Imagination Technologies comes back from the dead

Imagination Technologies wants to have a crack at putting the fear of god into Nvidia and AMD in the graphics card industry.

For the last decade the graphics space has been dominated by Nvidia and AMD. For a while it looked Imagination Technologies might establish itself as a third option but this did not happen. The company’s tile-based rendering solution, Kyro, failed to gain much mass-market support and has slid from view.

Now Imagination Technologies wants back in but rather than building expensive discrete solutions, IT is focused on deploying GPUs.

Hot Hardware noticed that Imagination Technologies has announced new, higher-end versions of its Power VR Series 6 GPU. And asked the outfit what it was playing at.

It was told that PowerVR G6230 and G6430 were being designed to go “‘all out’ in the GPU market to make a splash.

It is the usual sort of maximum performance minimising power consumption stuff we hear every time a chip comes out these days. In fact we would be impressed if someone wrote on a press release

“slower than sales of a Gary Glitter album and uses more juice than Alexander the Great.”

Anyway PowerVR uses a new ray-tracing SDK out and is using GPU Compute and OpenCL to offload and accelerate CPU-centric tasks.

The chips are made by TSMC at the 28nm node.

The company sadi that PowerVR D4500MP and E4500MP increase the performance for decode and encode of full HD 1080P video applications, the company claims.

The moves show how serious the company is at taking on GPU providers.

Nvidia and Qualcomm both have their own GPUs to showcase with Windows RT when it launches.

However it looks like Texas Instruments has signed up to PowerVR for Windows 8. Intel also uses PowerVR for both Medfield and for upcoming tablets.

It seems that Imagination Technologies have worked out that that while its tile-based rendering is rubbish for PCs it is ideal for mobile/low-power products, mostly because it uses much less electricity.

AMD and Nvidia have to use various tricks to reduce the amount pixels that are shaded but never displayed but tile-based renderers don’t suffer from that at all. Suddenly Imagination Technologies has a technology advantage it did not have ten years ago and can push itself as a number three.

Apple owns a chunk of Imagination.