Samsung is nearing the finishing line in the development of its own in-house GPU design, the SGPU. According to a report published by Graphic Speak, a Job Peddie Research title, the new SGPU is "the first new GPU design in over a decade," and could send chills through the collective spines of AMD, Apple, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.
Samsung has been very low key in its development plans, says the report, but it has recently stepped up efforts to realise the project's potential. Late last year Samsung hired Dr. Chien-Ping Lu, or 'CP' as he is known to friends, for this crucial final stage of development. The brand new graphics IP will benefit from CP's experience at Nvidia (nForce IGP), and MediaTek (in-house 4-year GPU project which wasn't finalised).
As well as the recent filling of the top position for SGPU development, "Samsung Austin and San Jose are now filling out the engineering teams in hardware, software, test, verification, and implementation," says Graphic Speak. With the weight of new recruits, and the existing IP developed over recent months, Samsung is expected to reveal its first SGPU specs/test results to the public within a year. Then, it is likely to first appear as part of an Exynos SoC.
Already there are some whispers about the SGPU potential. Engineering tests and simulations have revealed that the early SGPU design performs better than predicted with attractive performance, latency, power consumption stats and capabilities. The SGPU is said to achieve its standout results by sidestepping VLIW techniques, and its SIMD architecture bundles multiple instructions into a group that can be executed in a single cycle.
Speculation on what Samsung will do with a winning GPU design varies. It could keep the IP in house for maximum competitive advantage in its own brand devices. Alternatively it could be made into a plug-in solution which other device makers can add to their products.
Some indication of direction is given by a further report by the EETimes, which has garnered more quotes from Jon Peddie, principal of Jon Peddie Research, who should know his GPUs from his CPUs, TPUs, and VPUs. Mr Peddie was positively emphatic about the upcoming SGPU, stating "This design is so good they could deploy it in every platform — it's a function of their ambition. If I owned it, it would be in everything including cockpits and supercomputers". Peddie was confident that Samsung's SGPU was on a par with Apple's latest GPU designs.