A British company may have won the contract to design and build the next-generation graphics processor for the PSP2. Imagination Technologies Group announced in a press release this week that the company has signed a license agreement with a new partner, "a major consumer electronics company."
Industry sources say that the partner is almost certainly Sony, and that the SGX55x graphics chip will be used in the upcoming PSP2.
The secrecy on the part of Imagination Technologies makes sense, because Sony is understandably unwilling to announce its plans for a PSP successor just yet. Imagination's PowerVR MBX chip is already being used in the Apple iPhone, so Sony finds itself in good company with this manufacturer.
The SGX55x chip promises to be much more powerful than what is currently found in the PSP. At the moment, the PSP uses a proprietary GPU designed by Sony that is very similar to the older graphics processor in the PS2.
PSP GPU Specifications:
166 mhz core speed
2 MB VRAM
Up to 33 million polygons per second
664 million pixels per second (fill rate)
PowerVR SGX530 Specifications:
200 MHz Core Speed
13.5 million polygons per second
1200 million pixels per second (fill rate)
DirectX 9 Shader Model 3 support / OpenGL 2.0
128-bit color precision
Multi-sampling and anti-aliasing
Note that the specifications above are for the current generation SGX530. The SGX55x, which is still in development, is expected to be much more powerful. With unified shader architecture and OpenGL 2.0 support, we expect the next-generation PSP GPU to be somewhat in-line with the graphics capabilities of the RSX chip currently found in the PS3, just on a smaller scale. Two images below are taken from recent technical demonstrations by Imagination Technologies. These images show what the pixel shaders in the SGX GPU can do to add realism and effects to 3D games.
Image from Imagination Technologies, showing HDR lighting and other features in a demo of the SGX graphics chip. More PlayStation 3 News...