Imagination Technologies is a company that specializes in making graphics processors. They’re kind of like ARM, by that we mean they design processors that other companies then license and put on their chips. Take the chips that power Apple’s iOS devices for example, they all use GPUs from Imagination Technologies. Late last week, the company announced their latest creation, the PowerVR G6630. It’s the fastest GPU they’ve ever designed. They say it’s 60x faster than their previous generation cores. This is worth repeating: We didn’t say 60% faster, we said 60x faster!
How exactly does it work? To be perfectly honest, we have absolutely no idea. That being said, Imagination Technologies wants to emphasize energy efficiency with this new GPU. It has six processing cores that are smart enough to know when to turn off two or even four of those cores, depending on what’s being displayed on the screen. The G6630 also supports the latest graphics standards, including OpenGL ES 3.0/2.0/1.1, OpenGL 3.x/4.x, OpenCL 1.x, and DirectX 10.
Now for the important question: When will you we be able to buy a device that has this totally bad ass GPU inside? Imagination says it could happen next year, but our gut instinct tells us that’s not really going to happen. Experience has taught us that when companies announce new processors, it takes as much as two years for them to end up in retail hardware. That might upset some of you to hear, but it’s the truth.
Do we even need to have graphics processors that are this fast? Absolutely. There’s no such thing as “enough”, no matter how fast things get. The smartphone market today is like the PC market in the 90s. Every year we get products that are twice as fast as those from the previous generation. Performance improvements will slow down eventually, but right now it’s best to just buckle up and enjoy the ride.