy Bridge GPU performance (AKA a movie file they ran, pretending it was live video) maybe this is the path forward for MacBook Air gfx?
 

SandynJosh

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Oct 26, 2006
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I dont know ..... I highly doubt that this will end up in the A6 processor ... as Apple has finished the design a while ago and test run to manufacture the SoC (A6) has been reported to have begun since this fall ...

Wouldn't having this GPU in the A6 .. be cutting it kind of short in the design phase for Apple ?
Announced publicly last June. Apple may have had it to play with even before then in the Apple labs. I don't know what kind of lead time Apple needs but they have used Intel CPUs that hadn't been publicly available in some products, so they push the envelope of new technology often.
 

swarmster

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Jun 1, 2004
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I wonder how much this will take to actually arrive to products in the market. Maybe fall 2012?
I dont know ..... I highly doubt that this will end up in the A6 processor ... as Apple has finished the design a while ago and test run to manufacture the SoC (A6) has been reported to have begun since this fall ...

Wouldn't having this GPU in the A6 .. be cutting it kind of short in the design phase for Apple ?

It's really hard to say. ST-Ericsson announced their Nova A9600 in Feb'11, a 2.5GHz A15 with 6-series PowerVR, to sample by the end of 2011: http://www.stericsson.com/press_releases/NovaThor.jsp

In July'11, their Chief Chip Archetect suggested the A9600 would be "in handsets by the end next year or early 2013". http://www.intomobile.com/2011/07/06/interview-louis-tannyeres-chief-chip-architect-stericsson-talks-cortex-a15-windows-8-future/


Apple has a few things going for it, though, regarding an early 2012 debut:

Its first application will likely be an iPad, which has much easier-to-manage thermal and space constraints than a handset. They could also save a lot of time sticking with an A9-based design (now in quad-core form) than migrating to A15. They also might not need the jump from 1GHz to 2.5GHz. They have an in-house world-class microprocessor development team with secure and specific multi-million unit targets, which counts for a lot, frankly. And they have a lot of cash to back up any demands on fab houses as far as rushing samples and ramping up production.

So iPad 3 is possible, I think. Imagination may not have announced its branded products publicly until today, but you know the design has been on the market to its customers for a while and Apple's been aware of its retina goals for even longer.