Why the iPad 3 might not be using PowerVR SGX600 series

Discussion in 'iPad' started by MythicFrost, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #1
    I've been expecting the iPad 3 to make use of the PowerVR SGX600 series, but I've remembered back before the iPad 2 was released, and a developer found drivers for the SGX543 in iOS Beta... but there's been no drivers sighted for the 600 series.

    Unless Apple's intentionally hidden them somehow, or is using a different build for the iPad 3 so we can't see the drivers, it looks like we'll have more 543's. I'm a little sad about that possibility :(
     
  2. Buildbright macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Don't be sad the 543 is the top banana right now the iPad will more than likely use a quad core version like the Sony Vita in quad core it can produce console quality graphics on an iPad size device.

    Remember not one tablet has trumped the iPad in true computing power and that includes the Tegra 3.
     
  3. borgqueenx macrumors 65816

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    #3
    yeah its then desame as the vita, wich is okay for the time being. would be better if they would move to the 6 series though.
     
  4. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #4
    There is always the good chance it could be powered by the SGX543MP4 (the quad variant as found in the PS Vita) After all we kind of know they are sticking to the A5 - so it's possible they could go quad too on that (again same as ps vita).

    Very mass produced parts as they would appear in 2 mainstream products means the cost would be less, and offset the more expensive screen parts.
     
  5. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #5
    I'm afraid the SGX543MP4 wouldn't be enough. That would essentially cut how much power a developer has to work with in half, they'd need an SGX543MP8 to compensate for the retina display. Or, just one PowerVR SGX643.

    They may be able to use an SGX543MP6 which should give about the same frame rates at 2048x1536 as the iPhone 4S's SGX543MP2 does at 960x640. (Which is about 25% less than what the current iPad 2 does at 1024x768.)
     
  6. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    If you're rendering at 4x the resolution, you need 4x the power, yes. But in practice that's actually pretty rare.

    Some games render everything at full resolution, but they tend to be the ones with simple graphics that don't stretch the ipad2, so they won't be an issue at full res on the iPad 3.

    If you look at a "high end" game like infinity blade, it will render different parts of the scene (lighting, shadows, texture etc.) separately, usually at different resolutions. You'd want texturing drawn at full res for detail, but shadows can be much lower res because they're not detailed. In fact you probably wouldn't need to increase shadow resolution for the iPad 3 display. End result is that you don't need a 4x increase in GPU power to render it at 4x the resolution, and 2x is probably enough.
     
  7. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #7
    Ah right, I see. Thanks for the info.
     
  8. Buildbright macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    What information are you going on that says it would not be enough? Do you know how much of the current GPU 543MP2 is utilized by current games like infinity blade? I know what ever Apple puts in the new Ipad. The experience should be Amazing.

    CPUs and GPUs are not something you just add specs and that’s the result you get. SGX543MP4 is a very powerful GPU and unless you have direct experience developing for it I think you be guessing.
     
  9. daleski75 macrumors 68000

    daleski75

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    #9
    What about the more advanced SGX554? Wouldn't that be an option as well?
     
  10. ThatsMeRight, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    ThatsMeRight macrumors 68020

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    #10
    As much as I'd like to see the PowerVR 6 series GPU, I think the chance is only about 5% that happens.

    Apple began using the PowerVR SGX 535 in June of 2009 with the iPhone 3GS. Apple also used the PowerVR SGX 535 for the iPhone 4.

    PowerVR SGX 535 was announced in November 2007.

    So, the PowerVR SGX 535 was to be used in June 2009 for the first time - 19 months (almost two years) after its first official announcement.

    The iPhone 4S and iPad 2 uses SGX543MP2. First announced in January 2009. Almost two years after its first official announcement. It should be noted, however, that we are not only going up in the PowerVR 5-series: it's also a dual-core GPU (so in fact, two times that GPU).

    I could see them moving up to the SGX544 which has been announced 22 months ago (almost 2 years from now) or the SGX554 (announced 16 months ago (in March)) - so that's also a possibility.
    It's not going to be a SGX544 GPU: the SGX544 is the same GPU as currently used in the iPad 2. The onliest difference is, that there is additional DirectX support. iOS doesn't support DirectX.

    It's just too early for the PowerVR 6 series. If they stay with the current chip, than it is going to be a quad-core GPU... certainly. If they move up to the 554, than I'm not sure... there's little data about this GPU (simply because it hasn't been used yet). If the extra power is small, than it's going to be quad-core. If the extra power is huge, than it's going to be dual-core. :)

    So, we in reality know nothing yet. The 544 just seems unlikely, offers minimal extra performance. So I think that these are the possibilities:

    - A quad-core variant of the SGX543 (iPad 2 uses dual-core variant)
    - A dual-core variant of the SGX554 (only if the SGX554 offers much additional performance)
    - A quad-core variant of the SGX554 (if the performance gain is not big enough when using a dual-core variant)
    - A dual-core variant of the PowerVR Series 6 Rogue GPU*

    * This one seems unlikely, but not impossible. Apple might believe that a quad-core variant of the SGX543 (like currently used) does not offer enough power. The SGX544 doesn't offer any additional power (only extra DirectX support, which Apple doesn't support) so won't be used at all. If the SGX554 neither doesn't support enough power (even in quad-core variant), only than they are going to use the PowerVR Series 6 GPU if possible.

    In reality, the battle is between a quad-core SGX543, a dual-core or quad-core SGX554 or a dual-core PowerVR 6 series GPU.
     
  11. borgqueenx macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Nice post, thanks very helpful:)
    Maybe with a small miracle we get the 6 series... But a quad gpu would already be nice. Thats what the vita uses right?
     
  12. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #12
    I'm not guessing, if you increase the pixels by four you'll need roughly four times the amount of power to maintain existing frame rates. It doesn't how much is used right now, it matters whether the iPad 3 will get lower frame rates at 2048x1536 than the iPad 2 at 1024x768, because it'll limit how good games will look. If Apple maintained an SGX543MP2 as it is, we'd seen only one quarter of the frame rate.

    I don't believe Infinity Blade 2 fully utilises the SGX543MP2 because even on the much, much weaker SGX535 it looks mostly the same at about 30 FPS. There's just a bit more eye candy on the MP2, and it runs at 60 FPS. (But it's capped at 60 FPS.)

    Look at Real Racing 2, it runs at 1080p with 30 FPS when output to an HDTV via cable, and that means at 720p it should run at 60 FPS. There's fifty percent more pixels than 1080p at 2048x1536, which means it should only be running at about 15 FPS.

    If Apple used an SGX543MP4 performance would jump to 30 FPS at 2048x1536, and an MP8 would be required for 60 FPS.
    Perhaps, I'm unfamiliar with it. According to Wiki it has a higher core config, 8/2 vs 4/2 for the SGX543.
    See above why I believe an SGX543MP8 is necessary.

    It's for this reason why I expected Apple might be going to use it: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1170665&highlight=imagination+technologies, but perhaps it'll be in the next iPad. What I'm really hoping Apple doesn't do, is release a model that doesn't had the horsepower to keep up at 2048x1536 with current frame rates (which are all well above 60 FPS if you turn off v-sync, but you can't).
     
  13. maclook macrumors 65816

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    #13
    @ThatsMeRight

    *slow clap*
    I don't know anything about these GPUs so your post was incredibly educational and interesting.
     
  14. JordanNZ macrumors 6502a

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    #14

    This isn't completely true. When you increase the resolution like that, you're not always drawing more polygons etc. But fillrate may be an issue. It depends where the bottleneck is. Polys/shaders/fillrate etc... Many things come into play here.
     
  15. borgqueenx macrumors 65816

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    #15
    What is certain, is that it will use more mb's...and some games are already more then a gig! Im afraid that we wont see a 128gb version, because sources of mic gadget said that:(
     
  16. ThatsMeRight macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Yep, but don't forget that the Vita only has to push 960 * 540 pixels... if the iPad 3 sports a 2048 by 1536 display, you can't really compare them.


    I see why you think a 8-core SGX543 GPU is much better than a dual-core SGX543 GPU like used now, but don't forget that it is much harder to code for multiple cores (at least it is when using the CPU - I can only assume it's the same with GPUs - correct me if I'm wrong).

    I'd rather see them putting more power and changing from architecture in a dual-core or quad-core GPU, than putting in a 8-core variant of the same GPU like used in the A5 chip.

    It's the same story with the CPU. Currently, there are two rumours floating around:

    - Quad-Core A6 processor
    - Dual Core A6 processor

    If it is quad-core, than it surely is based on the Cortex A9 architecture (just like the A5 chip). A quad-core is really only good for multitasking, iOS itself, the performance of Apple's own apps and further it will only benefit very few apps (because it's so hard for developers to create apps that can deal with 4 cores very efficiently).

    If it's a dual-core, than I hope they switch to the Cortex A15 architecture. The Cortex A15 architecture allows for a huge gain in performance, at the same clockspeeds. This benefits everything: multitasking, Apple's own apps, iOS itself, every single app that's already available in the App Store and and apps developed by developers that can make optimal use of 2 cores.

    That why I'd rather see an A6 dual-core processor based on the Cortex A15 architecture, than an A6 quad-core processor based on the Cortex A9 architecture. The first one (dual-core C. A15) benefits all processes, while the second one (quad-core C. A9) only benefits the (limited) multitasking (on iOS), the OS and apps specifically developed to make use of four cores.

    Thank you. :) I am not an expert, but this is how I understand it. ;)


    Well, they are only repeating others (except for posting iPad 3 photos (or so they claim)).

    When M.I.C. Gadget is talking about real features, they are only saying "maybe" and stuff like that. For example:

    - "Possible quad-core A6, but dual core for sure." < In other words: they don't know it. All they know is that the A6 processor isn't going to be worse than the A5 processor.
    - "A much improved camera, although maybe not be 8 MP" < They are saying that they think it might not be 8 megapixel, but they aren't sure.
    - "The unit is about 1-1.5 mm thicker depending on your model." < He, wait? So, for example, the 3G/4G model is 1.5 mm thicker and the WiFi only model 1 mm? If it is going to be thicker, than I think it highly unlikely that there are iPad 3s with a different thickness.
    - "LTE has been tested, but the market is limited, so perhaps we will not see anything outside of 3G connectivity." < In other words: maybe, maybe not.
    - "the bezel on iPad 3 is narrower." < Wait? How is this even possible?! This means that the devices must be less wide and shorter, right? But... they just posted pictures from the iPad 3 shells?! Oh, I know... they made the screen bigger, right? But he, they are also reporting that the iPad 3 gets a 9.7" screen.

    Their 'iPad 3 pictures' and their claim of a '9.7" display' just show is that something is wrong here. If the bezels are narrower while the iPad 3 is just as long and wide as the iPad 2, than either one of the two things must happen:

    - Bezels are narrower, so the display must be bigger if the dimensions haven't changed.
    - Bezels are narrower, same display, so the physical dimensions of the device must be smaller.

    To be honest: I don't think M.I.C. Gadget has real, trustworthy sources. The bezel can't be thinner, if they are claiming that the physical dimensions (except for thickness) are the same and that the display diagonal (9.7") is the same.

    The most important fact here, is that the pictures of the 'iPad 3' they have, is just the shell of the claimed iPad 3. They don't have pictures of the actual device.

    It's been rumoured that these shells have been in circulation since June 2011. For all we know, they have a shell that is really like 8 months old. An old prototype. Out-dated.

    In reality, we know nothing about the iPad 3. There's only one thing that seems to be certain, and that is a display of 2048 by 1536 pixels. The display is the onliest thing all these "anonymous sources" can agree on. No one is agreeing on thickness (we've had claims from "same thickness", "0.7 mm thicker", "1-.1.5 mm thicker"), cameras ("slightly upgraded" to "8 megapixel"), A6 processor (dual-core or quad-core) [or is it the A5X processor?!].

    We just know nothing.

    So, if I were you, I wouldn't be too worried about these rumours. Anything can happen right now. :)
     
  17. MythicFrost, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #17
    That's true, I'm not entirely familiar with those things. I don't suppose you'd elaborate more? I'm interested in knowing more about the topic. For example, if you don't draw more polygons isn't that essentially drawing it at a lower resolution?

    Does fill rate have anything to do with texture fill rate? I know the latter is very good on the SGX543MP2.

    I'd cite my example of Real Racing 2 though, it runs at 30 FPS at 1080p, and 2048x1536 is 50% more pixels than 1080p which would mean only 15 FPS at that resolution, although I'm still assuming that 720p would result in 60 FPS but I could be wrong about that considering I know little about the different aspects of a game, and what the bottleneck could be. I do know Real Racing 2 runs at 60 FPS (w/ v-sync) at 960x640 and 1024x768. I'm not sure how much more it could do at that resolution though.
    I'm inclined to agree with you regarding the Cortex A15. It should benefit everything, whereas a quad-core will mostly be of use in games, and even then, only some games. Preferably a highly clocked dual-core A15 too.

    However, that's not how the GPU works. The SGX543MP1-16 act as a single GPU, there's no difference between coding for one or for sixteen. I would love to see them use a single SGX 600 series as it's ten fold more powerful than one SGX543 which means we'd not only compensate for the higher resolution, but have a little extra performance there too.
     
  18. ThatsMeRight macrumors 68020

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    #18
    No, that's not necessarily how it works but it really depends all on how a game is coded. I understand your logic, but that differs from game to game.

    Ah, thank you for clearing that up. Well, I suppose it also has to do with space and heat emission. In that case, a higher (sub)series dual-core GPU might do better than a lower (sub)series quad-core GPU.

    There's also one possibility we haven't really discussed: they won't change the GPU. I sincerely don't hope so, but it is not unlikely. Apple already did the same thing with the iPhone 4. The iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 sport the exact same GPUs.
     
  19. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #19
    Are you referring to the part of my post about Real Racing 2?
    Indeed, if they used a dual core SGX600 series GPU it would offer 2.5 more grunt at 2048x1536 than the SGX543MP2 at 1024x768.
    They did, but they are heavily promoting iOS devices as gaming devices, more and more. It'd be pretty terrible to have an iPhone 4S which performs much better at its native resolution than an iPad 3 with a retina display. They'll definitely up the GPU, I don't think they would do that to us.
     
  20. Buildbright macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Without knowing where the ipad bottle necks or its true limitations this is grasping at straws.

    No one here has used an Ipad3 or helped develop it.

    Your theory also leaves out the fact of the software being optimized for the hardware which console machines have shown to make a huge difference.
     
  21. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #21
    We don't know what the bottleneck is, but we do know it's bottlenecked somewhere in Real Racing 2 at 1080p. I don't think it would have anything to do with shaders, or textures, due to the graphics I can see in the game.

    There is one thing I can say for sure and that's at 1080p an SGX543MP4 will get about 60 FPS, so it's not unreasonable to assume that a resolution with 50% more pixels will have a notably lower frame rate. So it's safe to say that won't be enough to keep that specific game at 60 FPS at 2048x1536.

    The software is already optimised for the hardware, but you can't really optimise it for a higher resolution display. Also, unlike iOS, consoles don't really run an OS either. Even though iOS is a much lighter OS than say OS X or Windows, it's still an OS.

    Additionally, game developers have direct access to the hardware rather than having to use APIs, and that allows for a good performance increase as well.
     
  22. Buildbright macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I cant begin to know what Apple will do but it will work. I know the 543mp is a great chip that helped the iPad making laughing jokes out of other Tablets. So I have faith in them. Anyone who could make the original iPad work as smooth as it did with only 256mb of Ram knows what they are doing.


    All computers have an operating system and consoles are no different. The Ps3 runs a linux based OS. The Xbox 360 uses a custom OS (original xbox ran a windows based os like dreamcast). This is how you can download in the background and play a game.
     
  23. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #23
    They do, but remember they also used the same GPU when going from iPhone 3GS to iPhone 4, despite the increase in pixels. I don't think they'll screw it up though, they can't afford to lose market share, so I'm trusting they'll have something that works very well.
    Eh, I'm aware they all have an OS but, the OS on the 360 is very lightweight, it's not like on Windows, or OS X, or even iOS. It's more efficient. (I didn't mean to say literally that the 360 has no OS, rather that's it a lot less of an OS than anything else.)
     
  24. borgqueenx macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Yes mic gadget was uncertain of some things, but when they talked about storage they seemed pretty sure.

    And we do know the camera will be upgraded. Even when there there was no leak about it. We all know apple cant keep a 1mp camera in a better-then-1080p-screen.
     
  25. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #25
    Yeah, the camera will definitely be upgraded. It's pretty insane though they shipped the first iPad with such a bad camera, perhaps it was a back up and their intended camera had some last minute problems. Or maybe they just did want to put a cheap quality camera on there so we'll buy the next model :p
     

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