iOS 4.3 Driver Bundle Hints at Faster GPU
The discovery of a new driver bundle
inside the iOS 4.3 beta is suggesting a potentially radical leap in performance for iDevices. The PowerVR SGX543, the smallest OpenCL-capable graphics core, isn't used in any current iOS device, but its inclusion in the beta suggests one or more future device will incorporate it. The power of this co-processor could lead to iPads and iPhones that have comparable performance to notebook computers.
Apple currently uses Imagination Technology's PowerVR SGX535 as the graphics coprocessor in the A4 chip. This is the same GPU used in the iPhone 3GS, as well as the Motorola Droid and the Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab. It supports OpenGL 2.0 and can render up to 28 million polygons per second with a fillrate of 500 million pixels per second. The next-generation SGX543, by comparison, can render 35 million polygons per second with a fillrate of 1 billion pixels per second. Additionally, the SGX543 supports OpenCL
, which means that programs will be able to access the GPU for non-graphical processing, drastically boosting power. It can be stacked it a multi-core configuration, though there might not be space inside the successor to the A4 system-on-a-chip for more than a single graphics core.
Up to the current generation, iOS devices have been perhaps better known for the quality of its software than the speed of its hardware. In 2011, if this chip comes to the platform and growing rumors about a multicore processor
are to be believed, that could all be set to change.