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Nvidia announces Tegra K1 processor offering desktop graphics on mobile

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Nvidia Tegra K1

Nvidia has unveiled the world’s first 192-core processor – the Tegra K1 at International CES 2014

The next version of Nvidia’s successful Tegra range of system on chips won’t be called the Tegra 5, as many expect, but rather the Tegra K1. "It's almost inappropriate to call it Tegra 5. It's simply not linear" stated Nvidia's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang. All cores are fully programmable and individual. 

Based on the Kepler desktop architecture that Huang explains is "so efficient and programmable" means that "We’ve brought mobile computing to the same level as desktop computing".

Founder and chief of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, explains that "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".

The Tegra K1 is faster and more powerful than the PS3 and Xbox 360, Nvidia claims and backs it up with some impressive spec comparisons based on its own testing and benchmarks. As well as running DX11 as opposed to the DX9 on the previous gen consoles it has 365 Peak fragment shader GFLOPS as opposed to 240 on the Xbox 360 and 192 on the PS3 while it has almost double the CPU power. 

In a more like for like comparison Jen-Hsun Huang favourably compared the Tegra K1 to the A7 on the iPad Air. In tests the K1 is three times faster than Apple’s fastest mobile chip.  

Graphics comparison
Comparison of A7 processor (right) and Tegra K1 shows it has a great deal more detail

The Tegra K1 comes in two versions – the 32-bit quad-core A15 running at up to 2.3GHz and the dual-core Denver 64-bit processor full custom CPU running at up to 2.5GHz. In another world first Huang provided the first demonstration of a very early version of of the Denver ARM v8 64-bit processor on Android.

In other announcements Nvidia demonstrated how the PC can work as a console using your TV. Using the PC as game console streamed via Ethernet or wirelessly to a Nvidia Shield and then to a 4K TV at 1080p 60hz with no latency. In addition a 720p game was demoed from PC to Shield via a grid virtualised GPU server 6000 miles away with no noticeable latency issues.

G-Sync was also announced. G-Sync is a new method of ensuring extremely smooth frame-rates with no tearing and without any lag. 

Finally Huang announced Nvidia's excitement of future motoring technologies and that he believes the Tegra K1 processor is a big step closer to the driverless car. 

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