iPad 2 and iPhone 5 to Sport a Dual-Core GPU?

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With the rumors of a 2048x1536 high resolution screen for the iPad 2, one question that has emerged is what graphics processing unit (GPU) can adequately power the device. AppleInsider claims that the new iPad (and iPhone 5) will use a dual-core SGX543 GPU from Imagination Technologies.

A source familiar with Apple's graphics strategy says the company will not only be upgrading its video core, but also going to multiple cores, a feature that is designed into the SGX543 design. The most likely configuration of Apple's next custom chip is reportedly the SGX543MP2, which pairs two SGX543 cores to work as one, offering around four times the capability of the previous A4 in graphics and video tasks.

We had previously revealed that the latest iOS 4.3 beta SDK had drivers for the new SGX543 GPU, so it should be no surprise that it is the most likely contender to be the next GPU for the iPad. Meanwhile, when it was first announced it was billed as a very capable multi-core chip:

In other words, the SGX543 can have any number of cores from two to sixteen with no change in the driver software or the application. All that complex data/pipeline/thread management is done in hardware. No muss, no fuss.

If Apple indeed is pursuing a very high resolution screen for their iPad 2, it makes sense that they will also have to comparable upgrade the underlying horsepower of the device. Meanwhile, another rumor had pegged Apple's new A5 CPU to also be a multi-core chip.

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