Disruptive technology enables interactive cinematic realism for mainstream devices
Game Developers Conference, San Francisco, CA – 18 March, 2014 – Imagination Technologies (IMG.L) delivers a revolutionary new family of graphics IP cores that raises the bar for ray traced graphics to a dramatic new level, delivering astonishing realism and performance at mobile power budgets.
Wizard cores enable more immersive games and apps with real-life dynamic lighting models that enable advanced lighting effects, dynamic soft shadows, and life-like reflections and transparencies, previously unachievable in a mobile form factor. PowerVR Wizard Ray Tracing IP is highly scalable, making it disruptive to many other markets beyond mobile.
The new PowerVR Wizard graphics architecture is a significant addition to the lineup of market-leading PowerVR graphics processors (GPUs), which are already present in over half of the world’s smartphones and tablets.
The Wizard architecture is a ray tracing-enabled version of the PowerVR Series6XT Rogue architecture which adds significant new features to the pipeline, enabling accurate real time modelling of fully dynamic lights and shadows. Everything developers know and love about the PowerVR Rogue architecture is present in Wizard GPUs, enabling them to start to use ray tracing without extensive new learning.
PowerVR GR6500 is the first member of the new Wizard family of cores designed to bring real-time, interactive ray traced graphics to a broad range of consumer and mobile platforms, as well as gaming consoles and mainstream gaming PCs, workstations and servers.
Hossein Yassaie, president and CEO of Imagination, says: “Imagination’s highly-efficient PowerVR GPUs have played a key role in driving the creation of entirely new categories of mobile devices. Now we are changing the game again by bringing the next level of realism to mobile and consumer devices. Our ray tracing IP is here, and it’s ready for our licensees and developers to begin creating a new wave of immersive and exciting PowerVR-based consumer experiences.”
Highly anticipated IP poised to transform the state-of-the-art in graphics
Enabling ray tracing capability in consumer devices required a fundamental breakthrough in the algorithms used within ray tracing, as well as the careful addition of optimized fixed function blocks in the GPU to allow ray tracing operations to be performed within the power consumption and bandwidth budgets available in today’s mainstream consumer devices.
With Imagination’s Wizard Ray Tracing family, patented custom hardware engines ensure the GPU’s processor clusters are kept free to run sophisticated shaders, producing stunning results with minimal developer effort. The unique hardware ray tracing processors, including coherence gathering engines, fixed function intersection testing array and accelerated scene hierarchy generator, receive rays from the shaders, determines their intersection and initiates more shaders. All of this is made possible with entirely dynamic scenes through the addition of a novel hardware pipeline to build scene hierarchies required for ray tracing in parallel with other operations, all while remaining compatible with existing programmable vertex operations.
With all of these additions, Wizard cores address the real-world use cases of ray tracing with fully interactive dynamic content and photorealistic lighting. The net effect is an architecture that can perform ray tracing operations around 100 times as efficiently as performing the same operation using GPGPU functionality.
PowerVR GR6500 delivers:
- Ray tracing: 300 MRPS (million rays per second) and 100 MDTPS (million dynamic triangles per second) at 600 MHz
- Shading: Four Unified Shading Clusters (USCs), with 128 ALU cores delivering in excess of 150 GFLOPS (FP32) or 300 GFLOPS (FP16) at 600 MHz
- PowerGearing G6XT for advanced power management and dynamic resource allocation
- PVR3C™ triple compression technologies (PVRTC and ASTC for texture compression, PVRIC for frame buffer compression, PVRGC for geometry compression)
- Deep Color support for very high image quality at Ultra HD resolutions and beyond
Through the advanced architecture of PowerVR Wizard, multiple ray tracing engines and shaders operate concurrently to ensure real world sustained performance for both ray tracing and shading.
Further cores will follow that offer smaller power and area footprints for more constrained environments, along with scaled up cores to deliver fully ray traced content for the ultimate in cinema quality graphics. All Wizard cores are designed to provide leading support for a range of APIs such as OpenGL ES 3.x, OpenGL 3.x, Direct3D 11 Level 10_0, OpenCL 1.x, and OpenRL 1.x.
PowerVR Ray tracing: creating new opportunities for developers
In addition to the clear benefits for traditional game engines through the easy addition of many high quality and dynamic shadows, reflections, transparencies, global-lighting, ambient occlusion and more, PowerVR Wizard GPUs can enable a broad range of other capabilities that would either be impossible, low quality or too inefficient using standard techniques. Examples include lens distortion correction, lenticular display rendering, multi-perspective rendering, targeted rendering to points of interest, line-of-sight calculations, collision detection and more.
The combination of efficient shading clusters and low-bandwidth ray tracing will enable a giant step forward for developers, who can bring a new level of quality and enhanced realism to their apps and games. For example, ray tracing can add a superior shadowing or lighting solution to existing games while allowing game developers to preserve the vast majority of the investment that they have already made in their game engines and tools. In addition, dynamic generation of assets in-game will streamline the content creation workflow and save distribution costs by reducing the size of the game files.
David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies says: “Unity integrated Imagination’s ray tracing software into the Unity 5 editor due to its high performance on the broadest range of consumer laptops, ease of integration and unique future hardware roadmap. We will continue to work with Imagination to fully utilize the PowerVR Ray Tracing GPU IP within the Unity game engine to further enhance the in-game experience and simplify content creation for our developers.”
James McCombe, director of research for PowerVR Ray Tracing at Imagination, says: “While PowerVR Wizard ray tracing GPUs are a disruptive technology, they remain as familiar and easy to use as the PowerVR GPUs that developers are already using. With PowerVR Wizard IP, the ray tracing capabilities are exposed directly through the existing programmable shading hardware, so that software developers can take advantage of the ultra-fast ray tracing for some effects, while continuing to leverage the substantial investment in software designed to run on GPUs already available in the market today.”
Matt Pharr, co-author of ‘Physically Based Rendering, from Theory to Implementation’ and Academy Award Honoree, says: “The PowerVR Wizard architecture from Imagination is a remarkable advance: it promises to deliver both high-performance and energy-efficient ray tracing to developers, in the context of a regular GPU that can rasterize efficiently and still has high-performance shader cores. By making ray tracing available to all developers that use this platform, the Wizard architecture offers the possibility of a quantum leap forward in image quality in mobile interactive graphics applications.”
While power-efficient enough for mobile applications, the PowerVR Wizard architecture is able to scale up to configurations capable of rendering interactive cinema for high-end gaming machines and consumer devices.
Says Yasuhiro Kondo, general manager, Arcade Machine Development, SEGA Co Ltd.: “SEGA welcomes the announcement of PowerVR Ray Tracing IP from Imagination Technologies. We expect that the Wizard cores will create a great revolution in the graphics experience of the gaming market.”
The PowerVR Wizard GR6500 core is available for licensing now.
About Imagination Technologies
Imagination is a global technology leader whose products touch the lives of billions of people throughout the world. The company’s broad range of silicon IP (intellectual property) includes the key multimedia, communications and general purpose processors needed to create the SoCs (Systems on Chips) that power all mobile, consumer, automotive, enterprise, infrastructure, IoT and embedded electronics. These are complemented by its unique software and cloud IP and system solution focus, enabling its licensees and partners get to market quickly by creating and leveraging highly differentiated SoC platforms. Imagination’s licensees include many of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers, network operators and OEMs/ODMs who are creating some of the world’s most iconic and disruptive products. See: www.imgtec.com.