Imagination’s New GPU Line Aimed at Low-Cost Phones

Does it strain the imagination to picture a top-flight graphics processing unit (GPU) in an inexpensive phone? U.K.-based Imagination Technologies doesn?EU?t think it should, so it's working to improve its GPU for lower-cost devices. That should be welcome news for mobile users who have small budgets but want big graphics performance.

The company debuted its PowerVR Series8XE GPU (pictured above) family, intended for the affordable mobile segment, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today. Imagination, which designs the graphics chips for the iPhone 6s and HTC One M9 Plus, contends that its latest GPU family will set a new standard for performance, power, and area in cost-sensitive markets.

Fewer Slowdowns

Imagination designs processor cores, but does not manufacture chips. The company?EU?s primary business lines are MIPS microprocessor cores, PowerVR graphics cores, and Ensigma software-defined radios. Imagination?EU?s clients license its core designs, add their own functionality and turn them into chips.

Currently, most entry-level mobile devices are still integrating OpenGL ES 2.0-only GPUs, according to Imagination. The new Series8XE family lets Imagination?EU?s silicon partners and OEMs upgrade the feature sets of mobile chip systems to OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan, the company said.

That makes the mobile devices better able to support the latest applications and advancements in APIs (application program interfaces). The company added that having Vulkan and OpenGL ES 3.2 available to OEMs and developers means they can reuse the software created for mid-range and even high-end parts in entry-level devices.

Vulkan API support helps the new PowerVR Series8XE GPUs by enabling mobile devices to handle graphic-intensive content without any slowdowns. Imagination said that Vulkan also reduces the driver overhead in graphics applications, which can cause slowdowns in a phone?EU?s central processing unit.

Graphics Capabilities

The first two GPUs in the PowerVR Series8XE line will be the PowerVR GE8200 and GE8300, which offer two and...

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