At CES this year, it was expected that Nvidia would likely show off a new member to the Tegra family i.e. Tegra 5. Although we all knew this would be Kepler based, we weren’t expecting the behemoth of power that is the Tegra K1, to call this a Tegra 5 would be an insult to just how much of a progression it is from the Tegra 4.
This CES will be marked for Nvidia as the year we moved from low power low performance Tegra SoC’s to insanely powerful laptop level graphics in the form of the Tegra K1. The Tegra K1 is more powerful than an Xbox 360 or PS3 (consoles we only just stopped using as actual fully fledged games consoles, this thing will fit in a tablet!).
The K1 has 192cores vs 72 of the Tegra 4, so more than double the performance of the previous SoC which was already the fastest ARM based SoC on the market. This is thanks to this being the first Tegra to be Kepler based, Keplar being Nvidias latest and greatest GPU architecture powering the insane Titan card last year.
Other features for the K1 are support for Unreal Engine 4 (Epic’s brand new engine). At CES Nvidia and Epic have been showing smooth incredible graphical games and demos running on Unreal Engine 4 (with only some small performance dips, from a prototype chip and software). DX11 is also now supported, this will likely help developers use a few more toys in games optimised for Tegra via the Tegra zone once the K1 is released.
The demos from Nvidia show advanced lighting and other features from DX11.1 and OpenGL 4.4 to show real next generation graphics, running on a mobile processor, the power provided here is phenomenal.
Lastly this will be Nvidia’s first 64 bit based Denver ARM processor, or at least a version of it will be, as there will be both a 32 bit and 64 bit versions at release.
Current specifications are expected to be Tegra K1 A15 variant will max out at 2.3GHz, while the Denver version will max out at 2.5GHz and a release date of 1H2014 for the A15 version, and 2H2014 for the Denver version. But only time will tell if the SoC will be well adopted by OEMs or ignored like Tegra 4, as although performance is important, Qualcomm seem to be able to pull out all the stops to secure the big contracts i.e. them gaining the Nexus contract.