Here are the specs for the custom HPU chip inside the Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft has finally revealed the first details of the hardware specs for its custom Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that's included in the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset.

HPU chip

While Microsoft started shipping the first HoloLens Developer Edition headsets earlier this year, it has kept specifics about its custom HPU to itself. Today, The Register reports that Microsoft finally offered up more info on that chip as part of a panel at the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino, California:

The HPU is a custom-designed TSMC-fabricated 28nm coprocessor that has 24 Tensilica DSP cores. It has about 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SRAM and 1GB of low-power DDR3 RAM, all in a 12mm-by-12mm BGA package. We understand it can perform a trillion calculations a second.It handles all the environment sensing and other input and output necessary for the virtual-reality goggles. It aggregates data from sensors and processes the wearer's gesture movements, all in hardware so it's faster than the equivalent code running on a general purpose CPU. Each DSP core is given a particular task to focus on.

The HoloLens headset also has an Intel Atom processor that runs Windows 10 with 1GB of RAM. The device also has 64GB of onboard storage. Since this is the first generation of Microsoft's HPU, we can likely expect to see even more performance for the next version of the processor. In the meantime, the HoloLens Developer Edition is currently available for $3,000 (opens in new tab) at the Microsoft Store.

See at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

John Callaham
  • 28 nm fab process is what disappointing while most of the process moved to 20, 16 and 14 nm, and it's believed next A10 be 10 nm!
  • You know, 2015 tech
  • There's always that one person...
  • I wish there was a vote counter next to some people's nicks so we knew how many downvotes someone had up until today. That way it would be very easy to identify all those trolls and maybe, jst maybe, some people would start to have a little more shame and refrain from posting things like that!
  • It would likely end up as a competition to see who can get the most downvotes in a day and hence encourage more trolling. I'd prefer to see downvotes taken out and just leave upvotes for actual useful comments.
  • I wish downvotes would shuffle these useless comments out of sight or that we had an ignore system that would give users the choice to not see posts from our resident trolls. I'm tired of seeing the same posts from the same people who have no desire to contribute meaningfully to the conversation and only post to stir people up. Constructive criticism is good but this trolling is just toxic.
  • It's not like it's the first generation of Microsoft's HPU or anything...
  • Well first this isn't even meant for consumer use. This is even a custom chip used in a product that is very new to the market. Second, this is been designed likely between late 2014 to 2015. The fact that it is 28nm means they can make it even smaller and have faster chips. What's interesting already is that HoloLens is quite usable already on hardware that isn't all too powerful (except for the fact that HPU already dedicatedly handles the AR aspect). It's actually good that they started on something not too high-end, this they can make the software run efficiently.
  • You are a n u t sack
  • This is not a consumer product, and primarily used by developers/companies right now. They don't need to spec it out to the max for no reason. It's also a custom designed chip, not like there's anything to compare it to.
  • so they can make intel produce this oddity just for a new project, begs the question why wouldnt they ask intel for a lumia x86 cpu then? I mean for the surface phone"
  • Intel didn't manufacture this chip. It was TSMC that manufactured it. Intel only manufactured the Atom CPU in the HoloLens. But the HPU was all TSMC.
  • Reading is hard.
  • Dude you didn't even read. Its not made by Intel. Sheesh!
  • Good to know that this HPU is on a 28nm process. This means that the next version will have plenty of room for some nice performance boost and battery improvements.
  • Indeed! So this means there is a way to make the device smaller and gain more performance than what it is now. The RAM is already small and not too fast for something that involves heavy computations for AR. This device already got CPU, GPU and this custom HPU. If they want to, they can have the consumer ready device at least twice the RAM, smaller and faster. Now the only really big concern aside from FoV is really the crucial one, the battery. Though atm HoloLens are not that comfortable to be used for a very long time, making the current battery life seems okay. But for consumer device, this needs a solution to the issue. HoloLens devices and any OEM need to last at least 6 - 8 hours. We don't want another device that requires constant charging.
  • Field of view is likely a technical limitation due to how much 3-D processing power they could squeeze out of the chip. I remember them saying that the field of view was decreased in order to keep costs down. Using an older process would absolutely decrease costs at the expense of power. Hopefully they can get the battery life up to a full 8-hour workday so that some of the workplace scenarios they have talked about can be fully realized.
  • Might be a bit optimistic. For entertainment this needs to compete with more mature and immersive VR. For other functions people currently use computing devices there is for majority of them no need for holographs ( like reading / writing). Sure there are new use cases but do they matter enough for many consumers considering the bulkiness and high price these devices will have for years to come.
  • @Vhyr, no it does not need to compete with VR. To do so they will need to forego AR. I don't see that happening nor should hololens become another VR headset.
  • Coming Soon™
  • Maybe not customers but I think a hololens 2 will be out early next year. Why else would they talk about it now? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • They have talked about promoting the windows holographic platform and hololens like devices from OEM's so I could see them licencing the chip and associated code that would allow OEM's to build devices more easily.
  • 499$ sold at 3000$..... Just a shame
  • How do you derive that $499 figure?
  • Yeah 'cause those reserchers worked for free all those years... Just a shame comment...
  • Venetasoft - this is the second day in a row where you've posted stupid/ill-conceived comments. Yesterday about iPhone's being for 'babies' - and today for thinking Hololens should be sold at $499. To think that I bought your movie maker app once upon a time. :/
  • Wait until Apple reveals iHologram it will be revolutionary in 2025!
  • What!! Using iOS or MAc OS? hhahah
  • Or Google reveals Google Holo-Goggles in 2020!
  • >Implying Google Glass doesn't exist already
  • I wonder if the SRAM makes for the same development challenges that the consoles had.
  • Probably not, when calling it in code the c# is probably doing it all for them.