Imagination announces the A-series smartphone GPUs
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Imagination together with Nvidia, ATI and 3DFX were the first companies to push for 3D graphics accelerators back in the mid-‘90s. Meanwhile, 3DFX went bankrupt in 2002, with most of its assets bought up by Nvidia, and ATI essentially became the GPU division of AMD. Imagination, on the other hand, shifted its focus from desktop PCs to smartphones in the mid-2000s and has been battling it out with ARM and Qualcomm in this market ever since. Most of today’s top Android smartphones are using either ARM’s Mali or Qualcomm’s Adreno GPUs, but Imagination is ready to challenge the status-quo with its all-new A-series IP that will be replacing the current PowerVR IP.
The UK-based GPU company claims that the gen 10 A-series architecture is its most important GPU and IP launch in the past 15 years. While the A-series will be replacing PowerVR as the main GPU IP, the company still intends to keep the old brand that dates back to the golden era of desktop PC GPUs as a way to identify proprietary technologies such as the tile-based deferred rendering solution.
At the top of the new A-series we find the AXT GPUs that are said to be 2.5X faster than the previous high-end Series 9XM Rogue-based GPUs that can be found in MediaTek’s Helio P90 SoCs. The improvements also include 4x more compute and ALU units that yield 8x increased performance for AI applications, while the power requirements are now 60% lower.
Imagination’s flagship GPU is called AXT 64-2048 and is capable of 2.0 TFLOPS, 64 GPixel/s fill rate and 8 TOPS AI performance. A premium AXT 32-1024 model will also be available at half the performance or 1.0 TFLOPS, 32 GPixel/s fill rate and 4 TOPS AI speeds. Additionally, there is a mid-range AXM 8-256 model with 256 GFLOPS, 8 GPixel/s fill rate and 1 TOP AI speed.
The list of new features includes: Vulkan optimization, compute focus configuration, neural network optimizations, improved HDR support and 128-bit GPU bandwidth. Imagination’s A-series GPUs are expected to be integrated in high-end and mid-range mobile SoCs towards the end of 2020.