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Imagination focuses on secure, differentiated IP platforms

Posted: 31 Mar 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Imagination Technologies? OmniShield? PowerVR? video encoder? HEVC?

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series that takes an in-depth look at Imagination Technologies, its technology and products, its markets as well as its partners. The company afforded ring-side seats at the Imagination Summit to editors at EE Times China. The series is the result of editors' conversations with Imagination executives.

Considered the third largest IP supplier, Imagination Technologies' product portfolio covers PowerVR, MIPS, Ensigma and FlowCloud technologies. The companies working with Imagination take advantage of the Imagination's proprietary low-power, high-performance processor IP cores. The IP, according to the company, is aimed at helping SoC designers, OEMs and developers break design bottlenecks in consumer and industrial electronics and solve conventional design limitations of various products.

Imagination displayed several of its key products and tools at its Technology Forum in Shanghai last year and here's an in-depth look at them.

PowerVR GPU IP powers wearables to servers

Embedded GPU application is expanding from phones and tablets into set-top boxes, digital televisions and automotive infotainment systems. And Imagination is taking this trend forward into IoT, wearables, servers and other emerging areas.

When editors form EE Times China, EDN China and ESM China met with Kristof Beets, Director of Imagination's PowerVR Business Development, he talked to them about the PowerVR GPU. Beets believes that the rapid evolution of industry standard APIs for graphics and compute will further improve GPU performance and applications across the industry, including two new APIs: Khronos Vulkan and Khronos OpenVX.

Vulkan is an open standard API for high efficiency access to graphics and compute. It will not replace the existing OpenGL ESit is complementary. Vulkan can match modern GPU architectures and provide direct, predictable control over the GPU. OpenVX, on the other hand, is an API for acceleration of vision/image processing that can take full advantage of the GPU and is supported by the PowerVR GPUs.

As the market is showing a trend towards diversification, GPUs must not only support multiple OSes, including Android, Ubuntu, FireOS, WebOS, Chromium and Android Wear, but also focus on the design and optimisation of overall system power.

"Compared to its competitors, PowerVR has a number of technical advantages," said Beets. "For example, in terms of architectural performance, PowerVR uses patented tile-based deferred rendering, multi-threaded multi-tasking scalar ALUs and PowerGearing power management technology, delivering high sustained performance within the power budget. In terms of power efficiency, according to third-party evaluation reports, compared to other solutions, the SoC with built-in PowerVR can achieve better performance per watt efficiencyabout three times that of competitors with the same load power."

PowerVR GPU portfolio

Figure 1: Imagination's PowerVR GPU portfolio. Click image to see a bigger version in new tab.

Video & Vision: New IP, standards & solutions

The increased demand for 4K video drives the demand for a full-featured HEVC/H.265 encoder and low-power broadcast architecture to meet the required bit rate and power. According to Chris Longstaff, Director of Imagination's Video & Vision Business Development, the new PowerVR Series5 video encoder can meet these demands and will play an important role in next-generation devices.

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