Nvidia has just unveiled the Tegra K1, a 64 bit, 192 CUDA core Keplar based (hence the K in the name) processor. Not only are they significantly more powerful than the previous generation consoles (the PS3 and Xbox 360, more on this in a moment), but are also DX11 and OpenGL 4.4 compliant. Oh and did I mention they are also fully programmable too?
Nvidia have announced this latest piece of technology during their CES stream (along with several other announcements). Mobile gaming has been steadily moving on, but has several limitations – mostly power and heat related. Nvidia’s latest technology, the Tegra K1 goes a long way to relieve these issues.
Nvidia’s CEO and co-founder, Jen-Hsun Huang stated during the stream: “We’ve brought mobile computing to the same level as desktop computing. We’ve brought mobile computing to the same level as super computing. We’ve brought the heart of GeForce and the soul of Tesla to the Tegra family.”
So just how powerful are these new chips? Well, they are capable of playing games based on Epic’s new Unreal Engine 4. Indeed, Tim Sweeney, Epic Games co-founder issued a statement praising the Tegra K1: “We can take absolutely anything that runs on PC or high-end console and run it on Tegra. I didn’t think that we’d be at this level on mobile for another 3-4 years.”
So before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s hold our horses and do a little comparison compared to Xbox 360 and PS3.
Regarding the Playstation 3’s Cell CPU, it’s important to remember that Nvidia have ommited the rather powerful SPU’s on the Cell, which provide much of the systems grunt. For more on the PS3’s cell processor read this. Regardless, we’re left with a GPU that is around one and a half times the power of the Xbox 360’s, all while requiring a fraction of the power. The CUDA cores are very similar to the ones you’d see in Nvidia’s own desktop or laptop GPU’s, for instance their GTX 780. It’s based on the same architecture, but of course with far less cores;.
Let’s discuss the CPU side of things for a moment. There are two flavors Nvidia are offering the CPU in. The first is a 32-Bit Quad A-15 CPU, which has a max clock speed of 2.3GHZ. The next is a 64 bit affair, running dual Denver CPU’s running up to 2.5GHZ.
Effectively this means we’re seeing a mobile device which is in GPU terms, a little under a third as powerful as the Xbox One (this is in pure GFLOPS). The Xbox One puts out 1.32TFLOPS, the Tegra K1 meanwhile puts out 365 GFLOPS. Of course, this pales in comparison to a high end PC GPU, which are currently between 3TFLOPS (for the mid range) all the way up to 5TFLOPS+ for the higher end.
So while what Tim Sweeney said is true, of course games developers would be required to make some concessions regarding the graphical quality for the ports, No doubt this will be somewhat offset by the lower resolution of mobile gaming compared to the standard resolution of HDTV’s which is 1080P.
For more info please head over to Nvidia’s own blog here.