Imagination Technologies, a British-based maker of a mobile graphics and microprocessor chip technology, announced last June its new mobile graphics architecture code-named Rogue. Today, the company shed more light on the first two PowerVR Series6 designs, the G6400 and G6200. According to a press release issued today, we can expect 20 times the performance of current-generation hardware with five times greater efficiency.
The G6400 and G6200 have two and four compute clusters, respectively, with computing performance “exceeding 100 gigaFLOPS” and “reaching the teraFLOPS range.” Base features supported by all members of the Series6 family include OpenGL ES ‘Halti,’ OpenGL 3.x/4.x, OpenCL 1.x – all of which are supported and widely used by Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. They also support Microsoft’s DirectX10 and some chips are said to be WHQL DirectX11.1-compliant.
Eight chip makers signed up for the new designs so far, including ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Renesas Electronics. Whether Apple is amongst the two unnamed licensees is anyone’s guess, but one could assume that Apple’s custom-built mobile chips would continue using Imagination’s efficient PowerVR architecture.
Other advanced features supported by the Rogue architecture include:
An advanced scalable compute cluster architecture, high-efficiency compression technology including lossless image and parameter compression and PVRTC texture compression, an enhanced scheduling architecture, dedicated housekeeping processors and a next-generation Tile Based Deferred Rendering architecture. The upcoming iPad 3 is widely expected to début the quad-core A6 chip, which should then find its way into the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch and third-generation Apple TV, if history is an indication. According to ST-Ericsson, one of the six Imagination licensees so far, its Nova A9600 system-on-a-chip based on the Rogue architecture is capable of pumping out over 350 million real polygons per second. Apple, which holds a 9.5 percent stake in Imagination, is a licensee of Imagination’s technology even though it has never been officially named. The iPhone maker has been using Imagination’s graphics technology to power all versions of iPhones and iPads since 2007. Currently, the A5 chip that ticks inside the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S uses Imagination’s PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU cores. The A4 chip that runs inside the original iPad and iPhone 4 contains an older-generation single-core PowerVR SGX 535 graphics processor. PowerVR SGX graphics was also used in the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch. PowerVR graphics technology has shipped in more than 600 million devices to date.