Welcome to the future by way of the past: Nvidia claims its new 192-core mobile part, dubbed Tegra K1, has time-traveled back to 2005 and 2006 to snatch the same performance you had back then on an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, and plant it in mobile devices this year.
Wait, you’re saying, your brand-spanking new tablet or smartphone already is as fast as an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. That part is also true — or should I say “truthy” — for all intents and purposes. Anyone care to challenge the assertion that Infinity Blade III looks as good as anything on the latter consoles?
But Nvidia wants your attention, because hey, CES 2014, so it’s added choice head-turners like the following phrase to its press release for its new mobile part:
Tegra K1 is also the first mobile processor to deliver the same graphics features as the next generation of consoles (Xbox One, PlayStation 4) and faster performance than current generation consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3), all in the palm of your hand.
The chip uses the company’s Kepler architecture, also employed in Nvidia’s you-can’t-afford-it GTX 780 Ti super-part. It will, says, Nvidia, allow the next wave of mobile devices to run stuff based on Nvidia’s ballyhooed Unreal Engine 4: unveiled in 2012 but still in the oven, game-wise (the first UE4 games, aimed at PCs and next-fen platforms, are due this year — it’s anyone’s guess when we’d see actual UE4 games for the K1). That’s a shot from something rendered using UE4 on the part up top.
Nvidia says the K1 will be available in both 32- and 64-bit versions: the former is a quad-core ARM Cortex A15, while the latter is a custom Nvidia-designed part dubbed a “Super Core CPU” and designed to deliver “very high single-thread and multi-thread performance.” (Nvidia adds that it’s based on the ARMv8 architecture, suggesting it’ll be able to crank on performance without nerfing your battery.) The 32-bit version will arrive during 2014’s first half, followed by the 64-bit version during the second.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Epic’s Tim Sweeney, the wizard behind the Unreal Engine, talking about something I’ve been saying for years — that the performance gulf separating ever-improving mobile devices from their comparably inert set-top peers is on the way out. Think tectonic shifts that make mobile gaming’s recent past seem tame. Here’s Sweeney:
With the introduction of this revolutionary processor, we can take applications that run on PC or console and run it on Tegra. From here onward, I think we’re going to see the performance and feature gap between mobile and PC high-end gaming continue to narrow to the point where the difference between the platforms really blurs.
Count on it.
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