Now better known for its PowerVR embedded GPUs, Imagination Technologies tried to enter the CPU market by purchasing MIPS Technologies and introducing microAptiv, interAptiv, and proAptiv cores in 2012.
It did not end up well, as the company had to sell its MIPS technology a few years later, and the MIPS architecture is now barely supported. But Imagination is now working on getting back into the CPU space by designing RISC-V cores.
This year Imagination is re-entering the CPU market with designs based around the RISC-V open ISA. Imagination’s heritage in CPU enables it to provide innovative and patent protected technologies for the discrete CPU market as well as addressing demand for heterogeneous solutions that combine GPU, CPU and AI processors. This strategy will enable further growth.
That’s about all there’s in the PR, but a May 2021 report by the Financial Times claims Imagination expects to invest up to $150m over the next two years to target a fresh push into the processor design market, specifically citing the RISC-V architecture.
The announcement should probably not surprise anyone, as last year, the company published a free RISC-V course entitled “RVfpga: Understanding Computer Architecture“, and now available in several languages. That’s an also interesting move, as right now, as Imagination Technologies and Vivante GPUs, are basically the only options for RISC-V cores, as Arm may not be interested in providing Mali GPU IP to competing platforms. So far on RISC-V processors with PowerVR GPU have been announced, but at least one company is working on a RISC-V SoC with a Vivante GPU. In any case, that means that in the future, we could see RISC-V SoCs with both Imagination Technologies CPU and GPU IP blocks.
Via Tom’s Hardware
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.