Imagination Releases Full ISA Documentation For PowerVR Rogue GPUs

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 21 October 2014 at 08:47 AM EDT. 42 Comments
Imagination Technologies released the PowerVR SDK v3.4 this morning and while it may not sound too interesting for most Phoronix readers, it's a very interesting release in that for the first time they are providing full instruction set documentation for their latest PowerVR GPUs.

With PVRShaderEditor in PowerVR SDK v3.4 is support to access the GLSL disassembly for their shader compilers and accessing the full instruction set documentation on PowerVR Rogue GPUs. Rogue is PowerVR's Series 6 architecture. The Roge GPU is capable of OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenGL 3.2, OpenCL 1.2, and DIrect3D 10.0. The Series 6 GPUs can be found in ARM SoCs from MediaTek, Renesas, Allwinner, and others.

Imagination claims in their announcement that "This is the first time an ISA for a GPU supported by the Android ecosystem has been made public." Perhaps among the ARM mobile graphics processors for having the instruction set architecture, but AMD has long made their ISAs public and their open-source Linux graphics stack supports Android, etc.

Imagination seems to be opening up their ISA not in hopes of helping any open-source driver efforts but those wishing to tune their code for maximum performance. "Having access to the GLSL disassembly inside PVRShaderEditor and the PowerVR Rogue ISA documentation means you can now effectively see your shader code being translated into actual Series6 (FP16 and FP32) and Series6XT assembly, giving you the opportunity to tune for various performance and power optimizations."

More details on the new PowerVR SDK can be found via the announcement at
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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