KINGS LANGLEY, England -- Imagination Technologies Group plc, a developer of multimedia and graphics processor technology and cores available for license, has dropped development of its Series-4 generation of the Power-VR graphics acceleration architecture and is instead speeding up development of the Series-5 architecture, and planning for first implementations in 2003.
Series-5 architecture-based implementations will include additional features such as pixel shading and full programmability, according to John Metcalfe, vice president of business development at Imagination.
Imagination's current PowerVR MBX graphics and video core, the subject of a licensing deal with Intel Corp. (see July 24 story), is based on the Series-3 version of the architecture. Imagination also has a strategic co-operation agreement with ARM Holdings plc, the pioneer of the cores-for-license business model, concerning the use of PowerVR technology within wireless equipment.
Metcalfe said that Series-5 architecture would be based on a primary processing pipeline and a series of hardware accelerators that can be optionally switched in and out to render graphics.
"As well as class-leading functionality, there will be some unique features enabled by tile-based rendering," said Metcalfe.
Tile-based rendering is the approach Imagination has taken since 1996, when as VideoLogic, the company introduced its first series graphics chips. Tile-based rendering has advantages in terms of reducing image-processing complexity, according to Imagination.
Metcalfe said development of the Series-4 architecture of PowerVR was dropped when STMicroelectronics, a licensee of earlier PowerVR architectures, decided to pull out of the PC graphics chip market (see February 8 story).
At that time some technologies were pulled forward into the MBX cores, such as vertex geometry processing, and Series-5 architecture development was accelerated, he said.
Metcalfe added that the Series-5 architecture would debut in 2003 in a 0.13-micron process technology. He said that it was not yet decided whether Imagination would get first silicon implementations or test chips made at a licensee's wafer fab or at a foundry wafer fab in Taiwan.