Imagination Technologies - Faster GPUs for SoCs

I met with Imagination Technologies, the makers of the GPU in everything from the iPhone 3GS to the Motorola Droid. They were showing off a 1.1GHz Samsung Cortex A8 SoC with an integrated PowerVR SGX 540:

The demo isn't anything impressive, but the GPU should be in the Tegra 2 class of performance. Definitely higher than what's in the iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre today. The PowerVR SGX 540 is what is being used in TI's Cortex A9 SoCs, which appear to be the direct competitor to NVIDIA's Tegra 2. I spoke with Samsung about their 1.1GHz A8 SoC (now running at 1.2GHz actually), but I wasn't able to get a firm date on when we can expect A9 based silicon from them.

Our friends at Imagination put together a tech demo of a 3D user interface for TVs running on Intel's CE4100 SoC. The CE4100 was announced back at IDF and integrates an Atom core with PowerVR SGX graphics. Imagation believes that TVs or set-top boxes with chips like the CE4100 will use the GPU in a similar capacity to smartphones: for fancy UIs.

MIPS, another SoC vendor that does a large amount of business in the set-top box market showed off a number of Android devices for the home. Many of these were set-top boxes running Android that could do everything from video playback to watching over-the-air TV:

Unfortunately most cable providers in the US aren't as receptive to devices that can enable content consumption from sources other than cable TV, and thus I wouldn't expect to see much support for technology like this in the US just yet. MIPS has found the best success in Asia for these types of STBs so far.

Index NVIDIA - Fermi Up and Running, Tegra 2
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  • Calin - Monday, January 18, 2010 - link

    I'm just saying...
    Entry level card (6200 based) - 350 MHz clock, 64-bits, 256 MB video RAM (DDR2 275 MHz) with access to up to 512 MB of computer RAM.
    Compare with an IGP (Radeon 1250, AMD 690G) from AMD: 400 MHz clock and 64-bits access to lowly PC-5300, DDR2-667 MHz in a base configuration.
  • jigglywiggly - Saturday, January 9, 2010 - link

    eee keyboard == useless
  • Totally - Sunday, January 10, 2010 - link

    yeah, it just dumb. There was a lot of uses that I could think of until they said it can only drive the embedded pc, which limited all uses I had for it to zero. Now raises the question why stuff it in a keyboard in the first place and just make it some kind of Ultra SSF nettop with a screen?
  • GeorgeH - Saturday, January 9, 2010 - link

    More like a missed opportunity. Had they integrated a KVM so that the keyboard could also drive a regular PC, this could have been a useful, if niche, gaming accessory. There are a few low-intensity apps (such as IM'ing and browsing FAQs/Walkthroughs) that it would be nice to run on a little "side screen" so that you aren’t constantly tabbing out of your game. If they made the screen able to "break out" and position anywhere, so much the better.

    As it is, though, calling it useless is being charitable.
  • ksherman - Sunday, January 10, 2010 - link

    I dunno... With the built-in ability to stream video to a TV, I could see people using it like those old skool Internet Browsing on your TV devices. Niche, sure. Useless, no.
  • Taft12 - Saturday, January 9, 2010 - link

    Thanks for providing some pictures Anand, we haven't seen enough yet of CES coverage. This has been the most memorable show since the dot-com bust days

    The features in those Antec ATX cases are fantastic, shame the looks are hideous :(
  • buzznut - Sunday, January 10, 2010 - link

    Nice article. I have to agree, I don't care for the direction Antec is going with their cases. The whole plastic grid thing just looks cheesy. Ugly.
  • AznBoi36 - Sunday, January 10, 2010 - link

    You can see pretty much everything about CES at Engadget:">
  • Locut0s - Saturday, January 9, 2010 - link

    I wonder who's idea it was to place the screen on the side of the E-Keyboard? It looks extremely awkward to use that way. You'd think you'd automatically place the screen on top as a detachable unit.
  • afkrotch - Sunday, January 10, 2010 - link

    or just get rid of it all together, which is what I think the other keyboard next to it is. I don't need extra buttons on a random screen on my keyboard.

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