Imagination announces PowerVR Series7 GPUs

November 10, 2014 // 11:34 a.m.

Tags: #android-50 #gpu #graphics-processor #imagination #opencl #opengl #opengl-es #powervr #series7xe #series7xt

Imagination Technologies has announced its latest mobile-centric graphics processors, the PowerVR Series7, built on the Rogue architecture and promising considerable grunt with up to 512 arithmetic and logic (ALU) cores.

Best known to readers of a certain vintage for creating the graphics processor that drove Sega's ill-fated but undeniably pretty Dreamcast console, PowerVR reinvented itself as the go-to company for mobile graphics processing. Using a variety of patented technologies, the company claims to be able to render complex scenes in a lower power envelope than its competitors and has recently been making eyes at the desktop and server markets once more with higher-power designs and ray-tracing acceleration boards for professional use.

PowerVR Series7 is based on the company's Rogue architecture, which has previously found its way into, among others, AllWinner, Intel and MediaTek system-on-chip (SoC) designs. In its latest incarnation, the architecture promises considerable performance: its most power-hungry variant, the PowerVR Series7XT GT7900 packs 16 processing clusters and 512 ALU cores to offer up to one teraflop of single-precision compute performance. The company further claims the new design boasts 60 per cent performance gains over the last-generation Series6XT equivalents at the same clock speeds and cluster counts.

As well as improved performance, the new design brings hardware tessellation support for Android 5.0 Lollypop using a provided Android Extension Pack as well as optional DirectX11 support for OEMs looking to build Windows-based devices. For others, there's OpenGL 4.4 support as well as the mobile-centric OpenGL ES 3.1 - both as-yet uncertified, pending official approval by the Khronos Group - while OpenCL 1.2 Full Profile is also provided for anyone wanting to do GPGPU offload onto the chip. Finally, the update adds virtualisation extensions to the Rogue architecture, allowing for boosted security via thread isolation.

The high-end PowerVR Series7XT design is joined by the Series7XE, which updates the architecture with a focus on reducing the size and the power draw required rather than boosting performance. The company claims the bottom-end PowerVR Series7XE GE7400 chip, which features half a shading cluster and 16 ALU cores, is the world's smallest GPU to feature Android Extension Pack support for Android 5.0.

More details of the PowerVR Series 7XE and Series7XT GPUs can be found in their respective announcement posts. Both designs are expected to appear in retail devices late next year.
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