Published in Graphics

Imagination Technologies announces console GT7900 GPU

by on27 February 2015

If only there were any Android consoles…

The new Imagination Technologies PowerVR GT7900 GPU is designed for Android consoles, but could it end up somewhere else instead? 

The company announced the oversized GPU yesterday, with some truly impressive performance claims – the GT7900 trounces the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 GPUs in sheer GFLOPs, and even pulls ahead of Nvidia’s GT 730M.

Meet the PowerVR GT7900, a super-GPU

In fact, the company is so proud of the performance that it described the new product as a “super-GPU” for affordable game consoles, which “turns the dial to 11” (Spinal Tap fans will get it).

Imagination highlighted some figures in its bullish press release:

“It includes 512 ALU cores and delivers up to 800 GFLOPS (FP32) or 1.6 TFLOPS (FP16) graphics and compute performance at 800 MHz (16 nm FinFET+); to give you an idea of how it stacks up versus the competition, a Kepler-based GeForce GT 730M from NVIDIA delivers about 550 GFLOPS (FP32) at a comparable frequency.”

The goal is to bring PC performance and hardware support to Android devices, with OpenGL ES 3.1, new shaders, HDR texture compression and tessellation. Of course, the GPU supports UHD/4K resolutions.

Designed for FinFET

The GT7900 will not show up on any planar process, as it is designed for 14nm and 16nm FinFET manufacturing processes.

Despite its performance, the GPU also features a range of solutions designed to reduce power consumption – after all what’s the point of a SoC iGPU if you’ll need active cooling?

The GPU is just part of a bigger platform for hardware makers, with a quad-core, dual-thread I6400 MIPS CPU, which supports Android 5.0. The platform also features video encode and decode processors, a camera processor, audio controller, radio processor with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 support and other components.

Just for consoles?

The real question we have is whether it will end up just in cheap desktop consoles, or a few more products? Chromebooks come to mind, along with portable consoles, or oversized tablets. 

There is a problem though – Android consoles never took off.

The hardware is there, we already have relatively powerful GPUs and CPUs in mobile SoCs, capable of running good looking 720p and even 1080p games. However, there isn’t a lot of content out there, so there are very few Android games that can utilize the potential of overkill GPUs like the GT7900, or Nvidia’s Tegra X1 for that matter.

Speedy 2x2 MIMO 802.11ac also offers enough bandwidth for streaming, so additional applications are possible as well. However, at this point the market for Android gaming devices is relatively limited.

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