PowerVR Rogue tech promises mobile graphics leap

Mobile graphics specialist Imagination Technologies has unveiled its latest PowerVR mobile GPU, the SGX600 Rogue - and it claims it offers somewhere between twenty and a hundred times the performance of its existing technology.

In an announcement that seems almost certain to take the shine off Nvidia's recent Kal-El demonstration, Imagination Technologies claimed that the sixth-generation PowerVR design would offer desktop-equivalent graphics - despite drawing just one milliwatt of power.

The company's existing PowerVR SGX500 isn't exactly a slouch: found in Apple's A4 processor, it's capable of impressive feats of 3D rendering - but its replacement makes it look decidedly pedestrian.

While Nvidia's recently announced Kal-El SoC promises a five-fold performance boost over the Tegra 2 platform it replaces, Imagination Technologies is promising a minimum of twenty times the power in the SGX600 series.

It's not a paper launch, either. Although it could be a while before products hit the retail level, Imagination Technologies already has a partner in mobile chipset specialist ST-Ericsson.

ST-Ericsson's Nova A9600, also announced today, combines ARM's 2.5GHz Cortex-A15 design with the PowerVR SGX600 Rogue from Imagination Technologies - potentially creating a super-chip that will wipe the floor with Nvidia's unreleased Tegra 3 design, which is based on the older Cortex-A9 design.

Boasting performance of 350 million polygons per second and data throughput of five gigapixels per second, the Nova A9600 promises desktop-equivalent gaming performance - plus the ability to decode 1080p video at up to 120 frames per second.

Sadly, ST-Ericsson won't be beating Nvidia to market: the company has announced that 'sample' quantities of the chips will be available later this year, with mass production not scheduled until 2012.

Despite this delay, one thing is clear: the mobile system-on-chip market is getting increasingly interesting by the day, and desktop and server giant Intel should be looking on in concern.