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

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.

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39 months ago



People that are excited about this just need to get out more often.


Hey everyone, go outside! The graphics are amazing!
Rating: 10 Votes
39 months ago
Wow, just wow
Rating: 7 Votes
39 months ago
Can't wait for the demo of Infinity Blade 3.

swipe, swipe, ooooh pretty, swipe swipe.
Rating: 5 Votes
39 months ago
Sounds pretty good for the iPad 3 and it's doubled resolution.
Rating: 5 Votes
39 months ago



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?
Rating: 5 Votes
39 months ago
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?
Rating: 4 Votes
39 months ago

Imagination Technologes purchased Caustic Graphics in 2010 for real time raytracing. It would be cool if this is standard functionality in future PowerVR architecture.


Won't happen in the next 5 years. Might not happen in the next 10 either. It's just too hard to justify using Ray Tracing in real time. A basic RT setup will get you reflections, refractions, hard shadows, and maybe funny shaped camera lenses. Do those effects matter that much? Certainly not enough to justify the huge engineering effort and performance hit they'll come with. And not when they can be faked pretty well with raster graphics in most cases. If you want more advanced effects like accurate depth-of-field, soft shadows, and global illumination you need to do distribution or monte-carlo ray tracing, which is so vastly expensive it won't even be possible with hardware acceleration. Rasterized graphics can fake this OK, and do it at a reasonable speed, so it's not likely that RT will make much sense in the next decade.

Ray Tracing does have the advantage that its cost is not very sensitive to geometric complexity. But its cost is very, very sensitive to the number of pixels and degree of anti-aliasing used. For that reason maybe RT will emerge as a real time method once we stop demanding higher and higher resolutions in our devices (because we've surpassed the eye already) and can no longer get improved image quality out of raster graphics.

Source: Me, I'm a Grad student in Computer Graphics.
Rating: 4 Votes
39 months ago

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.
Rating: 3 Votes
39 months ago

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.


You are a casual gamer.

Having "first person shooters" available does not make a platform loaded with good games.

Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc are best-in-class series for their genre. iOS does not have games of the same depth, production values, and quality.

It's like saying the PSP was a great movie platform and viable replacement for a DVD player for someone who likes action movies because it has "National Treasure" available.


There's a lot of neat indie stuff on iOS now, especially for casuals, but the vast majority of these are fairly short and shallow for someone looking for a deep, long game that just reeks of good design like the flagship Zelda games do.
Rating: 3 Votes
39 months ago

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.
Rating: 3 Votes

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