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Nvidia announces Tegra X1 ‘mobile super chip’

Nvidia has used its opening CES 2015 press conference slot to announce its brand new mobile CPU, the Tegra X1.

Following on from last year’s Tegra K1, which brought desktop GPU architecture to mobile devices for the first time, the X1 offers double the performance.

In fact, with 256 processor cores and eight CPU cores, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang called the 64-bit Tegra X1 the first “mobile super chip.”

This means that the X1 can exceed 1 teraflop throughput, which was only achieved with a whopping great supercomputer back in 2000.

In the more mundane world of real life applications, the X1 can handle 4K video playback at 60Hz. So that’s nice.

As any smartphone nut will tell you, power isn’t everything. The efficiency with which that power is used is at least as important, and the Tegra X1 seems well equipped on that count too.

During Nvidia’s presentation, the graphically advanced Unreal Engine 4 Elemental demo was run, straining the X1’s considerable GPU chops. However, it was claimed that this task drew only 10 watts of power. By way of a comparison, the Xbox One requires around 100 watts to run the same test.

Related: Nvidia Shield Tablet review

Interestingly, though, Nvidia isn’t just pushing the Tegra X1’s potential performance in mobile devices. It’s also angling the X1 towards automotive usage.

“Your future cars will be the most advanced computers in the world,” said Jen-Hsun. “There will be more computing horsepower inside a car than anything you own today.”

Presumably that horsepower will come from Nvidia hardware, starting with the Tegra X1.

The new chip will tie in with Drive CX, which is Nvidia’s new ‘cockpit computer’ car infotainment platform. Nvidia already has a car maker partner lined up in Audi.

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