The Intel GMA 600 by Imagination Technologies

The iPhone 3GS, iPad, Motorola DROID and Palm Pre all use Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX mobile GPU. The SGX 535 running at 200MHz was used in Poulsbo, the North Bridge used in the very first Atom MID platform (Menlow). That was a 130nm chip. Intel called it the GMA 500.

Moving the GPU core on-die shrunk it considerably. At 45nm it should occupy roughly 1/8 - 1/10 the space of the GPU at 130nm). The PowerVR SGX 535 in Lincroft can also run at up to 400MHz, although it’s up to the handset vendors themselves to pick the right balance of clock speed vs. power consumption. It’s also possible that different versions of the Atom Z6xx line will have different GPU clocks. The new GPU is called the Intel GMA 600.

To the best of my knowledge all current smartphone implementations of the PowerVR SGX 535 run at 200MHz. This should give Intel the leg up in graphics performance should a vendor choose to run the GPU at such a high clock rate. It’s difficult to tell what impact we’ll see on battery life.

The Display

Lincroft only supports two display interfaces: 1024 x 600 over MIPI (lower power display interface) or 1366 x 768 over LVDS (for tablets/smartbooks/netbooks). 1080p HDMI out is supported Langwell.

Video Decoding Support: H.264 High Profile at up to 20Mbps

Imagination Technologies is also on tap to produce the video decoding hardware used in Lincroft. The PowerVR VXD is also used in the iPhone 3GS and the iPad, it’s here in Moorestown as well.

The implementation in Moorestown, combined with Intel’s caches and memory controller can apparently support 1080p H.264 base, main and high profile content at up to 20Mbps. At 1.1W platform power during video playback, that’s pretty impressive.

Video encoding is supported for the first time, also using ImgTec IP (PowerVR VXE). You get up to 720p30 H.264 base profile L3 video encode with Moorestown. You won’t see 1080p encode support until Medfield.

Putting Power in Perspective: Estimated Battery Life of a Moorestown Phone Performance: Moorestown Rocks?
POST A COMMENT

67 Comments

View All Comments

  • teohhanhui - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    But they'll be showcasing it on their Moblin/Meego which is Linux. Won't shoot themselves in the feet, will they? Reply
  • rahvin - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    And if it only runs on Moblin, only with specific kernel versions, uses a binary blob driver and isn't maintained it will be the same story as GMA500 all over again. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, May 06, 2010 - link

    As pointed out, plenty of other Android phones are using the same graphics. And I haven't heard a lot of complaints about lack of drivers for the Droid/N1/etc. Reply
  • elisha.pan - Wednesday, May 05, 2010 - link

    GMA500 has nothing with the Intel GMA series, but name. It is exactly the same with PowerVR SGX 535. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, May 05, 2010 - link

    This is the same GPU used in almost every other smart phone on the market, except that it's designed to be clocked up to twice as fast. It's not going to run Crysis *rolls eyes* but it's more than capable of doing everything a smart phone/internet tablet will need to do. Reply
  • ekul - Wednesday, May 05, 2010 - link

    exactly. without open source drivers for the graphic any development of meego outside of intel will never go anywhere. One of the reasons I bought my current netbook is the gma 950 has excellent open source drivers that just work.

    Open source development moves fast. Closed source binaries get left behind because they can't keep up with the release schedule. The current gma 500 drivers already need a kernel several versions old as well as an old X server. How many releases is meego going to miss?
    Reply
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, May 05, 2010 - link

    I can see why Anand thinks it's an interesting product, but based on his article I don't think Intel is quite there.

    The current need for 5 chips is going to be a problem no matter how Intel dresses things up, and if all phones end up looking like the design shown I wouldn't be surprised if the consumer reaction was tepid - a phone of that size is still pretty big. The video playback time is also going to be a problem when it comes to spec sheets (I doubt the real-world impact will be as huge), but OEMs like their spec sheets and consumers aren't too far off either. Just looking like it'll perform poorly there may be enough.

    The other issue is the reliance on an OS. At this point it seems like no one really wants another OS. Most people around here seemed to be more relieved than concerned when Palm went under. With BlackBerryOS, IPhoneOS, Android, and WinCE, there seems to be as many OSes as the market can reasonably handle. Moblin/MeeGo may be necessary for the hardware right now, but I see no reason to expect that it's going to be properly developed for consumer use like the above OSes were. Unless Intel can land RIM/Apple, they need to get Android up to par on Moorestown and they need to do it yesterday.

    Ultimately I think it's going to Medfield that's a proper ARM competitor. With fewer chips it will fit in to traditional designs, and with any luck Intel will be a node ahead of its competition on the manufacturing process. It won't solve the current OS reliance, but it'll put them in a better position than Moorestown does.
    Reply
  • ET - Wednesday, May 05, 2010 - link

    Ultimately I think that most people don't care about the OS. The OS mainly matters in terms of applications available for it, and it's a pain for developers to address many OS's, but also an opportunity for new developers to carve their niche.

    That said, Anand did mention that Intel is making Android available for this new platform, which should be good enough.
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Wednesday, May 05, 2010 - link

    It's much closer than expected. There were quite frequent comments that thought it wouldn't even reach 5 hour on standby! Having a lot of knowledge and doing a bit research helps of course. Glad they can be roughly on par though.

    It's likely the idle power can't be achieved without optimized OSes. Even if you can run Windows on it, what's the point when you won't have the battery life for it? Windows uses too much on keeping legacy support and its too bloated for idle power under 50mW.

    Platform approach is the key to low power on Moorestown.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, May 05, 2010 - link

    I'm not sold. ARM has been more efficient for a lot longer, even though it's still being made on commonly larger processes than current Intel CPUs. All smartphones are ARM anyhow, so I don't see the advantage in having x86 in this space Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now