Imagination to acquire Caustic Graphics

Discussion in 'Graphics and Semiconductor Industry' started by Rob Evans, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. Rob Evans

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  2. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    Ah, so they hope Otellini is still daydreaming about raytracing and this will get them into every single future Intel chip ever. A good plan if I ever saw one! ;) Also worth pointing out that the three founders of Caustic are all ex-Apple.

    Caustic's solution is hardware-based (FPGA for now) algorithms that supposedly handle all the irregular parts of raytracing and feed a highly regular (memory locality/branching) workload to the GPU (currently via OpenCL I think). I'm a bit skeptical of some of their claims, and I'm curious whether SGX (&Series6?) being MIMD means they can either do some/all of that processing in the shader core and whether MIMD does give some extra efficiency (very high coherence doesn't mean perfect coherence).

    Imagination does seem like a very good fit for Caustic, but I'm not sure Caustic is as good a fit for Imagination - it is quite expensive, and their operating loss in the last year is quite high. Hopefully this is based on real customer interest (i.e. Intel/Apple) and not just long-term thinking.
     
  3. Simon F

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    That's a fair summary.
     
  4. upnorthsox

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    Sony maybe?
     
  5. Arun

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    I know the console cycles are getting longer, but it still seems a bit late for the PS4, doesn't it? Unless Sony (or MS or Nintendo) was already working with Caustic and considering integrating it along with their choice of GPU IP anyway - which I doubt, but is far from impossible.

    On the technology itself: CausticOne is based on two 100MHz FPGAs with a 64-bit DDR2 bus per FPGA. CausticTwo (with 4x the logic of CausticOne), will according to ExtremeTech "run at just 350-MHz, in a 1-square-centimeter package fabricated in 90 nanometers". Presumably that means a 100mm2 chip, and not a 100mm2 package. Scaled down to 20nm, that's about 7mm2, and if you excluded the supporting subsystems (memory controller, PCI-E, etc.) it's probably closer to 5mm2. Even without any hardware sharing with PowerVR GPU IP, that's still very small for their *claimed* performance level.

    I was very skeptical of their claims, but seeing them successfully go through due diligence by Imagination is extremely encouraging. I'm still not sure how they can apply it to their target market in the short/mid-term, but we'll see.
     
  6. Mat3

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    Does Caustic raytracing work with DX11 tessellation? If the model polygons are being changed on the fly at render time, it would seem they aren't compatible. Just curious...
     
  7. silent_guy

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    Maybe expensive for Imagination, but I can't believe this is a great exit for the investors. The company must have burned through much more than that. So probably a fire sale to recoup at least a little bit of money...
     
  8. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    DX is designed for (for want of a better term) scan line rendering but, FWIW, ray tracing and dynamic tessellation can be an ideal match.
     
  9. JohnH

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    Yes, I saw a talk from one of the guys from Pixar where he described the pipleine they used for Monsters Inc, dynamic tessellation and displacement figured heavily in this, it was also tile based... ;)
     
  10. MfA

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    There is a better term ... forward rendering, not very commonly used but still a better term. The term scanline rendering is counter intuitive and overloaded with the original meaning.
     
  11. MfA

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    They didn't use raytracing in Monsters Inc. did they?

    Tesselation isn't really a poorer fit for raytracing than any other high detail animated surface representations ... pure raytracing sucks for all of them, since it has lousy coherency in object space. It can't just animate, tesselate, displace, render and forget. It has to remember the final vertices as long as possible, and pray that by the time the geometry has disappeared from the tesselation cache no more rays will hit the object.

    For first and shadow ray passes you really want some type of hybrid backward/forward renderer, so you can test rays against tesselated geometry and throw it away with 100% certainty no more rays will hit it in this pass.
     
  12. JohnH

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    Unless I'm mixing up presentations (it was a while ago), yes they did (not for everything).
    It certainly does ;)
     
  13. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    Hmm... surely that's just as likely to lead to confusion between "forwards" and "backwards" (i.e standard) ray tracing.


    Maybe I should just have said "Z buffer, triangle rendering" and there'd be no confusion.
     
  14. Squilliam

    Squilliam Beyond3d isn't defined yet
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    Does this mean that Rys will have some more friends to play with?
     
  15. MfA

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    I've always considered tracing a ray z-buffered tile rendering with a tile size of 1.
     
  16. Sonic

    Sonic Senior Member
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    Would something like Caustic's take at ray tracing integrate nicely into PowerVR tech? Or should I ask: Is there anything about PowerVR's TBDR based rendering that would allow Caustic's stuff to integrate nicely into it or would it be a major headache? I mean compared to AMD's and Nvidia's offerings in the GPU world, does PowerVR GPU provide advantages for ray tracing like this in a way that in the future IMG could use it as a selling point and performance be decent? Could they implement it in their pipeline efficiently?
     
  17. jlippo

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    First movie in which they used ray-tracing heavily was Cars and they limited it to couple of bounces of reflections and ambient occlusion.
     
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