Imagination Technologies is not resting on its laurels after becoming a leader in the handheld and tablet business. The company is preparing its return to the world of discrete GPU cards, this time around with a GPGPU product.
Imagination Technologies is not resting on its laurels after winning a lot of the handheld, tablet and SmartTV market. The company is preparing its return to the world of discrete GPU cards in quite the opposite way from what you might guesstimate. As you can see on the picture below, the last time we saw PowerVR inside of a PC, the card was being bundled with Myst III: Exile, and its competitors were Radeon 8500 and GeForce 3.
Last year, Imagination Technologies acquired Caustic Graphics, a small start-up company out of San Francisco which was working hard on creating an accelerator that would make real-time ray-tracing a reality. The company managed to create two generations of products which were more technology demonstrators than anything else, but their FPGA chips worked.
Following the acquisition, Caustic continued working hard on building commercial purpose for its technology and on CES 2012, we managed to see the birth of commercialization. By using OpenRL Brazil 3.0 software dev kits (SDK), Imagination Technologies are in the final stages of bringing a real-time ray-tracing accelerator card to market.
While talking to representatives of both Caustic and Imagination Technologies, we were told that the card is set to be introduced in the second half of this year, with the goal being Siggraph 2012.
Given that for example, Quadro and Tesla units represent bread and butter at NVIDIA, and that the company is virtually unchallenged with their mentalray software and Tesla hardware – there could be plenty of room for a second player. If AMD turns focus on their FirePro line of products, maybe even a third challenger appears.
After all, OpenRT and Brazil are open SDK’s and follow the mantra of “Citus Altis Fortus” (Faster, Stronger).