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Apple iPad 2 : The GPU Analysis

Over the next few days, we will be looking closely at what we can expect from the forthcoming Apple iPad 2 tablet which will be launched in just over 36 hours.

The Apple iPad currently uses the SGX 535, the same GPU as the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4; it is licensed from Imagination Technology, a graphics startup that is not unlike ARM in that it licenses its technology and is based in the United Kingdom (ed : it has also Apple as one of its main shareholders).

The SGX 535 is possibly one of the most popular GPUs in the world; it was announced back in November 2007 and has been used by Intel in the GMA 500 & GMA 600 chipsets, Samsung's Hummingbird series, loads of Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola handsets as well as the Apple's most recent devices.

Apple is likely to go for a dual core PowerVR SGX543 which is expected to be at least four times faster than the SGX 535 and bring the device (and the future iPhone 5) at least on par with its rivals like the Nvidia Tegra 2, the Adreno 220 and the newest ARM Mali T604.

Using one core, it reaches a fill rate of 1Gpixels and 35 million polygons per second; doubling the amount of core - a solution called the SGX543MP2 - should increase the fill rate and the polygons count as well.

Although Apple did not disclose the clock speed of the current GPU used in its devices, many suggest that it is no higher than 200MHz which means that doubling the clock speed could result in an eight-fold increase in performance overall.