Imagination Technologies launches visually lossless image compression for GPUs

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Imagination Technologies has unveiled the PowerVR PVRIC4, the new generation of its powerful image compression technology that will enable better image quality on tablets and smartphones.

London-based Imagination Technologies said its customers who adopt the tech are targeting devices such as digital TVs, smartphones, and tablets to reduce costs without a discernible loss of image quality.

The PVRIC4 enables random-access visually lossless image compression, ensuring bandwidth and memory footprint savings of at least 50 percent and enabling systems to overcome performance bandwidth constraints.

Imagination provides PVRIC4 as a standalone intellectual property block for system-on-chip (SoC) manufacturers to integrate into their multimedia pipelines. The block is already used by Imagination partners, including Chips & Media, which has access to PVRIC4 as part of a recent collaboration to deliver an optimum solution for a system leveraging a PowerVR GPU and WAVE5 video codec.

The company unveiled the tech at the Linley Processor Conference in Santa Clara, California.

“Imagination’s PVRIC4 is a significant advancement for GPU compression technology,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of the Linley Group, in a statement. “The increasing demands on memory bandwidth and footprint are a real concern for SoC manufacturers, so the ability to combine lossless and visually lossless compression delivers both cost and bandwidth savings.”

Above: Imagination Technologies

Image Credit: Imagination Technologies

PVRIC4 features a dual-pipeline frame buffer compression engine. A new lossy pipeline, used only if the lossless pipeline does not achieve 50 percent compression, ensures that even difficult-to-compress “noisy” images are compressed with the highest fidelity. A decision logic block determines which output should be used to guarantee the compression ratio, and due to highly tuned algorithms, the image quality change is imperceptible.

Thanks to this hybrid solution, PVRIC4 offers SoC manufacturers the best of both approaches, with the highest fidelity ensuring bandwidth and frame buffer allocation savings on graphics and video content. This is all performed in hardware and achieved without any performance overhead.

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PVRIC4’s bandwidth savings translate into better battery life for consumers and cost savings for system manufacturers, enabling more RAM and bandwidth to be freed for other uses, such as enabling simultaneous fast 5G downloads while the GPU is in use or a reduction in the number of memory chips used in the system.

“With the increasing demands introduced by higher resolution 4K and 8K displays, as well as the desire to reduce system costs, the need to minimize memory bandwidth is an ongoing priority for our customers,” said Nigel Leeder, executive vice president of PowerVR at Imagination, in a statement. “They require a solution that keeps costs and power down. By introducing visually lossless compression into our GPUs, we can now guarantee a reduction in memory bandwidth and usage.”

PVRIC4 will be available as a feature in next-generation PowerVR GPUs and is available for licensing now as a standalone IP block.

Source: VentureBeat

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