AMD shows off accelerated vector graphics

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

San Francisco (CA) - The future of mobile phone graphics lies in vector-based acceleration, according to AMD. The company demoed its upcoming G12 and G40 mobile graphics chips at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and claimed that they can speed up vector graphics rending by up to thirty times. According to company representatives, the chips could also help developers produce more eye catching interfaces and reduce power consumption.

 

Software routines were shown off at the FPGA level and vector-based animations appeared to play seamlessly through the small demo screens. AMD reps said test units will be available to developers later this year and the final version should be up to six times faster than boards demoed at GDC.

Vector-based graphics can scale up and down without loss of resolution. This allows mobile phone game makers to easily port desktop style games down to mobile phones. Company reps said that vector graphics could also help developers save memory, something that is in short supply on a mobile phone, by letting them reuse graphics through tilting, scaling or coloring the same graphic multiple ways.

We noticed that the hardware accelerated anti-aliasing and tessellation looked great, even on such early prototypes. Smooth curves, which would have looked jagged on other chips, stayed smooth when scaled up and down.

 

The upcoming chip is the result of AMD's recent purchase of Bit Boys. You may remember that company from its outlandish vaporware claims of a super graphics card that would greatly outperform ATI and Nvidia cards. That product was never released, but Bit Boys resurrected themselves into making graphics chips for mobile phones.

AMD representatives told us that handsets with the G12 and G40 chips should be available around Christmas 2008.