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Apple partner ARM acquires graphics software firm Geomerics

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
In a bid to bolster the graphics capability of its low-power processors, ARM on Friday announced the acquisition of Geomerics, makers of realtime lighting effects technology used in PC and console gaming.

Geomerics
A 3D scene lit with Geomerics Enlighten


Geomerics --?based, like ARM, in Cambridge, England --?is the maker of Enlighten, a product that game companies can integrate into a game's rendering engine to provide dynamic radiosity calculation. Radiosity is a method used to create the effect of "global illumination" -- that is, taking into account not only light beams coming directly from a light source, called "direct illumination," but also the reflection of the beams off of other objects when rendering a 3D scene.

Take, for instance, a room with a single spotlight focused on a prism. To achieve the "beam splitting" effect of the prism with direct illumination would require a second light source within the prim itself. With global illumination, the prism's refraction is calculated based on the light it receives from the spotlight, making for a far more realistic scene.

Enlighten enables rendering engines to create these effects in realtime, an achievement which Geomerics says is an industry first. Enlighten has been used extensively in AAA titles from megapublisher Electronic Arts like Battlefield 3 and 4, and Need for Speed Rivals.

Terms of the deal were not made available, but ARM did say the plan is to allow Geomerics to continue running as a separate company, while at the same time integrating Geomerics intellectual property into future ARM designs.

"Being part of ARM will allow us to accelerate our advanced developments for console and mobile platforms while also providing us with unmatched insights into the platforms and devices of tomorrow," Geomerics COO Chris Doran said in a statement.

ARM, which is best known for its power-sipping CPU designs that sit at the heart of application processors like Apple's A-series chips, has worked to upgrade its processors' graphics capability in recent years in the face of competition from companies like Imagination Technologies and nVidia. Apple's A7, for example, pairs ARM CPU cores with a GPU from Imagination Technologies rather than ARM's own Mali GPU line.
post #2 of 8
"Apple's A7, for example, pairs ARM CPU cores with a GPU from Imagination Technologies"

That's not accurate. Apple licensed ARM's ARMv8 instruction set to create their own custom CPU cores in the A7. Only the A5 and A4 used ARM designed cores.

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Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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post #3 of 8
I think it should be mentioned again for some that don't know, that Apple was instrumental in creating this company in 1990.

According to the Wiki page, "Apple's shareholding had fallen to 14.8% by February 1999" .

I did a quick G-search, and couldn't determine whether they're still a nominal investor or if they've divested themselves and are only a licensee.

Anyone else know?
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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post #4 of 8

They sold off some in the 90's and sold off their remaining investment in 2003.

Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWilliams87 View Post

"Apple's A7, for example, pairs ARM CPU cores with a GPU from Imagination Technologies"

That's not accurate. Apple licensed ARM's ARMv8 instruction set to create their own custom CPU cores in the A7. Only the A5 and A4 used ARM designed cores.

Interesting...  I didn't know that they only use the ARM instruction set for compatibility on top of their own cores design.

Wow, the A7 is really a different beast.  No wonder it blows everything else away.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWilliams87 View Post

"Apple's A7, for example, pairs ARM CPU cores with a GPU from Imagination Technologies"

That's not accurate. Apple licensed ARM's ARMv8 instruction set to create their own custom CPU cores in the A7. Only the A5 and A4 used ARM designed cores.

Interesting...  I didn't know that they only use the ARM instruction set for compatibility on top of their own cores design.

Wow, the A7 is really a different beast.  No wonder it blows everything else away.

 

Actually ARM only licenses designs, there is no ARM chip, they are ALL fab'd by others. Apple licensed the core then did some cutting out of a bunch of stuff they did not need and replaced some other stuff like the power mgmt stuff and other proprietary technology. So it uses an ARM core design but supplements it heavily. 

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post
 

 

Actually ARM only licenses designs, there is no ARM chip, they are ALL fab'd by others. Apple licensed the core then did some cutting out of a bunch of stuff they did not need and replaced some other stuff like the power mgmt stuff and other proprietary technology. So it uses an ARM core design but supplements it heavily. 

That's actually not true. ARM also license their ISA as well as their CPU design. In this case, Apple simply licensed the ISA; the ARMv8. They didn't license a CPU core at all, nor did they reference it. It was designed by Apple in house. They are similar to Qualcomm in this respect as opposed to NVIDIA, Samsung, and Texas Instruments, all of which do use ARM CPUs.

 

The older A5 and A4 did in fact use ARM CPUs however: the Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A8 respectively. That isn't the case with the A6, A6X or A7.

Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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Paul Thurrott on iPad (2010): "Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

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post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWilliams87 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post
 

 

Actually ARM only licenses designs, there is no ARM chip, they are ALL fab'd by others. Apple licensed the core then did some cutting out of a bunch of stuff they did not need and replaced some other stuff like the power mgmt stuff and other proprietary technology. So it uses an ARM core design but supplements it heavily. 

That's actually not true. ARM also license their ISA as well as their CPU design. In this case, Apple simply licensed the ISA; the ARMv8. They didn't license a CPU core at all, nor did they reference it. It was designed by Apple in house. They are similar to Qualcomm in this respect as opposed to NVIDIA, Samsung, and Texas Instruments, all of which do use ARM CPUs.

 

The older A5 and A4 did in fact use ARM CPUs however: the Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A8 respectively. That isn't the case with the A6, A6X or A7.

 

My point, although I did not clarify about the entire history, was that ARM is not selling a chip (i.e., silicon) but was selling the "blueprints" if you will and that Apple took that design (for the earlier series - did not realize the change for >= A6) lopped off things like serial ports, parallel ports, extra USB ports and a whole slew of other stuff and substituted their own power management as well as other optimizations (e.g., graphics). The combination of this made it quite different than anything else out there and is one of the reasons Apple runs earlier designs still at much lower speeds than the competition - the result being good performance while sipping power with fewer cores at roughly half the clock speed of the competition. I did not intend anything but generalizations about what IIMHO is a masterful advantage with style instead of the competitions brute force approach (lots of cores) at higher clock speeds sucking batteries like a hog at the trough.

 

I yield to your more up to date explanation. Happy holidays.

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