Chinese IP House Innosilicon Demonstrates Power Sipping Fenghua No. 2 DirectX 11 GPU

hero innosilicon fantasy two ceo ao hai passive
It's pretty shocking to think about the reality of the semiconductor market. There are only a handful of vendors in each market that are relevant to most users. Take GPUs for example where there is only Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA. Only the latter two have options if you want to play high-end games, at least for now.

China has been trying to break away from reliance on foreign technology as much as possible, though. The country has its own home-grown CPUs, SoCs, memory, and software; the biggest thing it's lacking is GPUs. Innosilicon made some waves last year with its Fenghua No. 1 GPU, also known as Fantasy One, but we did not hear much about it after the initial announcement.

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Innosilicon announces the Fenghua 2's triple-monitor support on stage.

Well, in a live show yesterday, Innosilicon presented the second-generation Fenghua GPU, predictably named the Fenghua No. 2. Where the original part boasted grandiose specifications including up to 32GB of GDDR6X memory, the Fenghua No. 2 is a more modest product with a smaller GPU and an emphasis on low-power operation.

Innosilicon lays down specifications of 48 gigapixels per second fill rate, 1.5 TFLOPs FP32 compute, and 12.5 TOPS for AI operations. In a vacuum, none of those specifications are particularly impressive compared to modern GPUs from domestic design houses, but they become a lot more impressive once you realize that we're talking about a GPU that apparently draws power in the 5W range.

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Two possible models of Innosilicon Fantasy Two graphics cards.

One of the most surprising claims about the Fenghua No. 1 was that it would have DirectX support for use in Windows. We never saw that demonstrated, but Innosilicon is clearly much more confident in the second-generation part. The company demonstrated Windows 11 on stage using Unigine Heaven in DirectX 11 mode as well as various OpenGL benchmarks including CAD, AI processing, and a number of other game-like 3D tests.

That's not to say that there aren't questions about the Fenghua 2. Innosilicon says that while the original model used exotic GDDR6X memory, the new card steps down to its own LPDDR5X at 10 Gbps. That is a very impressive transfer rate for LPDDR5X memory; Innosilicon does not say how wide the memory bus on the Fenghua 2 is, but assuming a 64-bit bus, you're looking at 80 GB/sec—similar to the Steam Deck, and plenty enough for an entry-level GPU like this.

GFXBench's "Manhattan" demo running on the Fantasy Two.

The original Fenghua GPU from Innosilicon was based on PowerVR B-Series technology licensed from the UK's Imagination Technologies. We couldn't find any mention of ImgTec in Innosilicon's presentation, but PowerVR's unique tile-based tech is perfectly suited for tiny, super-efficient GPUs like this. We would be quite surprised if this isn't also PowerVR-based.

The Fantasy 1 never found its way out of China that we could see. That could be because it had limited production, or it could simply be that it was only ever intended for the Chinese market. Hopefully the Fantasy 2 can find its way overseas, as we'd love to put this little graphics processor through its paces.

Images in this post from CNBeta.