Imagination unveils 192-core mobile GPU potentially bound for future Apple iPhones, iPads

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited February 2014
Imagination Technologies, the company whose PowerVR graphics processors are a key component of Apple's iOS devices, unveiled its latest creation on Monday: a 192-core GPU that it claims will produce the most powerful graphics yet in mobile phones and tablets.

Imagination


The new intellectual property chip design, dubbed the PowerVR GX6650, was revealed at the Mobile World Congress industry event in Barcelona, Spain. Imagination's mobile GPU design will be embedded in upcoming mobile processors with integrated graphics.

Apple's custom A-series chips that power the iPhone and iPad use PowerVR graphics processors. Apple's latest flagship silicon, the A7 CPU found in the iPad Air and iPhone 5s, uses Imagination's PowerVR Series 6 graphics.

Imagination said on Monday that the new PowerVR GX6650 is the "shining star" of its PowerVR Series6XT family of graphics processors. It has also heralded the design as the most powerful GPU IP core available on the market today, besting Nvidia's upcoming Tegra K1 platform.

Imagination


The PowerVR GX6650 has six unified shading clusters and 192 cores, allowing it to process 12 pixels per clock, a number Imagination says is triple that of its competitors. The new high-end mobile graphics chip is aimed at processors in high-end, high-resolution tablets or 4K smart TVs.

Imagination also said that power consumption on the latest PowerVR has been kept low, even with all the additional horsepower. Power efficiency is managed by the PowerGearing G6XT included in the GPU, while PVR3C optimally compresses textures, frame buffers and geometry.

Apple and Imagination Technologies announced earlier this month that the two companies had extended their mobile graphics deal, signaling that the company's designs would likely continue to be a part of future iPhone and iPad custom processors. PowerVR S-series chips have powered every Apple mobile device since the third-generation iPhone 3GS.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    am I the only one around here that thinks Imagination is better buy than Tesla? am I the only one who wants PowerVR to be Apple exclusive?
  • Reply 2 of 47
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Am I supposed to be impressed? I'm sure it is the greatest thing ever in the history of mobile graphics, but I'm pretty certain not a single person will notice.

    Graphics have always been excellent on iOS.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,166member
    Anand posted up more technical details earlier today:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7793/imaginations-powervr-rogue-architecture-exposed
  • Reply 4 of 47
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Nice! Now let's see some OpenCL support!
  • Reply 5 of 47
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,638member
    Qualcomm announced a quad-core 64-bit CPU but what mobile OS can use it in anything other that 32-bit mode and 1 or 2 cores at a time? My hope is that Imagination's 192 core GPU would be fully usable by iOS and possibly OS X(?). If it isn't, then all they're doing is playing the spec game, something Apple doesn't need to do.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    Apple already owns part of Imagination. Don't see what apple would gain by buying the rest. They don't need to own the IP. Just license it and get advanced access, etc.
  • Reply 7 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EricCalabros View Post



    am I the only one around here that thinks Imagination is better buy than Tesla? am I the only one who wants PowerVR to be Apple exclusive?


     

    I don't think Apple has any intention to buy Tesla - they just want to partner with them for their battery technology - but I do agree that Imagination would be a good acquisition.

  • Reply 8 of 47
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    am I the only one around here that thinks Imagination is better buy than Tesla?

    Apple isn't buying Tesla.
  • Reply 9 of 47
    neilmneilm Posts: 900member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Imagination also said that power consumption on the latest PowerVR has been kept low, even with all the additional horsepower.

     

    That's vague bordering on meaningless.

  • Reply 10 of 47

    And again, as usual, Nvidia is owned.

     

    Tegra 1: Shit, no one used it.

    Tegra 2: Shit, no one used it.

    Tegra 3: Shit, only Asus was stupid enough to use it on those nexus.

    Tegra 4: Surface.

    k1: Who cares.

     

    in each and every one of those SoC Nvidia promised the world... Remember the reaction when the a5 (or 6) crushed it?

  • Reply 11 of 47
    rob53 wrote: »
    Qualcomm announced a quad-core 64-bit CPU but what mobile OS can use it in anything other that 32-bit mode and 1 or 2 cores at a time? My hope is that Imagination's 192 core GPU would be fully usable by iOS and possibly OS X(?). If it isn't, then all they're doing is playing the spec game, something Apple doesn't need to do.


    Rest assured that this will be proclaimed as the iPhone killer by a certain contingent of the population.
  • Reply 12 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post



    Am I supposed to be impressed? I'm sure it is the greatest thing ever in the history of mobile graphics, but I'm pretty certain not a single person will notice.



    Graphics have always been excellent on iOS.

     

    That's because Apple keep up with technology. If they were using the same GPU from iPhone  3GS in the 5S, things would look pretty bad. As it's stated in the article, this would make a difference at 4k resolutions - which should be very demanding for existing GPUs.
  • Reply 13 of 47
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,435member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricCalabros View Post



    am I the only one around here that thinks Imagination is better buy than Tesla? am I the only one who wants PowerVR to be Apple exclusive?

     

    It could be that Imagination has long term licensing deals with Apple's competitors and that Apple would have to honor those deals. That might make buying Imagination seem less appealing to Apple. 

     

    Another strategy might be to do with Imagination IP what Apple does with ARM IP --- license key aspects of the IP, but then take that and build something far better than what other licensees are building. To accomplish that Apple just needs to patiently build up an internal GPU team that can beat what others are doing. They did it with the CPU -- they might be able to do the same with the GPU. 

  • Reply 14 of 47
    solid foundation for future 3D features ...
  • Reply 15 of 47
    And again, as usual, Nvidia is owned.

    Tegra 1: Shit, no one used it.
    Tegra 2: Shit, no one used it.
    Tegra 3: Shit, only Asus was stupid enough to use it on those nexus.
    Tegra 4: Surface.
    k1: Who cares.

    in each and every one of those SoC Nvidia promised the world... Remember the reaction when the a5 (or 6) crushed it?

    So, how does the new Imagination GPU compared to any of those water-cooled desktop gamer cards??? Enquiring minds want to know.
  • Reply 16 of 47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

     
    Rest assured that this will be proclaimed as the iPhone killer by a certain contingent of the population.


     

    Google wants to kill the iPhone because they don't want Apple to get all of their Advertising money.  But Apple will never die and Apple makes more profits!

     

    Every phone that comes out is going to be an iPhone killer if you believe those "reporters" but the iPhone is stronger than ever with China Mobile selling to all of their hundreds of millions of customers that is going to make Google sit up and BEG!

     

    Everybody always says that the iPhone is killed, but the reports are always exaggerated.

  • Reply 17 of 47

    Apple will need that added GPU horsepower for that 14 inch larger iPhone with 9999 dpi screen resolution they have to release to keep up with all the Androids.  

     

    Or maybe they will add it to the Apple TV and make it capable of playing video games?

  • Reply 18 of 47
    19831983 Posts: 1,224member
    Maybe this is the GPU that's going to be in the next Apple TV? That would give something for Sony and Microsoft to worry about!
  • Reply 19 of 47
    This is awesome but unless you code your program to use those cores they simply don't mean jack sh**!
    However, if you do create a program that uses all those cores expect to tax the hell out of that battery. IMHO. What do I know.
  • Reply 20 of 47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post





    So, how does the new Imagination GPU compared to any of those water-cooled desktop gamer cards??? Enquiring minds want to know.

     

    From the article linked above...

     

    Finally, to throw in a true desktop comparison for the fun of it, we also put NVIDIA’s Kepler based GTX 650 in the chart. Clockspeeds aside, the best case scenario for even GX6650 is that it achieves half the shading throughput as GTX 650. The ROP throughput gap on the other hand is narrower (but GTX 650 will easily have 2x the memory bandwidth) and the texture throughput gap is nearly 3x wider. In practice it would be difficult to imagine the GX6650 being any closer than about 40% of the GTX 650’s performance, once again owing to the massive memory bandwidth difference between an SoC and a discrete GPU.

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