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Friday, January 08, 2010, 09:45 am PT (12:45 pm ET)

Imagination Technologies reveals future iPhone GPU candidate

Imagination Technologies, the graphics chip maker of which Apple is a part owner, announced Friday its new PowerVR SGX545 mobile GPU, which could appear in future handheld devices from Apple.

The new mobile GPU adds full support for OpenGL 3.2 and OpenCL 1.0. The real-world performance is said to deliver 40 million polygons per second at 200MHz. It is capable of producing content on a screen with a high-definition resolution, and giving a high framerate for rendered 3D content.

"Combining our many years of experience in the embedded, mobile and PC-based DirectX graphics worlds, PowerVR SGX 545 takes the possibilities of hand-held graphics to a new level by delivering a full DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.x feature set as well as delivering GPU powered OpenCL heterogeneous parallel processing capabilities for the mobile and embedded markets," said Tony King-Smith, VP of marketing with Imagination.

"This makes PowerVR SGX545 a compelling solution for application processor SoC designers targeting the next generation of netbook and MID mobile products demanding exceptional graphics capabilities."

The full list of features in the new PowerVR SGX545, according to Imagination, include:

  • DirectX10.1 API support
  • Enhanced support for DirectX10 Geometry Shaders
  • DirectX10 Data assembler support (Vertex, primitive and instance ID generation)
  • Render target resource array support
  • Full arbitrary non power of two texture support
  • Full filtering support for F16 texture types
  • Support for all DirectX10 mandated texture formats
  • Sampling from unresolved MSAA surfaces
  • Support for Gamma on output pixels
  • Order dependent coverage based AA (anti-aliased lines)
  • Enhanced line rasterisation

The new GPU's support for full profile OpenCL 1.0 also adds a number of advanced features, including:

  • Support of round-to-nearest for floating-point math
  • Full 32-bit integer support (includes add, multiply and divide)
  • 64-bit integer emulation
  • 3D texture support
  • Support for the maximum 2D and 3D image sizes specified in the full profile.

Released last June, the iPhone 3GS includes a PowerVR SGX GPU core believed to be the SGX535 model. It gave the handset OpenGL ES 2.0 support, allowing more advanced 3D rendering. The SGX536 can producde 28 million polygons per second.

In 2008, AppleInsider reported that Apple purchased a 3 percent stake in Imagination Technologies Group, maker of the PowerVR mobile graphics hardware. Last June, the Mac maker bumped its stake to 9.5 percent. Apple is also a licensee of the company's technology.