PowerVR Series6 passes OpenGL ES 3.0 conformance with flying colours

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Imagination’s PowerVR Series6 GPU technologies have now achieved full conformance with the latest version of OpenGL ES, marking another major milestone for this family of efficient, low power GPU IP cores which have been among the first OpenGL ES 3.0-conformant graphics cores to ship in consumer products.

OpenGL ES is an open API from Khronos for advanced embedded graphics, blurring the line between the quality of mobile and desktop graphics while keeping the focus on an efficient and low power implementation. It also provides a low-level applications programming interface (API) between software applications and hardware graphics engines such as Imagination’s PowerVR GPUs.

_PowerVRGPU_Series6_OpenGLES 3.0

OpenGL ES 3.0 is the first update to OpenGL ES since 2004, bringing new features to the mobile standard that were previously only available on the desktop-oriented OpenGL 3.3 and 4.2. Khronos has kept backwards compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0 but introduced new capabilities within the rendering pipeline, extended the list of texture formats, updated the GLSL ES shading language, and enhanced texturing functionality and efficiency, among other enhancements. With these advanced features, Khronos’ OpenGL ES 3.0 is a significant step forward for mobile and embedded graphics and brings mobile platforms another step closer to the performance and feature set of traditionally more capable desktop and console architectures.

We have worked closely with Khronos to make sure our PowerVR Series6 IP cores and drivers are optimized to enable full OpenGL ES 3.0 support across our ‘Rogue’ family. Through Imagination’s commitment to support a variety of graphics and compute standards from the Khronos Group, Microsoft, Google or the HSA Foundation for current and future generations of the PowerVR GPU IP family, our partners are able to design flexible system architectures and deploy them across a wide range of operating systems like Linux, Android, Windows or QNX.

The next stage of performance and efficiency in mobile graphics

The widespread adoption by semiconductor manufacturers and developers has made our PowerVR family the GPU technology of choice for mobile and embedded application development, addressing a wide array of markets from smartphones and tablets to smart TVs and STBs, expanding into automotive and other emerging markets. We are excited by these new developments in the world of mobile and embedded GPUs, which further blur the boundaries between mobile and traditional high-end graphics platforms.

To start developing for OpenGL ES 3.0, head over to our PowerVR Insider website and download the latest release of our PowerVR Graphics SDK. The latest v3.0 r2 release supports OpenGL ES 3.0 development for PowerVR Series6 GPUs (G6200 and G6400) and is fully integrated with the Android SDK Manager.

PowerVR Graphics SDK v3.0

Come see OpenGL ES 3.0 running on PowerVR Series6 at MWC 2013

Imagination will be showing the capabilities of the new OpenGL ES 3.0 API at MWC 2013 with various demos running on PowerVR Series6 platforms.

The OpenGL ES 3.0 Classical demo features a classical bedroom scene presented in two flavours. The first is a day time scene demonstrating high-end volumetric lighting, with light flooding into the room from a window.  The second shows the room at night, with only a swinging lantern lighting the room, realistically casting shadows in all directions using omni-directional shadow mapping.

Gremlin is another graphics and compute intensive demo, with a spooky scene featuring a very expressive swamp gremlin. Each part of his face is morphed using OpenGL ES 3.0 transform feedback. When combined with vertex skinning, this allows for a limitless array of eerily realistic facial expressions with minimal CPU loading.

PowerVR GPU OpenGL ES 3.0 PowerVR Series6 Gremlin

In Leaves, a storm of leaves swirls across the screen as transform feedback is used to calculate the position and orientation of each leaf combined with Instancing, another key OpenGL ES 3.0 feature, which is used to draw the high complexity leaves with close to 300 polygons each.

PowerVR GPU OpenGL ES 3.0 PowerVR Series6 Leaves

Metropolis features OpenGL ES 3.0 Instanced Geometry. A high-rise futuristic urban scene is rendered using hundreds of OpenGL ES 3.0 Instanced buildings and flying cars. MRTs are used to add atmospheric bloom effects adding to the cinematic feeling of the scene. High quality anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering ensure top of the line image quality.

PowerVR GPU OpenGL ES 3.0 PowerVR Series6 Metropolis

In Shrine, an eerie night-time scene shows the benefits of Light Indexed Deferred Lighting using OpenGL ES 3.0 Multiple Render Targets. This advanced approach to scene lighting enables up to 4 light sources per pixel selected from up to 1024 lights per scene and can be efficiently combined with advanced hardware based anti-aliasing effects.

PowerVR GPU OpenGL ES 3.0 PowerVR Series6 Shrine

Ensuring a smooth transition path from OpenGL ES 2.0 to OpenGL ES 3.0

The Khronos Group improved the functionality of OpenGL ES 3.0 to ensure that the latest features were easily available to developers to help them create the next generation of applications. But just like the transition from OpenGL ES 1.1 to 2.0 happened gradually, we thought developers would appreciate a helping hand from Imagination.

To maintain the OpenGL ES 2.0 ecosystem momentum and ensure a smooth migration towards OpenGL ES 3.0, we have released a set of advanced API extensions for existing PowerVR Series5XT (SGX) GPUs. These give application processors using the technology, and mobile and embedded devices based on them, access to some of the features that would otherwise be only available on OpenGL ES 3.0 on the latest PowerVR Series6 GPUs.

OEMs and semiconductor partners can now enable these optional OpenGL ES 2.0 extensions on PowerVR Series5XT-based platforms to give developers access to some of the key features of next generation APIs, such as OpenGL ES 3.0, on today’s technology.

The OpenGL ES 2.0 API extensions provide a comprehensive and carefully selected list of features such as MRTs, occlusion queries, seamless cube maps, sampler access from vertex shaders, floating point textures, GLSL full-precision floating point, R and RG textures, min/max blends, and multisample render buffers.

More details on Imagination’s PowerVR Series6 conformance results can be found by visiting the Khronos conformance website. For the latest news on Imagination’s PowerVR GPUs, follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationTech and @PowerVRInsider) and keep coming back to the PowerVR blog.

Alex Voica

Alex Voica

Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

2 thoughts on “PowerVR Series6 passes OpenGL ES 3.0 conformance with flying colours”

  1. Hi,
    this is not related to OpenGL ES 3.0 but can you tell us more about these Shading/ Compute Clusters? What SIMD/VLIW configuration they use? How they compare to USSEs in Series5?

    • While unfortunately we can’t give exact details on how the ‘Rogue’ USC executes, I can confirm that, even though both rely on a unified architecture, the Series6 USC is a more efficient design compared to the USSE inside Series5 and Series5XT GPUs. The USC is a much wider, more computationally-dense arrangement.
      You can find out more about how both USC and USSE scale at
      under the ‘PowerVR USSE and USC Architecture’ heading.
      Best regards,


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