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Print 18 comment(s) - last by fteoath64.. on Jun 29 at 4:29 AM

New design from Imagination Technologies offers yet another competitor in the booming mobile market

In the world of RISC (reduced instruction set computer) architectures the game is officially on.  Imagination Technologies Group Plc (LON:IMG) today previewed [press release] its first 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS CPU cores targeting the mobile market, a market in which ARM Holdings Plc's (LON:ARM) titular RISC core has reigned dominant for so long.

Imagination Tech. has long licensed graphics processing unit companion cores to go alongside ARM or Intel Corp. (INTC) Atom CPU cores.  In a sense both ARM and Intel have historically been more diversified as they produce GPU cores, as well.  But with its acquisition of MIPS Technology Inc. last November, Imagination Tech. looked to level the playing field.

Before, the mobile market looked like a race between Intel and ARM.  Now Imagination Tech. is determined to make it a three-man race.

The new MIPS CPU cores, dubbed Series5 "Warrior" cores will offer some unique perks.  First, they bring support for single instruction multiple data (SIMD) programming APIs like OpenCL (NVIDIA Corp.'s (NVDA) CUDA is another proprietary SIMD API).  Second, they offer built-in security features, including processing units designed to accelerate content protection, secure networking protocols and payment services.

MIPS roadmap
MIPS roadmap [click to enlarge]

Lastly, Imagination Tech. is plugging built in hardware and software virtualization support in the upcoming core series.  The company says its aiming to target "a wide range of markets, from mobile and networking to embedded and microcontroller applications."

In other words, expect some OEMs to potentially test the waters with Android-driven Warrior core smartphone and tablet designs.
MIPS Android
Just how valuable is the mobile CPU market?  Consider that ARM pocketed $136M USD on a gaudy 50.5 percent operating margin in Q1 2013.  Imagination Tech. is likely salivating at the potential for that kind of licensing loot.

The one thing that's unclear is when exactly the "Warrior" cores will hit the market.  Imagination Tech. offered no release schedule.  Imagination Tech. is also winding up to the release of a new GPU core, the PowerVR Series6 core, which offers support for OpenGL ES 3.0 for the first time.

Source: Imagination Tech. [press release]



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MIPS is great
By Ammohunt on 6/26/2013 7:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
Its a great architecture and a great company; Just FYI the PS1 had a R3000A in it. as long as power consumption is in line I see no reason MIPS couldn't compete head to head with ARM.




RE: MIPS is great
By rudolphna on 6/26/2013 9:07:00 PM , Rating: 3
The N64 used a MIPS R4300 manufactured by NEC too, paired with a GPU/chipset from SGI.


RE: MIPS is great
By CZroe on 6/28/2013 5:43:19 PM , Rating: 2
The accelerator (GPU was coined for the GeForce 256 and anything else capable the same performance) was designed by the team that would later form ArtX. ATI bought them just to get their name on the GameCube and form a second Radeon team with each team releasing a new part every year. Their first card was the incredible Radeon 9700 Pro that completely blew the GeForce FX out of the water and convinced ATI to use them for all GPUs going forward (probably folded them into one team). I've always owned nvidia GPUs but I remember cringing when a QuakeCon 2003 attendee smashed his ATI Radeon 9800 Pro to earn a GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. :(


RE: MIPS is great
By bug77 on 6/27/2013 5:19:22 AM , Rating: 2
It may be great, but PowerVR hasn't been very open source friendly.

Not that I'm an OSS zealot (I buy nvidia for proper Linux support), but just saying.


RE: MIPS is great
By Argon18 on 6/27/2013 10:57:20 AM , Rating: 1
Old SGI workstations all used MIPS as well. R4300, R5000, R10k, R12k, and R16k chips.


RE: MIPS is great
By swaaye on 6/28/2013 5:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
R8000 baby.


RE: MIPS is great
By fteoath64 on 6/29/2013 4:29:39 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with MIPS is that the binaries are huge!. For those who has been thru the SuperH vs MIPS "wars" during the PocketPC days, you will know why the SuperH won!. MIPs really was meant for "big iron" processors, so to optimise it for mobile would not really make sense. Imagination Tech can try but it is a "lost" technology not worth salvaging ....


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