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Next-gen graphics processor for Apple's iPhone, iPad now being licensed

post #1 of 37
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Imagination Technologies is now licensing its PowerVR Series6 mobile graphics processing architecture, the next generation of the hardware found in Apple's iPhone and iPad, to six key partners -- three of which remain secret.

The new processor, code-named "Rogue," was revealed to have been licensed by ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments and MediaTek. The remaining three partners are "yet to be announced," but given the fact that Apple is a major shareholder of the company, its involvement could be considered likely.

As first reported by AppleInsider in 2008, Apple purchased a 3 percent stake in Imagination Technologies, and in 2009 the iPhone maker increased its share to 9.5 percent.

Imagination said this week that its PowerVR Series6 GPU family offers best-in-class "GFLOPS per mm2 and per mW for all APIs." The company also touted that it has "one of the largest teams of graphics engineers in the world," and that its chips have powered hundreds of thousands of applications created by "an extensive ecosystem of third party developers."

"The growing commitment of the primary players to our roadmap shows that, having evaluated the options, the overall mobile and embedded market is increasingly committing to PowerVR as the de facto graphics standard," said Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie.

AppleInsider was first to reveal in January that the then-unannounced iPad 2 would pack PowerVR's dual-core SGX543 graphics inside Apple's custom A5 processor. The same chip and graphics are expected to be featured in the anticipated fifth-generation iPhone.



More specifically, the graphics processor in the iPad 2 is the PowerVR SGX543MP2, which Apple has claimed helps to boost graphics in the A5 processor by as much as nine times. Benchmarks of just the SGX543GPU have found it to be much faster than its peers powering devices like the Motorola Xoom, or even 2010's first-generation iPad.

With the A5 chip already in mass production for the iPad 2 and the same architecture expected to be utilized in the anticipated fifth-generation iPhone, it's unlikely that Imagination's new "Rogue" graphics processor could appear until at least a so-called "A6" custom Apple processor were to become a reality. The new PowerVR Series6 GPUs are said to be "fully compatible" with Imagination's previous Series5 and Series5XT PowerVR SGX GPUs, which the company said will ensure "a smooth migration path for developers upgrading applications."
post #2 of 37
Great! Look forward to this being used in future products...
post #3 of 37
That would be Steve Balder, Micheal Hell and Al Bore.
Imbedded in the brain?
post #4 of 37
Great! This is gonna fuel even more rumors about an impending upgrade to one of Apple's devices this Autumn.
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post #5 of 37
Why is this even supposed to be news? Or even a rumor for that matter?

Apple regularly updates their chips. Vendors create faster designs for licensees to use.

So why is anyone the least bit surprised that Apple is evaluating faster chips for future systems?
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post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Great! This is gonna fuel even more rumors about an impending upgrade to one of Apple's devices this Autumn.

licensing and a finished product are months apart

apple licensing a new part now means it's about on time for next year's ipad 3. you have to build and test it with the A6, the finished product, FCC approval, etc. just in time for march 2012
post #7 of 37
Correct.

MacRumors has a more detailed post about this topic.

The new design is to be sampled in 2011, meaning a finished product in volume production would come some time in the first half of 2012. Which would be in line with a typical March-April release of the iPad.

Let's face it guys, you aren't getting a Retina Display iPad 3 for Christmas. Ain't gonna happen.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

But is it powerful, all things considered?

Rogue "...delivers over 210 GFLOPS, will exceed 350 million 'real' polygons per second and more than 5 gigapixels per second visible fill rate" (which given POWERVR's deferred rendering architecture results in more than 13 gigapixels per second effective fill rate). More than enough for any iPad3's 2048 x 1536. Sony will use it in the PlayStation 4.

Pushes full HD at 120 fps. Supports all existing APIs plus the next generation of OpenGL ES, OpenVG 1.1 and DirectX10.1.

ST-Ericsson's SoC integrating the Rogue GPU, 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex A15 and a LTE modem has been announced shipping before the end of the year.
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Benchmarks of just the SGX543GPU have found it to be much faster than its peers powering devices like the Motorola Xoom, or even 2010's first-generation iPad.

What? you're telling me the SGX543 is faster than last gen SGX535 GPU? What a shocking news
post #10 of 37
OMG look at them GFLOPS!!! I don't even know what that is, but the number is pretty impressive

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post #11 of 37
The 3 other secret companies are likely to be Apple, Samsung, and LG (LG wants to start making its own custom SoCs like Samsung does).

It's definitely not Qualcomm or nVidia as they make their own GPUs.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

OMG look at them GFLOPS!!! I don't even know what that is, but the number is pretty impressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jobs

One question: What's a megaFLOP?

Five.

Originally posted by Relic

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post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

Considering its size, it is powerful.
Considering its power consumption, it is powerful.

But is it powerful, all things considered?

For its use, it certainly is powerful. imaginations' GPU's have been well ahead of Nvidias' chips for handheld mobile use. We can look to the Tegra 2, which was heralded as being a very powerful SoC as it was coming out. But Apples' A5 proved to be much more powerful in testing similar devices with both SoC's. A great deal of that difference is in the graphics arena, in which Nvidia was expected to have the lead, considering their history.

But as we can often see, being a leader in one area, which is desktop GPU's, in their case, doesn't mean that they will lead in other areas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OccamsAftershave View Post

Rogue "...delivers over 210 GFLOPS, will exceed 350 million 'real' polygons per second and more than 5 gigapixels per second visible fill rate" (which given POWERVR's deferred rendering architecture results in more than 13 gigapixels per second effective fill rate). More than enough for any iPad3's 2048 x 1536. Sony will use it in the PlayStation 4.

Pushes full HD at 120 fps. Supports all existing APIs plus the next generation of OpenGL ES, OpenVG 1.1 and DirectX10.1.

ST-Ericsson's SoC integrating the Rogue GPU, 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex A15 and a LTE modem has been announced shipping before the end of the year.

I don't have the numbers handy for the current GPU. For the iPad 3 to have the same apparent graphics abilities with a screen with four times the pixels, the GPU should be four times as powerful, otherwise, the graphics will actually be slower in those areas where processing power is needed, such as certain games, 3D apps, video and photo editing, etc.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't have the numbers handy for the current GPU. For the iPad 3 to have the same apparent graphics abilities with a screen with four times the pixels, the GPU should be four times as powerful, otherwise, the graphics will actually be slower in those areas where processing power is needed, such as certain games, 3D apps, video and photo editing, etc.

Single SGX543 core is rated for 35million polys/sec, 1Gpixel/sec fillrate (@200MHz) and scales almost linearly with number of cores, so the A5's SGX543MP2 should be ~70m polys/sec, 2Gpixel/sec if they stick with the 200MHz core spec.

Hopefully those numbers for the SGX6xx are "per core" as well, if not then you're looking at ~5x the geometry throughput but only ~2.5x the fillrate throughput of the A5.
post #15 of 37
210 GFLOPs??? Is this per core? The 320M present in my 2010 MBP has only 140! The next-gen iPad will have PS3 level graphics at higher resolutions.... Now gimme some AAA titles and I'd ditch my MBP in a second

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post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

For its use, it certainly is powerful. imaginations' GPU's have been well ahead of Nvidias' chips for handheld mobile use. We can look to the Tegra 2, which was heralded as being a very powerful SoC as it was coming out. But Apples' A5 proved to be much more powerful in testing similar devices with both SoC's. A great deal of that difference is in the graphics arena, in which Nvidia was expected to have the lead, considering their history.

But as we can often see, being a leader in one area, which is desktop GPU's, in their case, doesn't mean that they will lead in other areas.

Mobile graphics is completely different from desktop graphics, it's really nothing like it. Add to that that NVidia's desktop GPU architectures have always emphasized their brute force approach to getting high end performance, and you'll understand why they are really trailing not even just Imagination but also Qualcomm (Adreno). Imagination has invested over a decade of expertise in their tile-based deferred rendering approach, and now that mobile graphics performance is getting big, they are reaping the benefits. I don't think NVidia will catch up, even though they are already trying to make everyone believe they will, hyping their Kal-El chip just like they did with Tegra 2.

Gotta love how all the apple haters have been completely mute about specs and graphics performance since the iPad 2. Months of blathering about specs, graphics performance and how Tegra 2 was going to humiliate the iPad, and now, all of a sudden, it's not important anymore.
post #17 of 37
How long until Apple releases an AppleTV with an A5 and a game controller? Apple has game developers on board with iOS and turning the ATV into a console should be pretty trivial at this point. As opposed the Sony and MSFT who have heavy-duty consoles that also support TV, this would be great for the casual gamer who doesn't really want a full-blown game console.
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Why is this even supposed to be news? Or even a rumor for that matter?

Apple regularly updates their chips. Vendors create faster designs for licensees to use.

So why is anyone the least bit surprised that Apple is evaluating faster chips for future systems?

Dude, it's an Apple news site. We are getting news about the graphics processor that will have enough oomf to power a 10-inch retina display. No one is surprised, but it IS news. Why don't you visit a site about Intel products that doesn't report news about new Intel processors?
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph L View Post

Considering its size, it is powerful.
Considering its power consumption, it is powerful.

But is it powerful, all things considered?

I don't think there's any such thing as "powerful" in the abstract; there is only performance for a given device for a given use.

I would say the recent explosive rise of mobile computing has been predicated on mobile hardware being "powerful enough", in that such devices can run the software people want in a satisfying manner-- that is, smoothly and with good battery life.

It doesn't look like the software/hardware gap is going to be closing any time soon, either, so "good enough" is quickly going to become "excellent", as in "why on earth would you even want to bother with desktop class hardware, whose performance vastly exceeds the what's necessary to run the software you use 99% of the time?"
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post #20 of 37
To put it into perspective, a 300MHZ B&W G3 got ~150 MFlops and if I remember correctly the end of line dual CPU G4s were up to 15 GFlops( with the G5 being...80?)
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morky View Post

How long until Apple releases an AppleTV with an A5 and a game controller? Apple has game developers on board with iOS and turning the ATV into a console should be pretty trivial at this point. As opposed the Sony and MSFT who have heavy-duty consoles that also support TV, this would be great for the casual gamer who doesn't really want a full-blown game console.

I would be not shocked in the least if Apple enabled the aTV2's BT functionality to allow it to pair to the OnLive wireless controller and stream games from that server with iOS 5.

Either way, gaming on aTV is way overdue.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morky View Post

How long until Apple releases an AppleTV with an A5 and a game controller? Apple has game developers on board with iOS and turning the ATV into a console should be pretty trivial at this point. As opposed the Sony and MSFT who have heavy-duty consoles that also support TV, this would be great for the casual gamer who doesn't really want a full-blown game console.

Only a matter of time....
post #23 of 37
Will the iPod Touch get the A5 this fall? I hope so. I also hope Apple makes Garage Band for the iPod Touch this year. It's powerful enough to do it now. The A5 would make it even better.
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

Will the iPod Touch get the A5 this fall? I hope so. I also hope Apple makes Garage Band for the iPod Touch this year. It's powerful enough to do it now. The A5 would make it even better.

Unlike Apple's other App Store apps I'd be surprised if that became a Universal app soon. The others I could see working in 1/8th the display size for I/O but not GarageBand without some very serious changes. For instance, a 3.5" 4:3 display can barely get the 5 strings on the display so to make it for they'd have to be closer than normal and there would have to be a fast and smile method to bring up changes to location along the strings and other settings that wouldn't get in the way. Drums would have to be shrunken or excluded altogether from pages, maybe a swipe could get you to the other size of the set. Same goes for the piano.
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post #25 of 37
Wonder how it compares to the GPUs in Nvidia's Kal-El line.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

210 GFLOPs??? Is this per core? The 320M present in my 2010 MBP has only 140! The next-gen iPad will have PS3 level graphics at higher resolutions.... Now gimme some AAA titles and I'd ditch my MBP in a second

YEAH BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

COMMON APPLE MAKE THE A6 A PS3 AND XBOX360 KILLER. PLEASE. You have everything in place. A decent CPU. A better GPU. An App Store and Game Center system in place. Wireless hookup to an AppleTV with 1080p.

PLEASE SAVE US the no longer viable (to me at least) PC gaming ecosystem and PLEASE SAVE US from AN ANCIENT AND AGING CONSOLE DUOPOLY AND EXPENSIVE GAMES.

IT'S SO CLOSE I CAN SMELL THE FLAMES IGNITING THE GAMING INDUSTRY.

If you are in the gaming industry, I'm sorry but as a consumer this is what I really want.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

Mobile graphics is completely different from desktop graphics, it's really nothing like it. Add to that that NVidia's desktop GPU architectures have always emphasized their brute force approach to getting high end performance, and you'll understand why they are really trailing not even just Imagination but also Qualcomm (Adreno). Imagination has invested over a decade of expertise in their tile-based deferred rendering approach, and now that mobile graphics performance is getting big, they are reaping the benefits. I don't think NVidia will catch up, even though they are already trying to make everyone believe they will, hyping their Kal-El chip just like they did with Tegra 2.

http://blogs.nvidia.com/2011/05/proj...mobile-gaming/

The video looks pretty impressive to me. And this is an unfinished product.

I think they're catching up.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

CONSOLE DUOPOLY

I don't see why more and more people discount Nintendo when the Wii has sold far more than either of the other two consoles this generation.

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post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

http://blogs.nvidia.com/2011/05/proj...mobile-gaming/

The video looks pretty impressive to me. And this is an unfinished product.

I think they're catching up.

While Kal-El demo is impressive indeed, Nvidia has never publish their TDP numbers for Tegra line of CPU. I think Nvidia is missing the mobile boat right now and got real problem to catch up with the competition.
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I don't see why more and more people discount Nintendo when the Wii has sold far more than either of the other two consoles this generation.

Because it's the cheapest, crappest of them too. It's like (forgive the car comparison) a fight between BMW and Audi when some dork comes along and says that Ford sells more cars, thus they RULEZ

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post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

YEAH BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

COMMON APPLE MAKE THE A6 A PS3 AND XBOX360 KILLER. PLEASE. You have everything in place. A decent CPU. A better GPU. An App Store and Game Center system in place. Wireless hookup to an AppleTV with 1080p.

PLEASE SAVE US the no longer viable (to me at least) PC gaming ecosystem and PLEASE SAVE US from AN ANCIENT AND AGING CONSOLE DUOPOLY AND EXPENSIVE GAMES.

IT'S SO CLOSE I CAN SMELL THE FLAMES IGNITING THE GAMING INDUSTRY.

If you are in the gaming industry, I'm sorry but as a consumer this is what I really want.

It'd be SO AWESOME to play Mass Effect 3 on an iPad... :cries:

EDIT: And at 1500p anti-aliasing wouldn't be such a problem!

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post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

Because it's the cheapest, crappest of them too. It's like (forgive the car comparison) a fight between BMW and Audi when some dork comes along and says that Ford sells more cars, thus they RULEZ

So you back up a horribly-researched, subjective argument with a subjective argument. Okay.

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post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morky View Post

How long until Apple releases an AppleTV with an A5 and a game controller? Apple has game developers on board with iOS and turning the ATV into a console should be pretty trivial at this point. As opposed the Sony and MSFT who have heavy-duty consoles that also support TV, this would be great for the casual gamer who doesn't really want a full-blown game console.

I suppose that's a rhetorical question. If any of us knew that, we'd be famous.
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

http://blogs.nvidia.com/2011/05/proj...mobile-gaming/

The video looks pretty impressive to me. And this is an unfinished product.

I think they're catching up.

As was stated in the Ars article about it, Nvidia often has these demos that show blazing speed, but when the actual GPU comes out, it's not so blazing.

The problem with these early demos is that the video is handpicked so that it preforms well. You know how some games work better than others with a given GPU? Well, that's what happens here.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

Because it's the cheapest, crappest of them too. It's like (forgive the car comparison) a fight between BMW and Audi when some dork comes along and says that Ford sells more cars, thus they RULEZ

The new Wii U looks interesting, but it's an odd duck, and it may be expensive.
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I don't see why more and more people discount Nintendo when the Wii has sold far more than either of the other two consoles this generation.

It's a PS3 + Xbox360 console duopoly of the games *I* want to play. Which happens to be the games a lot of people want to play - the so called "hardcore" gamers, "semi-hardcore", "enthusiast" group or whatever you want to call it.

We're talking COD (all of it), ME2/3, Dirt2/3, Duke Nukem, Brink, Alice, God of War, Mortal Kombat, Assassin's Creed, Need For Speed, Dead Space 1/2, etc. etc. (Some of these are good, some are crap, some may be too "childish" for me... the list is just an indication).
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

It'd be SO AWESOME to play Mass Effect 3 on an iPad... :cries:
EDIT: And at 1500p anti-aliasing wouldn't be such a problem!

It would be awesome to have Mass Effect 3 on an iPad3. With cloud sync to back up your save games so you can go back and play different paths, twitter postings on your latest saucy adventures with aliens and so on.

You could play ME3 during breakfast, sneak in a mission during lunch, then maybe hook it up to a HDTV in the evening... Oh the possibilities!

With the iPad3, imagine MMOs. If people are hooked on Farmville now imagine if they could play WoW or Rift or Star Wars: Old Republic on their iPad3 and hook it up to a big screen whenever they wanted. This would be HUGE. UNBELIEVABLY MASSIVE, in fact.

If not the iPad3, the iPad 4 in 2013 will certainly be Triple-A Title Capable™ with RetinaHD™ resolution.
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