Imagination, a former GPU developer for Apple, released a new graphics chip under the name of IMG A-series to collide with competitors like Qualcomm Adreno, ARM Mali, Huawei Kirin and Apple.
Currently, we only see MediaTek, Unisoc, Allwinner, Rockchip still using the Imagination PowerVR graphics chip (but maybe not always. As the latest MediaTek Dimensity 1000 5G SoC chip instead uses the latest ARM Mali graphics chip)
Imagination itself doesn’t have many options at this time. Aside from pushing a high performance processor chip that aside from being sold in the mobile industry May also include portable computers that use an ARM processor chip such as a Chromebook. The main graphics processing chip And have to do three things Is efficiency Energy used And the speed that can be done Because today, aside from we use graphics chips to process games and images on the screen We also use these chips for Machine Learning and AI processing.
The Imagination identified with the clock speed of the A-Series models with the same PowerVR is more powerful than the current 2.5 times faster processing and artificial intelligence 8x, while using 60% less energy.
The top model at the moment is the IMG AXT 64-2048, which will have the power of 2.0 TFLOPS 64 Gpixels and 8 TOPS for AI processing, which is quite powerful for use on a Chromebook or an integrated GPU for the server.
For the descending version is
- IMG AXT 48-1536 (1.5 TFLOPS, 48 Gpixels, 6 TOPS)
- IMG AXT 32-1024 (1.0 TFLOPS, 32 Gpixels, 4 TOPS)
- IMG AXM 8-256 (256 GFLOPS, 8 Gpixels)
- IMG AX 2-16 (16 GFLOPS, 2 Gpixels)
- IMG AX 1-16 (16 GFLOPS, 1 Gpixels)
Although IMG AX 1-16 has a lot of specifications that are far from the top, Imagination says it is the strongest graphics processor that supports Vulkan in the budget.
IMG A-Series supports new technologies such as Pro-Active DVFS (Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling) and Deadline Scheduling. When not in use, it causes the graphics processing cores to shut down. Or reduce the speed to save energy
The internal chip design has changed a lot from the PowerVR series, with processors turning to FMA (Fused multiply and Add) calculations, always multiplying before adding to the processing step in C. The PowerVR series has a total of 32 FMAs in the Logical Component (called the ALU – Arithmetic Logic Unit), while the A-series has increased the number of ALU to 128.
There is also a new Imagination technology created by HyperLane, which allows hardware to divide its own memory. Enabling work to be sent to the GPU and divided into sections for mutlitasking easily. It can be divided according to the capabilities of the core CPU or dynamically divided according to the number of tasks as well. Such as work on the screen inside the car will have the least amount of processing power. While the artificial intelligence system that drives the car will have almost all the processing power instead
Imagination uses a microprocessor. The architecture does not share all the work with the GPU. In the past, Imagination used MIPS to do this. But on this chip needs a better leap forward performance Makes it unlikely to use MIPS and since in the past 12 months Imagination has relationships with many RISC-V companies. Causing it to be expected to use chips Microprocessor with RISC-V or MIPS – RISCV hybrid
Another matter is the transmission of information. The less data sent Only saves more power, so most GPUs use compression to send data Causing less information than it should be The larger the data First compressing and then delivering will save more energy than uncompressed. Imagination uses PVRIC 4.1 to compress image data. Which guarantees that the data is at least 50% smaller regardless of the type of data Resulting in a significant reduction in power consumption
Imagination says that we will see a SoC processor chip that uses this A-Series graphics chip in the near future. Nowadays, many chip makers have bought licenses. Expected to see from the beginning of 2020 onwards and next year there will be a new series called B-Series, which will be about 30% better than before, and Will support future graphic processing in the world that exists today, but only on PC video cards like Ray Tracing
Imagination will be able to return to the graphics processing chip industry. Or find a partner again or not, or Qualcomm, ARM, Kirin will continue to dominate the market. Although Imagination can push out better graphics, since it is a ready-made SoC that does not require much customization. We should see a clearer picture at the beginning of next year onwards.