PowerVR GX5300: the world’s smallest GPU for next-generation wearables and IoT

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on digg
Share on email

The past six months have certainly been an exciting time for the wearable industry. We’ve seen new platform announcements from Ingenic, Ineda and Microchip, the rollout of several smartwatches and smart glasses from worldwide sellers, and the release of the new MIPS M5100 and M5150 CPUs designed for wearables and IoT. More recently, Archos has deployed our PowerVR GPUs in a Rockchip-based Android tablet which acts as a controller and multimedia hub for the company’s Smart Home platform.

There is a certain category of wearables and IoT devices that require advanced graphics and video processing alongside the sensors, connectivity and general-purpose processors; these devices feature displays and need to run multimedia-rich apps that require smooth OpenGL® ES graphics.

PowerVR GX5300 - smartwatchThe ideal solution for wearables: MIPS processors, PowerVR graphics, video and vision, and Ensigma connectivity

Even though the potential for this market is quite impressive, there have been several issues facing wide adoption of IoT and wearables devices. This is because most of these devices are currently powered by sub-optimal solutions derived from smartphone chips which cause power consumption problems.

To address these issues, Imagination is introducing PowerVR GX5300, a GPU specifically designed for ultra-low power, low area OpenGL ES graphics rendering.

PowerVR GX5300 is a GPU optimized for extremely low area and power requirements

PowerVR GX5300 is designed to address the ultra-low power requirements of wearables. Whereas previous generation smartwatches could render graphics using a software-only approach or a simple 2D engine, newer wearable devices require fully featured GPUs to drive higher resolution user interfaces. PowerVR GX5300 can comfortably drive 480p and 720p resolutions representative of modern smartwatches, while offloading the main CPU and reducing software complexity.

PowerVR GX5300 - block_diagramThe internal architecture of the new PowerVR GX5300 GPU

Additionally, PowerVR GX5300 has been optimized to occupy the lowest silicon area possible: at only 0.55mm2 (post layout) when implemented in a 28nm process node from TSMC, it is the smallest OpenGL ES 2.0 GPU capable of running Android, Android Wear and other Linux-based operating systems. This makes it up to 2x smaller than competing single-core designs manufactured in a similar process node.

PowerVR GX5300 is based on the highly successful PowerVR Series5 family, which features a number of advantages over competing solutions, especially when it comes to power consumption:

  • Unified shaders: Our TBDR graphics architecture offers unified shaders where vertex, pixel and GPU compute resources are scaled simultaneously. This approach makes our GPU adapt to any workload requirements, whereas competing solutions suffer from bottlenecks that impact processing efficiency.
  • Low power and high precision graphics: All PowerVR GPUs offer a mix of low power (FP16) and high precision (FP32) rendering and implement the full OpenGL ES 2.0 specification whereas some competing solutions offer no support for FP32 which results in visual artefacts and lack of compatibility.
  • Reduced memory footprint: PowerVR GX5300 supports PVRTC, a texture compression format widely adopted in the mobile industry which reduces memory bandwidth and decreases power consumption. Competing solutions offer ETC-only implementations that suffer from lack of compatibility, higher bandwidth usage that lead to power costs. PVRTC helps silicon vendors reduce memory costs, a vital aspect in wearables and IoT, where smaller is cheaper and lower power.

Use cases for GPUs in wearables and IoT

Embedded Linux or Android-based connected home systems

System architects can use PowerVR GX5300 GPUs for platforms that require graphics rendering for interactive home automation controls. For example, electronic appliances can be equipped with multimedia displays that show readings such as temperature or humidity but can also connect to the internet to bring up cake recipes, best storage practices for certain products or washing tips and tricks for clothes.

Dacor-Discovery-IQ-smart ovenThe Discovery IQ smart oven from Dacor uses a PowerVR GPU to run the Android GUI

Android Wear

Imagination was one of the official launch partners of Android Wear. We have been working closely with our ecosystem to optimize our processor IP and tools for operating systems designed for wearables. Silicon vendors can combine MIPS, PowerVR and Ensigma processors to create low power solutions for smartwatches, smart glasses and other connected devices.

PowerVR GX5300 - mainstream wearables SoC - Android WearThe new PowerVR GX5300 GPU is a perfect fit inside a typical SoC for mainstream wearables


PowerVR GX5300 is a graphics processor optimized for wearable and IoT use cases. The extremely low area and reduced power consumption makes it an ideal solution for devices that require multimedia processing yet have strict heat dissipation profiles and need to run off much smaller batteries.

We’ve made updates to our tools and IP to help system architects integrate the design much faster and ensure companies get to market faster. The many unique features of our PowerVR GX5300 GPU enable architects to create a complete multimedia platform that incorporates the smallest yet most powerful graphics hardware IP for this category of devices. We are very excited to see how this new GPU will get integrated into some next generation exciting products that we will wear on our wrists, on our clothes or in our pockets.

For the latest news and updates on PowerVR, wearables and Imagination, follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationTech, @PowerVRInsider), YouTube, LinkedInFacebook and Google+.

Alex Voica

Alex Voica

Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

10 thoughts on “PowerVR GX5300: the world’s smallest GPU for next-generation wearables and IoT”

  1. To make it ultra affordable was this a reason to go with a series 5 baseline design and not series 6 XE. Seems strange was you were recently touting 6XE as addressing the low end markets notable the G6050. Could this cannibalise 6XE?

    • There is some overlap between the two in terms of the market they address. But primarily it is about performance, power and feature set vs. area. GX5300 is as low as a GPU can go in terms of area, however G6050 offers better performance efficiency.
      Additionally, G6050 bumps up the feature set considerably, with support for OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenCL 1.2, meaning more efficient use of graphics and compute functionality.
      So no, I don’t think Series5XE would cannibalize Series6XE. Instead, we are expanding the roadmap to offer more solutions at various performance/feature/price points.

      • Thanks for that. If wikipedia is to be believed, that puts this on a par with SGX520 (never productised). This is quoted as being 2.6mm2@65nm.
        This wouldn’t be a re-imagined SGX520 ?

        • We’ve made some improvements to aid integration, reduce power consumption and significantly reduce area in newer process nodes.
          For wearables, the current line-up of GPUs we are promoting is:
          – Series5XE: GX5300 (ultra-affordable and mainstream wearables, IoT)
          – Series6XE: G6050, G6060, G6100, G6110 (mainstream and high-end smartwatches, IoT)
          – Series6: G6200 (high-end wearables i.e. smart glasses)


Please leave a comment below

Comment policy: We love comments and appreciate the time that readers spend to share ideas and give feedback. However, all comments are manually moderated and those deemed to be spam or solely promotional will be deleted. We respect your privacy and will not publish your personal details.

Blog Contact

If you have any enquiries regarding any of our blog posts, please contact:

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1923 260 511

Search by Tag

Search by Author

Related blog articles

self drive car

Unveiling XS: the ultimate GPU family for automotive

Introducing the XS family of GPU for automotive. XS is the first GPU IP compliant with ISO 26262, offering a new methodology and architecture for functional safety with specific safety-optimised mechanisms designed to protect against transient and permanent faults. Tuned on real-world ADAS applications, it offers unrivalled performance for graphics and compute in next-generation cars.

Read More »
shutterstock 492864346 1

How Wi-Fi 6 unlocks the potential of low-power IoT

Whatever the application, many IoT devices need to be battery operated, so power efficiency is paramount. IMG iEW400, our latest IP for low-power connectivity, is based on the new IEEE 802.11ax standard, now widely referred to as Wi-Fi 6, making it the ultimate solution for low-power IoT.

Read More »
Industrial IoT

The lonely MCU looking for Wi-Fi

A picture paints a thousand words and for ambitious companies with microcontroller unit (MCU) technology, the picture below is very clear – market growth in IoT-oriented connected devices offers great opportunities. In a slow-growing market, each new design win requires the removal of an incumbent. However, the rapidly growing connected IoT market offers ideal conditions for dynamic companies to gain market share quickly. Unfortunately, MCU companies without connectivity cannot play in this rapidly growing sector.

Read More »


Sign up to receive the latest news and product updates from Imagination straight to your inbox.