PowerVR gets ray tracing for games on mobiles

Imagination Technologies has added ray-tracing to its PowerVR Series6XT Rogue architecture, allowing real time modelling of dynamic lights and shadows on mobile devices, said the firm.

PowerVR with ray tracing

The first of the cores, called the Wizard family, is the GR5600 “designed to bring real-time, interactive ray traced graphics to a range of consumer and mobile platforms, as well as gaming consoles and mainstream gaming PCs, workstations and servers,” said Imagination. “It required a breakthrough in the algorithms used within ray tracing, as well as the addition of fixed function blocks in the GPU to allow ray tracing operations to be performed within the power consumption and bandwidth budgets available in consumer devices.”

According to the firm, Wizard can “perform ray tracing operations around 100 times as efficiently as performing the same operation using GPGPU functionality”.

The ray tracing hardware includes coherence gathering engines, a fixed-function intersection testing array and an accelerated scene hierarchy generator.

These receive rays from the shaders, determines their intersection and initiates more shaders.

“All of this is made possible with entirely dynamic scenes through the addition of a novel hardware pipeline to build scene hierarchies required for ray tracing in parallel with other operations, all while remaining compatible with existing programmable vertex operations,” claimed Imagination.

PowerVR with ray tracingPowerVR GR6500 delivers:
300million ray/s and 100million dynamic triangles/s at 600MHz
Four unified shading clusters, with 128 ALU cores delivering 150Gflop (FP32) or 300Gflop (FP16) at 600MHz
Texture, frame buffer, and geometry compression.

Further cores will follow that offer smaller power and area footprints, along with scaled up cores.

All Wizard cores will be designed to support APIs including: OpenGL ES 3.x, OpenGL 3.x, Direct3D 11 Level 10_0, OpenCL 1.x, and OpenRL 1.x.

More ray tracing allows games to have better dynamic shadows, reflections, transparencies, global-lighting, and ambient occlusion (the inside of a tube is darker then the outside).

“Ray tracing can add a superior shadowing or lighting solution to existing games while allowing game developers to preserve the majority of the investment that they have already made in their game engines and tools,” claimed Imagination. “Dynamic generation of assets in-game will streamline the content creation workflow and save distribution costs by reducing the size of the game files.”

Outside gaming, it can be used for lens distortion correction, lenticular display rendering, multi-perspective rendering, rendering to points of interest, line-of-sight calculations and collision detection, said Imagination.

The GR6500 core is available for licensing now.

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