Scalable PowerVR Series7 GPUs target applications from wearables to servers, reaching teraflop performance

11th November 2014
Jacqueline Regnier

Imagination Technologies introduces PowerVR Series7, the latest generation of the PowerVR Rogue GPU architecture and an entire line-up of GPUs which scale from 16 to 512 arithmetic logic unit (ALU) cores, providing unprecedented scalability, efficiency and performance.

PowerVR Series7 is architected for the broadest range of next-generation products from wearables and IoT through automotive, mobile and consumer electronics devices, up to high-performance GPU compute. Highly configurable, scalable GPUs address market requirements across these segments, with new features such as full hardware virtualization and Android Extension Pack (AEP) support with hardware tessellation, as well as proven features such as geometry shaders, PVR3C™ triple compression technology for bandwidth/power savings, and full ASTC (adaptive scalable texture compression) support. Series7 also includes Imagination’s advanced PowerGearing™ technology for dynamic core and cluster level power management.

Tony King-Smith, EVP marketing, Imagination, says: “With graphics-enabled devices entering all aspects of everyday life, it is no longer possible to offer just point solutions. Each new generation requires a wavefront of GPUs from low to high end, to address the broad spectrum of applications. With PowerVR Series7, we have not only honed our architecture but also our IP support with tools such as our Design Optimization Kits for rapid physical and performance optimization. These allow our partners to choose right-sized solutions based on the optimum balance of power, performance and area for every segment.”

Says Jon Peddie, president, Jon Peddie Research: “With PowerVR Series7, Imagination is offering advanced new features such as hardware tessellation that will enable the company to make aggressive inroads into a broad range of new markets. With virtualization in the new cores, Imagination is looking beyond providing powerful graphics and compute performance toward providing even more value in helping to secure their customers’ SoCs.”

Superior multi-cluster scalability The PowerVR Rogue architecture is scalable via threads, cores and clusters. Rogue uses clusters of up to 32 multi-threaded ALU cores, working in close cooperation with dedicated texture units on the same region of the screen. This approach ensures that all accesses to memory are correlated and efficient, unlike older multi-core approaches where many cores all work in an uncoordinated way on different regions of the screen which results in many distributed accesses to memory and inefficient DRAM usage. With their highly scalable and efficient architecture, PowerVR Series7 GPUs provide unrivalled performance and efficiency.

Significant architectural performance improvements Series7XT and Series7XE GPUs achieve up to a 60% architectural performance increase on the latest industry standard benchmarks compared to equivalent configurations of previous generation PowerVR Series6XT/6XE GPUs, maintaining and extending PowerVR’s reputation as the most efficient, highest performance, lowest power GPU. Application developers can take advantage of the significant parallel processing power in Series7 for both graphics and GPU compute tasks. Series7 architectural enhancements include:

  • Instruction set enhancements including added co-issue capability, resulting in improved application performance and increased GPU efficiency
  • New hierarchical layout structure that enables scalable polygon throughput and pixel fillrate improvements in addition to increased clock frequencies
  • GPU compute setup and cache throughput improvements resulting in up to 300% better parallel processing performance

Series7XT: dramatically scalable performance from 100 GFLOPS to 1.5 TFLOPS The PowerVR Series7XT family of GPUs is designed to provide the best possible performance and user experience for next-generation user interfaces, 3D gaming and GPU compute. Series7XT targets mid-range to high-end applications including smartphones and tablets, UltraHD TVs and set-top boxes, gaming consoles and high-performance server compute. Featuring AEP and 10-bit YUV support as standard, Series7XT GPUs are based on two to sixteen clusters, each containing 32 multi-threaded multi-tasking ALU cores, with high-end configurations capable of achieving teraflop level performance. GPUs include the two cluster GT7200, four cluster GT7400, six cluster GT7600, eight cluster GT7800, and 16 cluster GT7900, with other configurations available.

Series7XE: optimized for area, efficiency and feature configurability Series7XE GPUs are based on a single scalable cluster of up to 32 multi-threaded multi-tasking ALU cores, enabling the latest games and apps on power and cost constrained devices such as entry-level to mid-range mobile devices, TVs, set-top boxes and wearables, as well as a broadening range of products such as photocopiers, printers, consumer and other enterprise devices which increasingly require high-quality UIs at competitive price points. Series7XE are the smallest GPUs that are AEP compatible, yet like the high-performance Series7XT family can be configured with options such as 10-bit YUV support for HEVC, making them ideal for applications like entry level UltraHD TVs. GPUs include the GE7400 with 16 cores and the GE7800 with 32 cores.

Hardware virtualization and multi-domain security In an increasingly connected world, security is a growing concern, with any system only as secure as its weakest link. This is true at the macro level, device level and SoC level. Within the SoC, especially as the industry moves to heterogeneous processing architectures, each processing unit must have built-in security. Imagination’s forthcomingheterogeneous security architecture is designed to address the privacy and security needs of evolving and emerging connected applications. As part of this, PowerVR Series7 joins the MIPS Warrior CPUs in supporting full hardware virtualization, and is optimized to support multiple independent security contexts and execution domains.

CPU-agnostic hardware virtualization in the GPU enables customers in segments such as automotive to build systems where the dashboard and infotainment system can run independently and reliably on the same platform. For Android phones and tablets, hardware virtualization can keep a user’s personal banking data separate from other data such as health information collected by a wearable device.

Feature scalability for optimized designs With Series7, users can select the specific features they need for their design, and avoid the cost of including features they don’t need:

  • Android Extension Pack (AEP): customers targeting Android applications can leverage the AEP with full hardware tessellation and native OpenGL® ES 3.1 support* in the new GPUs. The new pack ensures maximum content compatibility with the Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’ release.
  • DirectX 11 Feature Pack: for customers targeting Microsoft operating systems, this pack for Series7XT GPUs provides a full DirectX 11.2 feature set, building on Imagination’s many years of market-proven support for DirectX.
  • OpenCL™ FP64 Feature Pack: for customers leveraging Series7XT for high-performance server compute, this pack provides a scalable 64-bit floating point co-processor per cluster.

Software and tools support Imagination provides developers with free access to the cross-platform PowerVR SDK, designed to support all aspects of 3D graphics application development; as well as tools and utilities that ease development of 3D graphics and GPU compute applications.

Hypervisors for any SoC using PowerVR Series7 GPUs will be able to utilize the virtualization in the GPUs to implement true heterogeneous security.

Availability PowerVR Series7XE and Series7XT GPUs are available for licensing now. Imagination is already engaged with multiple PowerVR Series7 licensing partners including two tier-ones. Physical Design Optimization Kits (DOKs) for Imagination’s PowerVR Series7XT and Series7XE GPUs will also be available, offering customers the flexibility to optimize for power, performance and area (PPA). Imagination DOKs are comprised of optimized reference design flows, tuned libraries from partners, characterization data and documentation.

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