Due in no small part to their inclusion in Apple's iPhone, the PowerVR-series mobile GPUs have emerged as one of Imagination's most important products. The company created an ecosystem of 40,000 developers, we already know that it's shipping in a great many smartphones and tablets. The Series 5 and 5XT "SGX" GPUs, in particular, are part of more than 100 upcoming devices.
PowerVR Series 6 "Rogue" GPUs
Of course, no showcase of PowerVR would be complete without an appearance from the next-generation Series 6 "Rogue" GPUs. The Rogues are currently shipping in four SoCs, and will be featured in another 20 that are currently either in the production or development stages.
First announced in May 2013, Imagination is working with TSMC on the development of its Series 6 GPUs. Last week, the company specified that the partnership is focusing on highly optimised IP libraries and fully characterised reference system designs for Imagination’s IP cores on TSMC’s 28HPM (which is 28 nm high-performance mobile computing-optimized) and 16 nm FinFET processes.
According to the company's press material, initial results from the collaboration include a claimed 25 percent performance improvement to the GPU core, with certain blocks demonstrating up to a 30 percent increase over the existing design. We don't have any benchmarks to back those speed-ups, but Imagination says it'll formally demonstrate the results using a test chip later this year.
It was also revealed that future Rogue GPUs will include Ray Tracing technology via a Hardware Ray Tracing Unit (RTU) to allow for the dynamic handling of lighting effects. In addition to potential benefits to realism, Imagination says the RTU will help enable no-compromise GPU compute, as the graphics core handles rendering and general-purpose processing. The addition of this feature is a direct reflection of Imagination's view that the GPU is the coming decade's silicon process driver, will occupy up to 50 percent of leading-edge SoCs, and offer performance that scales linearly with area. Sounds like the opinion of a few other companies we cover...
PowerVR Series 6 Ray Tracing
Fully implemented, Imagination projects that these features will allow the PowerVR Series 6 GPUs to lead the mobile GPU space, offering computational power ranging from the 100 GFLOPS cores that are currently available to 1 TFLOPS cores that will arrive in the near future.
PowerVR Series 4 VPUs
The PowerVR Series 4 VPUs aim to meet the ever-increasing demands for streaming video, allowimg for the transmission of 4K content without obscene bandwidth requirements, it says. To this end, the VPUs offer support for H.265 and HEVC, 10-bit color, and configurable hardware that is currently rated for 1080p/60 HD decode in 28HPM with a power consumption of under 10 mW.