PowerVR Series6 is Imagination’s new unified shader and OpenGL ES 3.0 compatible GPU architecture, and was launched last year, and most famously used in the iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini. This year at CES, they’ve just launched the improved PowerVR Series6XT, which should be roughly 50 percent more powerful than the previous series of GPU models, and they’re now announcing the Series6XE, which is targeted at the low-end.
The first two new chips that will be part of this series will be the G6050 and the G6060. What you’ll get with these GPUs is just about half the “cluster” for each, so for example they will be roughly 8x slower than a PowerVR Series6XT with 4 GPU clusters (previously called “cores”).
There were two other GPUs as part of the same series, called G6110 and G6100. These two will have a full cluster each, so they should be about twice as powerful as the former. Imagination says these two will have a new texture mapping unit that will help them achieve high fill-rates in the same way as the old architecture did.
The new Series6 GPUs have had lower fill-rates than expected, which begged the question whether the previous architecture had some very highly inflated fill-rates in benchmarks (remember those fill-rate scores that were multiple times bigger than the competition?), and the new Series6 offered the “real” fill-rate in benchmarks, or if Series6 had a major flaw in the architecture, and couldn’t do high fill-rates from the beginning, so they are working to rectify that now.
I tend to believe the scores of the previous architecture were quite a bit inflated, in part because ARM has also said so in one of their old blog posts, and in part because those scores have always seemed strangely high to me compared to the competition, especially when you were testing “real games” the difference was a lot smaller.
That being said, I expect the PowerVR Series6XE to do reasonably well at the low-end of the market, unless they are outcompeted by Qualcomm’s Adreno 306, or others. Qualcomm has eaten a lot into Imagination’s low-end market over the past few years, but on the other hand, companies like Mediatek may still use their GPUs, which gives them a significant share of the market, even if they don’t make their own SoCs (yet).