Imagination Technologies, a leading designer of graphics cores for mobile applications, said that starting from 28nm process technology it would tailor implementations of its graphics cores to peculiarities of manufacturing processes at different foundries. The move will allow Imagination to boost performance of its PowerVR graphics cores while keeping their power consumption at low level.
ImgTec usually provides a "synthesizable core" to its licensee partners, who integrate them into their system-on-chip designs and then passes it to partners among contract makers of semiconductors for final manufacturing. However, as system-on-chips for advanced electronics like smartphones and media tablets become more complex and sophisticated, closer collaboration between technology providers, SoC designers and foundries is needed.
“We are doing this because our customers are asking for it. They say they want a chip tuned to a particular foundry. This is happening now because we are so much in the center of horsepower in computing,” said Tony King-Smith, vice president of marketing at Imagination Technologies, reports Venture Beat web-site.
Imagination is further developing its roadmaps, architectures and support to ensure its partners can select IP solutions optimized for the latest silicon process and SIP (system in package) technologies, enabling them to realize the full potential of what GPUs can deliver in SoCs, both for graphics and compute capabilities.
To help its partners, Imagination is already working with leading silicon foundries to implement high performance mobile GPU-based systems delivering unheard-of levels of memory bandwidth, using the latest PowerVR series 6 GPUs combined with wide I/O memory and advanced 3DIC assembly and process technologies. Imagination is also working with foundries and EDA vendors to ensure that licensees of all of Imagination’s IP (intellectual property) cores can benefit from well-defined tool flows and optimized libraries to achieve the most aggressive speed, area and power consumption targets.
At present, Imagination is working with EDA tool and library developers as well as foundries to help optimize the physical layout of its graphics processing units for 28nm and thinner manufacturing technologies. However, it will not sell hardened macros due to many reasons, reports EETimes web-site.
"We are making the design more aware of the process with hints in the design database itself--most library vendors with an open mind will be talking with us. Hard macros are rarely used because no one has the same [chip] floor plan, so it is better to tune up the flows and libraries so people can harden the designs themselves more effectively," said Mr. King-Smith.