So, using the video chip to do the grunt work is unique to the Raspberry Pi?
No, it is not. See Ben Heck's redo of the ZX Spectrum for details:
Notice how the PAL chip is the analog of the RPi boots from the video ram as well:
"The VideoCore IV GPU core is responsible for booting the system"
So, I would guess that history does repeat, and repeat, and... Thanks Split Enz.
P.S. Sorry for making an example of you Ben. You do what you do well. It is just that you were our matched by Clive in your attempts to minimize the economy of the day. I am glad you accepted the challenge and persevered to find a further optimization that works, and will show others the light.