Pixelworks’ AI-based video processor

Making displays of all types more intelligent

Posted: By Jon Peddie 09.02.20

San Jose based Pixelworks is announcing the i6 processor, its sixth generation mobile visual processor, and the first with low-power AI tech (built on the Company’s mobile display datasets). AI comes into place to adaptively optimize picture quality.

The i6 processor, says the company, uses AI to intelligently upscale the dynamic range of video and gaming content while concurrently optimizing the contrast, sharpness, brightness, and color temperature of the display. It does that based on ambient lighting conditions, content attributes, display characteristics, and usage patterns for cinematic visual quality. The new chip also employs advancements in the company’s color calibration and management. That includes Pixelworks’ always-on HDR technology and HDR10/10+ tone mapping, which the company claims has up to 40% lower overall power consumption than its predecessor, the Pixelworks i3 processor, formerly known as Iris 3.

The Pixelworks i6 Pro processor says the company, provides additional system-level software for visual quality and power efficiency. That, says the company offers the highest possible refresh rates and resolutions by mapping feature sets and modes across a range of apps and use cases for LCDs and OLED displays. The solutions have a set of auto-adaptive display features that include flicker-free DC dimming and smooth brightness control for OLED displays and dynamic brightness control with 3X more video and gaming contrast for LCD displays. There is also a new processing unit that preserves sharpness, contrast, and skin tone accuracy across various color gamuts and viewing modes.

Mighty and tiny (Source: Pixelworks)


The i6 processor improves video and image quality on LCD and OLED mobile displays with a dynamic refresh rate up to 144 Hz. The new and enhanced features include:

  • AI processing unit—AI display inferencing that augments the company’s fuzzy logic IP to adaptively optimize overall picture quality for video, games, and photos at low power.
  • AI scene detection—Provides optimal real-time SDR-to-HDR conversion for videos, games, and photos. Offers dynamic local contrast and sharpness tuning for an always-on HDR operation.
  • AI adaptive display—Analyzes ambient light conditions, settings, and the content and adjusts daylight view levels.
  • Skin Tone Accuracy—Dynamically detects and protects skin tones for a natural look across color gamuts and custom viewing modes.
  • Dark Noise Suppression—Dynamically reduces visual background “noise” in low-light videos and photos.
  • Color Calibration (3.0)—delivers color accuracy with a simple and quick one-pass test easily deployable on the factory floor.

The new i-series naming encompasses both the Pixelworks i3 (formerly Iris 3) and the new i6 processor. The Company’s existing premium tier solution—Iris 5—becomes part of the X series and is renamed the Pixelworks X5 processor.

Pixelworks’ product line up (Source: Pixelworks)


The new Pixelworks i6 processors are made in 22 nm ULL from TSMC and use  40% less total power compared to Iris 3 (its predecessor) when all functions are running. The Pixelworks i6 processor is sampling now to lead customers and is expected to be in commercial production in Q4 2020.

What do we think?

Designed for smartphones we can imagine the chip being used in XR devices and TVs as well. The addition of AI processing in the i6 family is quite an accomplishment.