Introducing IMGIC - A better frame-buffer compression

Besides the multi-GPU scalability, another big feature introduction to the B-Series is the addition of a completely new image compression algorithm, simply dubbed IMGIC, or Imagination Image Compression.

Compression is an integral part of modern GPUs as otherwise the designs would simply be memory bandwidth starved. To date, Imagination has been using PVRIC to achieve this. The problem with PVRIC was that it was a relatively uncompetitive compression format, falling behind in data compression ratio compared to other competitor techniques such as Arm’s AFBC (Arm Frame-Buffer Compression). This resulted in IMG GPUs using up more bandwidth than a comparable Arm GPU.

IMGIC is a completely new and redesigned compression algorithm that replaces PVRIC. Imagination touts this as the most advanced image compression technology, offering extreme bandwidth savings and a lot more flexibility compared to previous PVRIC designs. Amongst the flexibility aspect of things, IMGIC can now work on individual pixels instead of just smaller tiles or pixel groups.

Furthermore, the new algorithm is said to be 8x simpler than PVRIC, meaning the hardware implementation is also much simplified and achieves a significant are area reduction.

The new implementation gives vendors more scaling options, adding compression ratios down to a lossy 25% for extreme bandwidth savings. SoC vendors can use this to alleviate bandwidth starved scenarios or QoS scenarios where other IPs on the SoC should take priority.

Overall, the B-Series now offers a 35% reduction in bandwidth compared to the A-Series and previous generation Imagination GPU architectures, which is a rather large improvement given that memory bandwidth is a costly matter, both in terms of actual silicon cost as well as energy usage.

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  • HVAC - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    You don't win market share without a product offering in the market. If we only did things for which we could be certain of success, we would all still be huddled into a teeming mass near central Asia. Reply
  • EthiaW - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    Since there has been no application of Imagination's top tier configurations after Apple abandoned them (from the Furian generation, 2017), leaving that market for small budget gpus, likely those in wearable devices will be justifiable.
    They having been working on high-end mobile gpus for some 5 years without market share, sadly.
    Reply
  • Zingam - Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - link

    This way of thinking, Mr.... that's why you are no Bill Gates. Reply
  • Yojimbo - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    Because the Chinese have a lot of money to throw around and they desperately want to develop market-controlling technologies. They don't control that many Western IP companies. Might as well try to make use of the few they do control. Reply
  • Zingam - Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - link

    I doubt that Chinese have that much money... They are just big. When you are big then you also spend more to support yourself. Reply
  • Yojimbo - Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - link

    They have a huge amount of money. And they have a planned economy so they can strategically put it where they want. If they want to dominate 5G they can develop 5G IP, steal 5G IP, subsidize 5G equipment makers, etc., for example. The also have a yearly trade surplus of more than $400 billion. And they have an isolated financial system in which they can rack up a lot of debt, and foreign investors have been very happy to loan them money, anyway. They do spend a huge amount of money building useless infrastructure to pump up their GDP numbers and employ their citizens, but at the same time they are strategically developing, leeching, and stealing high tech design and manufacturing capabilities to attempt to dominate future technologies. Reply
  • dotjaz - Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - link

    They don't have a planned economy. It's largely market-driven. You are kidding yourself if you think they can create and control the world's biggest single market.

    Certain industries are government controlled, yes, just like any western countries before privatization of utility services became a thing. And their sovereign fund is much bigger.
    Reply
  • colinisation - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    Still not sure why IMGTech was never just bought out by Apple or ARM. They seem to have some interesting tech. Reply
  • GC2:CS - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    To my knowledge IMGTech got bid by Apple twice. But they refused. Reply
  • EthiaW - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    Such a stubborn engineer-leaded company. Reply

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