Graphics processor IP licensor Imagination Technologies Group has announced a set of extensions to the EGL Native Platform Interface, which will enable GPU-compute applications on the Hardkernel Odriod-XU development board, as well as on other systems including PowerVR graphics.
Imagination claims to have delivered the OpenCL extensions, which are related to advanced camera operations and computational photography, to multiple silicon partners. Yet in its press release it specifically mentions the Exynos 5410 Octa from Samsung, which contains a PowerVR Series 5 GPU.
GPU-compute is the use of spare processing capacity within the graphics processor unit of a processor to accelerate applications that are normally hosted on the CPU. As the name suggests a GPU conventional just renders graphics for a display, but its multiple ALU pipelines can be useful for some applications.
The Odriod-XU development system costs $179 and is based around the Samsung Exynos 5410 Octa chip, which follows the ARM big-little architecture and includes quad-core Cortex-A15, quad-core Cortex-A7, and the PowerVR SGX544MP3 GPU. The board is made by Hardkernel Co. Ltd. of Gyeonggi, South Korea.
The Exynos 5410 Octa was the original processor in the Galaxy S4 tablet computer. Samsung has subsequently announced an Exynos 5420 Octa, which replaces the Imagination PowerVR with a Mali GPU from ARM (see Samsung Jumps Back to Mali).
Nonetheless Imagination reckons the new OpenCL API extensions should keep developers happy with the PowerVR-based Eynos as they allow them to implement computational photography and video processing applications offloaded to the GPU, thus saving the CPU from choking. Resources can be shared between the camera pipeline, OpenGL ES graphics, and OpenCL compute APIs.
"Computational photography is a primary use case for GPU compute in mobile, and video is the most compelling example of that. Our OpenCL drivers have always been class-leading, but video in mobile devices has unique challenges which we have been able to overcome by leveraging our many years of experience in video processing," said Peter McGuinness, marketing director for multimedia at Imagination, in a statement. "We expect that the availability of these tools will encourage developers to create new and exciting video applications to improve the mobile experience across a wide range of handsets and tablets," he added.
Imagination is releasing the PowerVR GPU-compute software development kit and programming guidelines for PowerVR Series5XT GPUs.