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MWC: Imagination unveils a 192-core GPU for high-end graphics devices

Could turn up in the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 and future iPads
Wed Feb 26 2014, 11:16
Imagination technogies logo

BARCELONA: IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES HAS UNVEILED what it claims is "the most powerful GPU IP core available" at Mobile World Congress (MWC), a 192-core graphics chip design that it said is ready for licensing to chip makers.

Named the PowerVR GX6650, the GPU is a 192-core graphics processing unit (GPU) that the company considers its flagship PowerVR graphics processor aimed at high-end smartphones, tablets and 4K smart TVs .

Imagination has supplied the GPU cores for Apple's custom A series system on chip (SoC) processors in the past, so we might see the PowerVR GX6650 in future iPhones and iPads.

The firm told us at its booth on the MWC show floor on Tuesday that it's likely going to be a year to 18 months before we see the GPU shipped in products, so it might turn up in the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 by the time Apple gets around to implementing it.

Imagination PowerVR GPU core specs graph

Once launched, it is likely to compete against similar designs like Qualcomm's Adreno GPU, Nvidia's Tegra K1 processor and ARM's Mali GPU.

"[The] PowerVR GX6650 has six Unified Shading Clusters (USCs) and 192 cores, making it our fastest GPU to date," said Imagination. "For example, [the] GX6650 includes a low-power, high-performance FP16 mode which can provide up to twice the performance of FP32 within a constrained power budget. We've improved the performance of this FP16 mode because FP32 is not always the best choice for optimum performance with power efficiency."

Another advantage of the PowerVR GX6650 GPU is that its pixel pipeline is able to process 12 pixels per clock, which Imagination claims is up to triple the pixel throughput of its competitors.

Imagination stand at MWC - PowerVR GPU core examples

"Pixel throughput is a metric which tends to be overlooked in favour of GFLOPS but is equally important when thinking about high resolution displays," Imagination said.

"Since PowerVR GX6650 is aimed at processors targeting high-end, high-resolution tablets or 4K smart TVs, pixel throughput becomes a hot topic, especially when you have FPS-heavy gaming or complex user interfaces."

As a result, Imagination said that the PowerVR GX6650 has an up to 50 percent higher texture fill rate compared to its competitors' GPUs. µ


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