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Philips licenses PowerVR MBX core

ARM sub-licensing deal pays off - again

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Philips has become the second chip maker to license Imagination Technologies' PowerVR MBX mobile graphics core, courtesy of the developer's partnership with ARM.

Philips will license AMR's MBX R-5 core, derived from PowerVR MBX. Philips will combine it with an ARM 9 core in a processor aimed at the mobile market.

In January this year, ARM sub-licensed the PowerVR MBX core to Samsung. In April 2003, Imagination licensed the technology to Texas Instruments. Last month TI said it would incorporate the technology into its new OMAP 2 platform.

Intel is also a licensee, as are Hitachi and Sharp. It is thought that the Imagination core forms the basis of Intel's upcoming Marathon mobile graphics part, designed to work alongside its next-generation ARM-based XScale CPU, Bulverde.

PowerVR MBX uses the screen-tiling technique, long a feature of PowerVR graphics. The core renders a screen as collection of independent tiles, which speeds the overall rendering process considerably. This means the chip is relatively simple, in turn keeping the power consumption down.

Sega recently said it would use PowerVR in its arcade game units. Its relationship with Imagination stretches back to the Dreamcast console, which contained a previous generation of the graphics technology. ®

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