8th January 2007

Imagination Technologies Reveals Extended PowerVR SGX Graphics & Video Core Family

Shader-based Programmable GPU IP for Consumer, Automotive and PC Devices


Imagination Technologies a leading supplier of licensable graphics technologies announces three new cores in its PowerVR SGX IP core family.

The PowerVR SGX 535 core is targeted at portable, consumer and automotive devices. PowerVR SGX 545 and 555 target advanced consumer devices and PC, laptop and desktop products.

The PowerVR SGX Programmable Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) IP core family is part of Imagination’s PowerVR Series5 scalable and fully programmable shader graphics/video architecture which also includes the PowerVR SGX 510, 520 and 530 cores for mobile devices, previously announced.

PowerVR SGX first sample silicon is being demonstrated at CES 2007. The PowerVR SGX 530 and 535 IP cores are available now with SGX 520 and 545 following in the first and second half of ’07 respectively. Other cores on the roadmap include PowerVR SGX 510 and 555.

PowerVR SGX is a comprehensive graphics solution which, along with an industry-leading 3D graphics feature set that exceeds Khronos’ OpenGL 2.0 shader and Microsoft Vertex and Pixel Shader Model 3 requirements, also supports a full range of key video codecs and OpenVG 2D vector graphics acceleration.

Says Hossein Yassaie, CEO, Imagination Technologies: “”PowerVR SGX is already the leading graphics solution for devices targeting the OpenGL ES 2.0, or equivalent, specification. The introduction of these new family members extends the reach of PowerVR SGX into new market areas, such as mobile and desktop computing, and shows the inherent scalability of our patented tile based, deferred rendering architecture.””

PowerVR SGX cores have already been licensed by several of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers with over six partner SoCs now in development.

PowerVR SGX: Shader Power in Small Silicon Area
Shaders are advanced effects applied to the graphics image which enable more realistic and impressive images to be created. Unlike traditional 3D rendering, shaders are programmable, enabling the content developers’ creativity to become the defining factor on how a game, user interface (UI) or application looks. For example, different shaders could make the same basic game content look either photo-realistic or cartoon-like depending on the shaders used. Shaders are critical for the next generation of advanced user interfaces.

PowerVR SGX offers more ‘real’ delivered performance than competitors, taking into account that SGX far exceeds any competition in its minimization of memory bandwidth and maximization of tolerance to system level latency and load balancing.

In a highly integrated SoC, containing graphics, CPU, communications and other functions, the ability to minimise bandwidth and maximise latency tolerance is extremely valuable as there are many competing processing functions.

PowerVR SGX’s shaders are executed in parallel in the multi-threaded architecture which massively improves system latency tolerance as different shaders can be scheduled based on data availability.

PowerVR SGX’s patented tiled-based deferred rendering and multi-threaded Universal Scalable Shading Engine (USSE) keep graphics processing on chip and are critical in ensuring that the PowerVR SGX GPU architecture can deliver optimal performance from any given silicon area or memory system while minimising power consumption by avoiding unnecessary processing. This advantage is growing more significant given the trends in programmable shaders to have considerable ‘per pixel’ operations that could indeed be ‘deferred’ (considered invisible).

Video Performance
The parallel, multi-threaded PowerVR SGX architecture combines highly scalable processing power with the flexibility of a programmable device, which enables SGX to perform not only 2D and 3D acceleration but also acceleration of an extensive range of video standards. PowerVR SGX family video/image decode and encode processing support includes H.264, MPEG-4/2, VC-1 (WMV9), JPEG and others.

PowerVR SGX enables great graphics while providing a cost effective solution for video functions when the graphics are not required to run at full speed, or only modest video decode capabilities are required. This removes the need for a separate video codec in devices designed to offer both graphics and video capabilities.

PowerVR SGX’s video capabilities match the requirements of mobile video specifications such as 3GPP, ISMA and key mobile TV standards and can be used to provide the video codec function within a mobile phone from CIF up to QVGA and VGA resolutions on PowerVR SGX mobile cores (SGX 510, 520, 530), depending on clock speed and standard.

For in-car and consumer applications the PowerVR SGX 535, 545 and 555 cores can reach full-frame rate playback at up to HD resolutions, depending on clock speed and standard, removing significant video processing load from the host CPU.

Says Hossein Yassaie: “”;Given the programmability of this architecture video was designed into PowerVR SGX from the outset to address the needs of the embedded system requirements, whether in mobile, in-car or consumer entertainment products. Support for the acceleration of the wide range of codecs required for advanced phone, mobile TV and PMP devices and the flexibility of PowerVR SGX to offer video and graphics as well as features such as camera anti-shake or post processing and still image decode/enhancement make it the natural choice for devices combining the full spectrum of visual functions.””;

For devices requiring full end-to-end SD or HD decode at the highest profiles, rather than partial acceleration, or combined full-speed video and graphics, PowerVR SGX can be integrated with Imagination’s PowerVR VXD370 HD video decoder core or other solutions from the PowerVR Visual IP range.

Compatible with market leading embedded graphics
Backward compatibility with Imagination’s PowerVR MBX, the leading mobile 3D graphics technology, is a major advantage of PowerVR SGX, given the existing products, customer base and the growing ecosystem around PowerVR. Imagination Technologies has taken considerable steps in PowerVR SGX to ensure backward compatibility of content and tools.

PowerVR MBX, licensed by many of the world’s top semiconductor companies including Intel, Texas Instruments, Renesas, Freescale, Samsung, and NXP, has established PowerVR as the leading mobile and embedded graphics technology of choice. This existing technology is powering the vast majority of hardware 3D-enabled handsets (over 40 available to date) and car navigation systems.

Ecosystem support
Like PowerVR MBX, PowerVR SGX is fully supported with the PowerVR Insider ecosystem, the market-leading technical support and co-marketing program.

Imagination Technologies has one of the largest and most experienced teams in embedded and mobile graphics in the world, with close to 200 people focused on the development of the IP and the support of the ecosystem. An initial OpenGL ES 2.0 SDK is available now to lead PowerVR Insider members.

About Imagination Technologies
Imagination Technologies Group plc a leader in SoC IP develops, licenses and supplies market-leading graphics, video and display cores, real-time multi-threaded DSP/RISC processors and communication and broadcast technologies for the mobile, consumer, automotive and PC markets. It supplies licensable IP (Intellectual Property) supported by advanced development tools to leading semiconductor and consumer electronics companies worldwide. Imagination Technologies Group plc has its corporate headquarters in the United Kingdom and offices in the US, Japan, Korea ad Taiwan and is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange (FTSE:IMG).


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