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Vivante First GPU IP Vendor To Support Open GLES 3.0 API
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Vivante First GPU IP Vendor To Support Open GLES 3.0 API  
In this exclusive interview, Benson Tao, product planning and marketing, Vivante, answers a few of the questions concerning Vivante's latest move towards support of OpenGL.ES3.0   
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 Vivante Corp. is a global supplier of embedded graphic processor unit (GPU) design. It offers a comprehensive set of GPU solutions for applications in the mobile device and home entertainment market segments worldwide. Vivante has become the first GPU IP vendor to support Open GLES 3.0 API.

In this exclusive interview, Benson Tao, Product Planning and Marketing, Vivante, answers a few questions concerning Vivante's latest move toward support of OpenGL.ES 3.0 API.


EFY: How can the industry benefit from this move?

Benson Tao: OpenGL ES 3.0 is the next industry specification targeting advanced graphics on mobile, consumer, and embedded devices. The industry is always pushing for something new, something more advanced, and graphics rendering improvements (performance, features, realism) with each new generation. What people see in leading edge desktops (think Nvidia/AMD graphics cards) will migrate down to mobile/consumer/embedded devices as technology allows (die areas, power reduction, transistor geometries, etc.).

OpenGL ES 2.0 was publicly released in March 2007, so it is time for a new upgrade to the next version of the API. Right now the majority of graphical features in games, apps, etc. are based on ES 2.0. To initially differentiate upcoming products developers need to use ES 3.0. A game using ES 3.0 will have more available features and options developers can use, and that consumers can clearly see (new ways of lighting, more shading horsepower, better geometrical representation (realistic) of objects, etc.)

The most important part is it keeps the industry moving forward, since some features from desktop OpenGL/DirectX will be brought in to the next generation ES specification and enabled on mobile devices.

EFY: What features do Vivante GPUs have that make it superior to other competitors?

Benson Tao: We are the worldwide #2 GPU IP provider in terms of volume shipments and designs. Our architecture is fully scalable in terms of number of shaders and number of GPU cores (multi-core) designs. We use immediate mode rendering (IMR), which has clear benefits over legacy architecture based on tile deferred rendering (TDR). Leading edge graphics from Nvidia and AMD also use IMR like us. One analogy in this context would be- in the past, the desktop graphics world had both IMR and TDR competing for the best performance, power, bandwidth, etc.

Both architectures had lots of industry support (games, ecosystem, developers, semiconductor vendors, etc). For simple geometries (legacy apps), TDR had its benefits which is why it was still around long time ago. As game geometries became more advanced (more triangles), TDR hit the wall as they couldn’t keep up with the improvements in graphics. In the end, TDR could not keep up with IMR and they lost the industry battle. As of today, no leading edge graphics vendors use TDR. Everyone uses IMR. Something similar will slowly happen in the mobile world.

IMR already has shown benefits and performance improvements (performance per area and mW per Mhz) where the old arguments of TDR do not make sense. We have high precision and math units in our pipelines that support both HDR (high dynamic range) graphics and GPU-Compute (OpenCL). Our older generation products (ex. i.MX6) was the first GPU to pass OpenCL 1.1 conformance testing (CTS) and supports ES 3.0. We do a lot of things in our micro-architecture on the bandwidth reduction, power, area, etc. sides to make sure our designs are optimized for the application. Our GPU pipeline supports OpenGL, OpenGL ES, DirectX on the graphics side and OpenCL, DirectCompute, and Renderscript on the GPGPU/GPU-Compute API side.

EFY: What benefits can one expect from Open GL specification?

Benson Tao: Just like ES 3.0, the benefits of OpenGL comes down to features, new additions to the architecture as APIs advance. Since OpenGL and OpenGL ES are subsets of one another, and based on the same GLSL (GL Shading language) they use the same fundamental structure and SW architecture.

EFY: How does Vivante see this move performing over the next one year or so?

Benson Tao: Many industry partners in the ecosystem are already trying to code for upcoming releases of OpenGL ES 3.0. The first step will be benchmarks, followed by new games. ISVs and developers are always looking for the next new thing (technology and business) so this adoption is already happening. OpenGL ES (2.0) is already the defacto standard for mobile (smartphone/tablet) and CE (STB/TV) games, so the ecosystem will adopt this new API for future releases.

EFY: What features would Vivante like to add to the GPU cores in the future?

Benson Tao: We are part of the Khronos (OpenGL, OpenGL ES) working group so we have visibility into what future features will be added or those being proposed. Being in the graphics industry you can extrapolate and examine features and figure out what makes sense for the next API or how it affects die area, power, etc. We are always looking at new features, improvements and how they map to the market segments we provide IP to.

Srinivas Nallani  Chakravathi, EFYTIMES News Network

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