Rumour: PSP2 Features Quad Core Graphics Chip

Digital Foundry investigates the tech.

Eurogamer.es is reporting that PowerVR technology from Imagination Technologies will form the basis of the still-in-development PSP2. The site claims to have insider sources that reckon that a quad core iteration of the low-power SGX543MP chip, codenamed "Hydra", will be present in the next generation handheld, not to be confused with the forthcoming PSPgo.

The chip itself appears to be very close indeed to the enhanced GPU experts say resides within the iPhone 3GS, providing a generational leap in performance over older PowerVR MBX processors found in the previous models. The same technology is also found in select netbooks such as the Dell Mini 12, as part of the new low power Poulsbo chipset. The single core version of the chip has been demonstrated at CES running Quake 3 Arena at 30FPS.

The obvious difference of course is that the SGX543MP is a multicore processor, available with anything up to 16 cores on tap. According to the original report, PSP2 opts for a quad configuration offering notional specs of 133 million polygons per second, and 4Gpixels/sec fillrate, assuming that Hydra operates at the chip's low-end of 200MHz (higher speed variants are also available, presumably for desktop use). While specs like this are always subject to interpretation, these figures are a ballpark match for the original Xbox. However, PowerVR's tech includes tile-based deferred rendering, which should provide a nice performance boost.

Also of interest is the fact that Imagination Technologies itself describes the chip as a GP-GPU, meaning it has the ability to operate as both CPU and graphics processor in one handy package, similar to projects being worked on by Intel and AMD. It may well be that PSP2 will centralise all of its processing into a single chip, thus saving power and providing other efficiency savings from a programming perspective (lightning fast interaction between game logic and graphics, for example).

So just how plausible is the original Spanish Eurogamer report? Having shared with us some of the more "off the record" information about the source of the info, it's a likely proposition, not least because Sony is hotly rumoured to have been the mystery "major international consumer electronics company" mentioned in this press release issued back in November last year.

Comments (67)

Comments for this article are now closed, but please feel free to continue chatting on the forum!