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.

Top Rated Comments

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115 months ago



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


Hey everyone, go outside! The graphics are amazing!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago
Wow, just wow
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 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?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago
Can't wait for the demo of Infinity Blade 3.

swipe, swipe, ooooh pretty, swipe swipe.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago
Sounds pretty good for the iPad 3 and it's doubled resolution.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 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.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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