Imagination Technologies boosts mobile GPU speeds by 50% with Series 6XT

PowerVR logoWhile most companies are withholding their big phone and tablet-related news until Mobile World Congress next month, this year's CES is shaping up to be a busy one for mobile chip designers. Nvidia unveiled the latest version of its Tegra SoC last night, and this morning, Imagination Technologies took the wraps off of some new graphics IPs for mobile chips.

There are two new designs being announced today, both relatives to the PowerVR Series 6 GPUs that are beginning to ship in phones and tablets today. At the top end is the new PowerVR Series 6XT, which promises a 50 percent performance improvement and better power consumption compared to Series 6. These improvements come entirely from architectural optimizations, not more execution resources—the new GX6250, GX6450, and GX6460 parts use two, four, and six of Imagination's "computer clusters," the same number available in Series 6 GPUs. There's also a GX6240 part, which uses two clusters but is "area-optimized" to take up less space in an SoC die. Like Series 6, Series 6XT supports DirectX 10, OpenGL ES 3.0, and OpenCL 1.x on the API side.

The other GPU design being announced today is the Series 6XE series, which is targeted at especially inexpensive or small SoCs. The G6050 and G6060 are both "half-cluster" parts—the two chips are identical aside from the G6060's PVIRC2 lossless image compression support. The G6100 and G6110 are single cluster parts, again differentiated by PVIRC2 support in the G6110. The GPUs support only DirectX 9 shader model 3, a step down from the Series 6 and Series 6XT parts, but still support OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenCL 1.x.

PowerVR Series 6XT

The Series 6XT GPU

PowerVR GPUs are used in a wide variety of mobile chips, but the most prominent are probably Apple's iPhone and iPad SoCs. The A4, A5, A6, and A7 have all used progressively newer versions of Imagination's GPUs, and the A7 uses the older Series 6 architecture to power both the 1136×640 display of the iPhone 5S and the 2048×1536 displays of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini. Series 6XT and XE parts are available for licensing now, and these should begin showing up in shipping products in the next couple of years (assuming a similar timeline to the original Series 6 parts, which are shipping now but were originally licensable back in early 2012).

Source: Ars Technica

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