Introduction To Imagination Technologies
Headquartered in the UK, Imagination Technologies was founded in 1985 under the name VideoLogic. The company started out by focusing on graphics, sound acceleration, home audio systems, video capture, and video conferencing systems. A year after it went public in 1995, VideoLogic started licensing its PowerVR GPU IP to NEC, and by 1997, NEC owned 3.5% of the company.
Realizing what a lucrative business it had discovered, VideoLogic refocused on licensing intellectual property products in 1999, changing its name to Imagination Technologies.
In the next couple of years, Imagination started expanding. It acquired Ensigma and Cross Products Limited, two companies that were working on digital signal processing technology. In 2006, Imagination won a big-name client, Intel, which then proceeded to use the PowerVR graphics IP in its Atom processors.
Just two years later, Imagination won another big customer called Apple. The partnership with Apple has been Imagination’s most profitable business, since its revenues grew along with the popularity of iPhones and iPads. Those devices were using PowerVR-sourced GPUs from the beginning.
Imagination has acquired several more companies in the past few years, but two of the more notable ones are Caustic Graphics, a developer of real-time ray tracing graphics technology, which led to Imagination’s launch of the “Wizard” hybrid GPU, and MIPS Technologies, which could help Imagination become a major player in the CPU space, too.
IP Product Categories
Currently, Imagination offers multiple IP products, including most of what a chip-maker would need to build its own SoC. This includes: CPU cores, GPU cores, the imaging signal processor, audio engine, RPU (radio processing unit), VPU (video encoding and decoding accelerator), and an NPU (for networking and security).
All of that technology is internal to an SoC. However, the company also sells IP products that are external, such as: 2G/3G/4G modems, power management microcontrollers, GLONASS microcontrollers, as well as smart card microcontrollers.
Imagination seems intent on becoming a “one-stop shop” for platform designers, perhaps even more so than ARM, which so far has been mainly focused on CPU and GPU cores, security modules, and only recently started selling designs for video accelerators with the arrival of Mali-V500.
While Imagination is known for offering IP products in the graphics market, it’s also involved in automotive, wearables, home entertainment (smart TV, consoles, etc), networking, and computer vision.
Imagination is optimizing its products for each market's individual needs. For example, the high-end mobile space requires exceptional performance and cutting-edge features, while the wearable market needs smaller processors and more targeted feature sets.
By offering its customers exactly what they want without any excess features, Imagination hopes to offer more sensible pricing than its competitors, while simultaneously making it easier to deal with a wider array of specific space and power constraints.
The only one who can change tide is Intel bat with a cost of losing monopoly & moving away from it's x86 architecture (which to start with whose bad). Intel is currently more on a self destruct path then considering to adapt MIPS. How ever they are more than interested in a Imagination GPUs.
Problem with Warrior is that 64 bit design is not still presented & ARM will soon present second generation design. Somehow this is ironically on many ways as Intel and MIPS both have 64 bit instruction sets for very long time now & they didn't really used this advantage over ARM. Second point of irony is that Intel is responsible that MIPS is not more largely adopted & spread in the first place & that many core architecture is far from user space, otherwise we cold had all of this ten years ago.
We will see what (close) future will bring us.
In those days talking about an Intel CPU in a Mainframe would be something of a joke.
Let's see if Imagination will be able to create a new breed of technology worthy of it's name and history.
This represents the real free (of any manufacturing fee) hardware & it's literary opened & bare metal (as all architecture is open sourced). It comes from same chantry that is home to ARM and Imagination technology. For now I would say that the Cambridge boy's are more than on a right track with: hard & wide isa, in order CPUs & FPGA integration.
Considering it dominated all the other socs in gpu tests at anandtech, I'll wait to see what 6650 can do vs. K1 before I believe anything in a chart where they don't even name the competitors.
Considering it beat ipad air and mini by 2.5x I won't hold my breath about perf here. Ipad air has a 6430 IIRC. Are there any devices with 6450/6650 or 6500 benchmarked yet? 6450 looks the same (ops and clusters) as 6430, so this won't do squat. So I guess I'm only asking about the 6650 or 6500. Manhattan offscreen 31.7 for kepler and 13 for both mini and ipad air. I don't see how rogue6 catches them.
In January Anandtech said this:
"In which case Series6XT equipped SoCs would start appearing in 2015, likely in the latter half."
If that's the case it will be facing Maxwell 20nm (likely June/July) which is truly designed for mobile period and scaled to desktops after. They only added 2 clusters (up from 4 to 6) and as anandtech says not even going wider, so just the extra clusters really.
"Imagination is scaling up performance internally, we’re not seeing them go with outright wider GPUs for the Series6XT family (at least not yet). So Series6XT’s performance improvements will come from these internal changes, including performance optimizations and any wider blocks within."
That doesn't sound like it will even double perf and they look like they'd need a triple to catch Kepler let alone maxwell 20nm later. Also S810 is only supposed to be 30% faster than S805 in gpu so again, will be well behind kepler also. NV has tablets to themselves for a while. Google isn't going with them for nothing and others will likely follow. Denver should be more power efficient than K1 A15rp3. The cpu side is in house with denver, so either you do better on power or IMHO you have failed at making a cpu...LOL.
Apparently targeting ES3.0 and unity 4.0?
There is a tag here of 3.1, but no mention in the post and this is last month. NV's K1 however already runs it and is aimed at unity5 and unreal 4 (should be, it's a desktop chip).
In the release notes they say this:
New: OpenGL ES 3.0 SDKs for iOS and Android.
New: OpenGL ES 3.1 SDK for Windows and Linux emulation.
When will it be OUT of emulation and part of the SDK period, like the mention the 3.0 is? To me it seems they are quite a bit behind NV, and not sure when anyone will be getting full OpenGL 4.4 as toms notes above. NV is now ahead in perf by a long ways and feature set which should sell some units especially now that we know it gets 11.5-13hrs in a chromebook with a 3200mah battery and 13.3in screen. Not bad.
Acer with Haswell 2955 says 8.5hr for 3950mah, but only 11.6in and 1366x768.
4GB 32GB SSD 13.3in K1 model still gets 11.5hrs and 45w psu, same 3220mah battery.
Acer K1 13in with 1080p, 3220mah but 11.5hr. I think haswell 2955 loses based on the specs. Intel, PowerVR and Qcom all seem behind now. Denver should improve things more in Nov as it drops the 4+1 A15, for plain dual core @2.5ghz and is in house.
Having said that, with 20nm versions not far away from everyone, I'll wait for any tablet/chromebook or even a shield device ;) That will be an impressive jump for everyone and should be a huge leap for games across the board as I believe even the junkers should catch K1 at 20nm. Of course NV will get the 20nm bump also, just saying the low-end should allow everyone to play K1 type games too which is great for android gaming. 20nm should mean we see a billion units sold with pretty close to K1 type gpu power. This in turn should mean they don't have to aim so dang low on games, as the common denominator should be K1 level roughly (maybe only mid-range and up, but then again that in itself is a huge market anyway). Either way 20nm means android gaming is moving on up :) Die consoles die. ;) 14nm should put the final nail in them I hope, and they'll only have ~25-30mil (if that at the pace they're slowing to) in the market vs. 1.2B+ mobile devices sold YEARLY. I can't see how console will survive that as devs will just run to mobile even more than now as GDC already shows.
Despite of VMs, many apps use native codes for performance and power advantages.
Also Android is not everything. They need to attract other Corps (such as Microsoft - back to Windows NT on MIPS).