Imagination Technologies, the company behind the PowerVR GPU tech seen in Apple’s AX chips, has announced the first chip based off of its new Furian architecture. The PowerVR Series8XT GT8525 introduces significant enhancements in mobile graphic performance. The very type of performance that could find a home in future devices that have a focus on AR/VR requirements…

Imagination Technologies has been widely known for its GPU designs licensed to Apple. In the custom chips, like the A10 and A9, Apple included graphic performance tech from the company. In early April, news came out that Apple would be dropping the licensed technology from Imagination in favor of its own.

The change was announced to occur within the next two years so the first PowerVR IP core announced today may shed light into what to expect with the iPhone 8. The Furian GPU architecture in the new PowerVR Series8XT GT8525 makes it possible to bring higher resolutions and more immersive graphics into a mobile device.

From PowerVR’s report comparing the new chip to the previous Series7XT GT7200:

  • More than 50% fps improvement on the industry-standard Manhattan benchmark test, one of the de-facto benchmarks for mobile and other applications, and 80% TRex
  • More than 50% improvement in fps for the Antutu benchmark – another key benchmark
  • 2x PPC throughput (8 pixels/clock compared with 4 for GT7200), allowing for higher resolutions, and additional performance for previously fill rate limited use cases
  • 50% more GFLOPs, and more accessible GFLOPs, enabling easier exploitation of the cores full potential for graphics and compute

These improvements include higher sustained performance in mobile VR applications. With the GT8525, standalone AR/VR headsets will also be able to crank out higher resolution and higher sustained frame rates within applications.

The conglomeration of these components fall in line with previous reports on Apple’s own AR/VR technologies. With nearly 1,000 engineers working on Apple’s augmented reality tech, GPU architectures like the GT8525 may have already found a home in Apple’s own rapid prototyping of the iPhone 8.

What direction Apple will take with augmented reality, virtual reality, or even mixed reality is a question that remains to be answered. According to Imagination Technologies, the GT8525 has already been delivered to “lead” customers. It’s unclear if these would even make it into the next iPhone considering Apple’s plans to drop Imagination Technologies designs. The multi-faceted use of 3D environments will require higher power GPUs, and the new GT8525 is at least a step in that direction.

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