Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 16 February 2009: Imagination Technologies, the multimedia chip technologies company, today announced the first in a new family of scalable vector graphics processor IP cores – the POWERVR VGX150.
Imagination’s POWERVR MBX and SGX technologies are already the de facto standard for mainstream mobile phone graphics, supporting all advanced 3D, 2D and vector graphics APIs such as OpenGL ES 1.1, OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG, as well as composition APIs including OpenWF. POWERVR VGX150 extends the reach of Imagination’s graphics IP to entry level handsets and developing markets. The POWERVR VGX IP core family is focused on delivering highly efficient vector graphics acceleration for OpenVG, SVG and Flash content, as well as composition standards like OpenWF.
Imagination now has scalable solutions for devices from entry level handsets right through to high performance mobile computing devices.
Tony King-Smith, VP marketing, Imagination, says: “”Consumers now expect every phone, even the most basic, to have an appropriate level of graphics acceleration capability. POWERVR VGX provides the ideal solution for entry level products, delivering full vector graphics acceleration with almost no CPU overhead, the smallest silicon area and power consumption, and unrivalled flexibility to track all aspects of future vector graphics standards.””
VGX150 will deliver class-leading vector graphics for: entry-level and feature phones; entry-level set-top-box and TV; personal media players; entry-level personal navigation; radios; electronic dashboards; e-book readers; and other multimedia consumer devices.
Continues King-Smith: “”We’ve worked with key partners to define and deliver the next generation of vector graphics, ensuring VGX meets the needs of key OEMs and middleware providers. Whether used in combination with our other IP for comprehensive, power-efficient solutions, or stand-alone for high volume entry level products, POWERVR VGX is a significant and versatile new family of graphics IP cores.””
Inside POWERVR VGX150
The POWERVR VGX architecture provides native acceleration of all functionality in OpenVG 1.1, the vector graphics API developed by the Khronos group, offloading virtually all processing from the CPU to deliver high-performance acceleration. Through full support of the OpenVG 1.1 API stack, VGX150 enables full high performance acceleration of all OpenVG applications such as SVG players, Flash Lite 3 and Flash 7 players as well as native OpenVG content. It achieves extremely low power consumption while requiring very small silicon area for high quality graphical user interface, browser and navigation experiences based on vector graphics.
POWERVR VGX150 is designed for easy integration within SoCs either as a standalone graphics IP core or as part of an optimised graphics subsystem alongside other Imagination technology. The combination of POWERVR VGX and SGX gives unrivalled power management options for advanced 3D and vector graphics. With the addition of POWERVR VXD and VXE video decoders and encoders complete systems with unrivalled multimedia capabilities can be created.
Imagination’s unique, patented Tile-Based Deferred Rendering technology enables on-chip processing of hidden surface removal (pixel perfect and compatible with OpenVG back to front submission order) and pixel blending. This enables deferred pixel processing, eliminating all unnecessary access to off-chip memory, ensuring that colour, gradient, pattern, image and blend processing is limited to visible pixels.
Hardware-based tiling and culling algorithms work directly on complex shapes. Dynamic tessellation of Béziers is handled in hardware and deferred until the rasterisation phase to reduce bandwidth. All OpenVG fill rules are evaluated on-chip using an 8-bit stencil buffer.
POWERVR VGX150 comprises two major blocks: the Geometry Engine and the Pixel Engine. The Geometry Engine manages all geometry and tiling functions, and utilises a custom instruction set targeting geometry processing (transformation, stroking, parameter generation), culling, clipping and tiling of poly-lines and Béziers. The Geometry Engine is a fully programmable multi-threaded processor based on Imagination’s META architecture for maximum flexibility. The Pixel Engine is a highly optimised hardware engine, incorporating a powerful vector ALU with a programmable Blend Unit that enables efficient support for all OpenVG blend modes, colour space conversion and alpha masking, using a 56-bit (16:16:16:8) internal format for the highest image quality independent of frame buffer colour depth. The programmable nature of both engines results in minimal host CPU loading and enables support for evolving and future standards.
POWERVR VGX150 delivers a wide range of powerful anti-aliasing capabilities for high quality graphics images. An 8x Multi-Sampling Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) mode enables high quality with minimal processing and bandwidth impact. Multi-pass AA with 16x or 24x sampling, highest performance 4x MSAA and ‘No AA’ modes, and per-object AA disable options are also available. Unlike coverage-only AA approaches the VGX150 algorithms are fully compatible with Flash and do not suffer from bleed-through artefacts.
Support for OpenVG 1.1 and OpenWF Compositing
The POWERVR VGX architecture supports advanced compositing, enabled through APIs such as OpenWF, including efficient compositing of YUV planes from video accelerators (e.g. POWERVR VXD IP cores) and graphics planes from graphics accelerators (e.g. POWERVR SGX IP cores rendering OpenGL ES and/or OpenVG content).
POWERVR VGX150 is built on a foundation of unique patented technologies that deliver class-leading performance while keeping power dissipation to an absolute minimum. The inherently low-power architecture is complemented by the use of the latest sophisticated techniques to ensure the lowest active and standby power consumption. The VGX150 driver architecture supports all major embedded operating systems and enables easy portability to a variety of CPU architectures and other operating systems.
About Imagination Technologies
Imagination Technologies Group plc (LSE:IMG) – a global leader in multimedia and communications silicon technologies – creates and licenses market-leading processor cores for graphics, video, multi-threaded embedded processing/DSP and multi-standard communications applications. These silicon intellectual property (IP) solutions for systems-on-chip (SoC) are complemented by strong array of software tools and drivers as well as extensive developer and middleware ecosystems. Target markets include mobile phone, handheld multimedia, home consumer entertainment, mobile and low-power computing, and in-car electronics. Its licensees include many of the leading semiconductor and consumer electronics companies. Imagination has corporate headquarters in the United Kingdom, with sales and R&D offices worldwide. See: www.imgtec.com.
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