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In this paper, a low power programmable vertex shader with video coding acceleration instructions is proposed. For mobile multimedia applications, supporting both video and graphics is a promising trend. The proposed programmable graphics engine features a unified architecture that can efficiently execute not only vertex shader operations for graphics but also the motion estimation of video coding algorithms. It can achieve the processing speed of 8.3M vertex geometry transformations per second and 6.25M polygons per second with the working frequency of 50 MHz and the power consumption of 20 mW. Furthermore, the floating/fixed-point data path, the reconfigurable memory, and special instructions are designed to be able to accelerate the key operation, motion estimation, in video coding. The execution of motion estimation on the proposed graphics engine is shown to be 80 times faster than RISC type processors and can achieve real-time video coding requirements with diamond search algorithm for 30 CIF (352×288) frames per second with [-16, 15] search range. This powerful graphics and video dual-function programmable engine is shown to be a good solution for multimedia consumer products.