iPhone 3GS Graphics Even More Powerful than Imagined?


MacRumors is reporting that Apple's new iPhone 3GS, while indeed using Imagination Technologies' PowerVR graphics core, may just have a little more under the hood than previously thought:

iPhone developers, however, have discovered that the iPhone 3GS has extension files named "IMGSGX535GLDriver" suggesting that the new iPhone uses the more powerful graphics processor intended for "high end" mobile devices. This may not be entirely conclusive evidence by itself but it is consistent with a report from a Anandtech commenter who claims to have heard directly from Apple engineers at WWDC that the iPhone 3GS does indeed use the SGX 535.

Zoom. Zoom.

In a related story, Apple has apparently raised their stakes in Imagination Technologies to 9.5% on the heels of Intel's 16%.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone 3GS Graphics Even More Powerful than Imagined?


We keep hearing AMAZING things about the 3GS! Truly revolutionary. But what could they possible add to next year's iPhone?! Guess we'll have to see...

For marketing reasons, I think Apple is going to try and hold back on differentiating the 3GS from the 3G for now. But eventually there will be apps that can only be used on the 3GS and the 3G will become more obsolete.

We get it, the 3GS is fast! WE KNOW THAT!
What I wanna know is why it's not pushing out anything impressive yet. If you go back and look, the iPhones processors are a powerhouse in relation to what was powering the SEGA Dreamcase, and for its time, that had some sweet graphics. When am I gonna see games like that on the iPhone?

I agree man, just give it time for the Developers to get better at what they do, At the end of the day it's not Apple it's the Dev's making the games and Apps.
I literally buy a new game almost every single week and i can tell you with confidance that the games ARE improving and in the right direction.
Star Defense by far is one example of this,
so just give the Devs some time to push out these amazing games that THEY DO in fact have the power to push out.

The problem is the tear down sites that have examined the phone to date are basically screw driver people.
There will be subsequent analysis articles appearing in coming weeks where they start etching to tops off of some of those obscure chips and determining their exact origin and capability.
As for HD, as I've said all along, HD is meaningless and impossible with a resolution of 480 x 320.
I wish people throwing that HD term around would at least recognize that you need to replace more than the graphics chip to achieve it. You need to totally replace the screen hardware.
Unless or until apple doubles the resolution of the physical screen there will be no HD.
The Specs say: 480-by-320-pixel resolution at 163 ppi.
Could Apple have snuck in dual-resolution screen which it is currently running at 163ppi, but could switch to 326ppi?
Grab your 3G and your 3Gs and examine the screens side by side with a strong magnifier (or reverse your binoculars and use them as a microscope). If the individual pixels on the screens are the same size you are not getting beyond 480x320. No HD.
But really, how much resolution do you need in a 3.5-inch screen?

The blackberry bold's screen has the same resolution but is half the size. Watching a movie on it is really impressive.

There is more to the iPhone than its screen. You can plug a video-out cable on the machine!!!
If it were able to output HD res, it would make a very very versatile device, such as all those multimedia HDD out there. When you go to a friend's house, you could bring a movie right in your phone, without any sacrifice to quality.

MMMM....next years phone...i challenge them to make it even faster, but with better battery life.

back in the day, i had a powervr chip based video card in my pc. it was an excellent performer, but it had some glitches with some games. the sega dreamcast also had a powervr as a gpu.

Mr E said:
Jun 26th @ 01:40 pm
So is this why my battery drains soo quickly ?
Yea the 3Gs does seem like the battery goes away quickly maybe my expectations were to high

@ Chris
Maybe when we get a controller add-on. Hardware isn't holding the device back, input is. Even Nintendo had buttons with it's touchscreen DS. I'm not sure I like the direction though. I love games but for a mobile phone I'd rather have more powerful apps.