Nvidia unveils Tegra K1 mobile chip
By Paul Ridden
January 6, 2014
A year after introducing the world to the mighty Tegra 4 mobile chip, Nvidia has pulled back the CES curtain on a new member of the Tegra family. The company says that the Tegra K1, which boasts a quad-core CPU and a whopping 192-core GPU, should open the door to next-gen PC-class gaming on hand-held mobile devices.
The Tegra K1 is based on the same Kepler architecture found in the company's zippy GeForce GTX 780 Ti GPU, and will be available in two energy efficient, high performance flavors. The first makes use of a 32-bit quad core 4-Plus-1 ARM Cortex A15 CPU, and the second variety uses a 64-bit, Nvidia-designed custom Super Core CPU (codenamed Denver and built on the ARMv8 architecture).
Nvidia says that the new chip supports the latest PC-class gaming technologies, including DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.4 and tessellation, and should allow it to run powerful gaming engines like the Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games.
Thanks to the 192 cores of the Kepler GPU, the Tegra K1 is claimed capable of delivering the same graphics features as consoles like the Xbox One and the PS4, and outperforming the likes of the Xbox 360 and PS3. It's also reported to be the first mobile processor to support the company's CUDA parallel computing platform, allowing games developers to release demanding, visually-rich titles for mobile devices.
The first devices featuring the 32-bit K1 are expected to hit the consumer space in the first half of this year, with 64-bit K1 devices following on later. Nvidia has also revealed that the automotive industry will be making use of a hardened version of the K1 (developed to withstand a wider temperature range and harsher operating conditions) to run applications like camera-based, advanced driver assistance systems or dashboard-mounted driver alertness monitoring systems.