Nvidia Tegra K1 unveiled with 192-core Kepler GPU, release date set for H1 2014
The one hugely impressive number that you cannot miss is, clearly, the 192 cores of the GPU. Someone with little technical background could be impressed when suddenly hearing about a “192-core Tegra K1.” After all, 192 cores are a lot more than four or eight in current quad-core and octa-core chips, aren't they? So, why so many cores suddenly? First and foremost, because of marketing. It’s important to clarify that Nvidia is not talking about CPU cores here. In reality, the Tegra K1 will first arrive with a quad-core CPU, so, essentially, it’s a quad-core chip. Any comparisons between its 192-core GPU with current quad-core CPU chips would simply be out of context, so do not be fooled by the number alone.
Nvidia, however, is in the unique position to be developing a Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) where a lot of the traditional CPU load can be transferred over to the GPU. The Tegra K1 is exactly that, and the 192 cores of the Kepler graphics chip are actually CUDA cores that do some of the lifting that traditionally a CPU would do.
Most interestingly, the Tegra K1 gets rid of the ULP GeForce graphics chip it used earlier and replaces it with a desktop class GeForce Kepler graphics. Nvidia showed a presentation slide making it clear that this means convergence on the graphics front and we can expect its future mobile roadmap to match the desktop one.
Technically, the Tegra K1 comes after the dual-core Tegra 2, and quad-core Tegra 3 and 4. Nonetheless, "it's almost inappropriate to call it Tegra 5, because it's simply not linear," CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "It's the most successful architecture we've created."
Intesrestingly, Nvidia mentioned that the Tegra K1 actually delivers more horsepower than even consoles like the PlayStation 3 at a much lower power consumption of just around 5 watts. We don't know under what load exactly, but this sounds just like a power target for tablets, so expect to see this new chip in tablets rather than smartphones. After multiple delays of the Tegra 3 and 4 chips, we really hope Huang and crew have it all figured out now, and we’ll get to see more OEMs embracing the new chip. After all, the new Kepler is one thing that should really up the ante in mobile gaming, a field where the Tegra K1 really shines.
NVIDIA Tegra K1
2. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3940; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
That GPU is amazing, they said it performs 3 times better than the PowerVR in the A7. And I can't wait to see the performance of those Denver cores in the 64 bit version of the chip.
3. naveenstuns (Posts: 172; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)
Specs are great... but battery life is the main concern
12. naveenstuns (Posts: 172; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)
What abt LTE support? I don't need it in India but people from other countries will want a phone with LTE.
14. XaErO (Posts: 138; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)
Absolutely agree !! .. Although, I'm impressed with the specs .. but it's an important factor that how harsh/soft it is actually on the battery ..
4. Ashoaib (Posts: 1323; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
I didnt get it.. what is 192 cores? And how does it compares to quad core or octa core of cpu?
9. Teja171 (unregistered)
Those are gpu cores. But the actual cpu cores are only 4 of them..
28. sarge77 (Posts: 202; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)
should be 4+1 like the tegra 3 and 4 did thats nearly triple the performance of the tegra 4 amazing now i really should wait to see what k1 brings to the table as for smart phone launching or phablets..
22. Victor.H (Posts: 409; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Simply put, it will be a quad-core chip at first.
6. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5200; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
The specs are incredible! Let's hope we can see this on a smartphone or a tablet soon.
7. Dr.Phil (Posts: 895; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
I am impressed. I cannot wait to see the updated Tegra Note 7 with the Tegra K1 on board. If it keeps the low price, then it is sure to be a worth opponent in the tablet space. Also, I would like to see how many other chipset manufacturers will use the Kepler GPU since nVidia is now licensing that technology out. If I were Samsung or LG, I would take a good hard look at using it for their GPU while coupling it with their own mobile CPU.
13. renz4 (Posts: 219; Member since: 10 Aug 2013)
nvidia already making prototype based on TN7 but using Tegra K1 inside. the res has been upped to 1920x1080 for the prototype.
17. Victor.H (Posts: 409; Member since: 27 May 2011)
We are excited as well. Stay tuned for product demo of the new Tegra K1 reference design tablet coming soon!
8. naveenstuns (Posts: 172; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)
Will WP handle this CPU?? or its only for Android?
10. xperiaDROID (Posts: 5200; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
I hope it's for the other OS too, just imagine if Blackberry's next flagship will have this, then they will really make a comeback for sure. But I'm not sure they can afford this though.
18. Victor.H (Posts: 409; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Good question. There were some rumors flying around a couple of years ago that Windows Phone will support Tegra, but I think it never materialized. Given Huang's latest comments on Android, I'd assume the Tegra K1 is Android-only.
27. RandomUsername (Posts: 423; Member since: 29 Oct 2013)
The Surface 2 has a Tegra 4, so wouldn't it be logical for the next generation to get this SoC?
29. Victor.H (Posts: 409; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Absolutely. I was trying to make the point that it's not clear whether it'd come to Windows Phone, but Windows 8.1/RT - yes, definitely possible.
15. nokia12 (Posts: 302; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)
so that means its only for tablets and nit smartphones.. right ?.. then what about smartphones will they only go with tegra 4i on low end ? or tegra 4 at mid end ?
20. Victor.H (Posts: 409; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Not necessarily. Nvidia compared the Tegra K1 to the PS3 and Xbox 360 in performance while making the point that the K1 uses only 5 watts to achieve what those 100-watt consoles do. However, that should have been a fairly heavy load, so theoretically it should be capable of going down much lower. Still, I don't think we'll see it in smartphones. Right now, it seems that the second-gen Tegra K1 with Nvidia's Denver 64-bit CPU looks more phone-oriented. That's coming in H2 2014.
16. brrunopt (Posts: 465; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
i bet on a Surface 3 with Tegra 5 Denver...
19. xfire99 (Posts: 442; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)
The biggest problem with Tegra SoC is the overheating issue and until they resolve that issue. It wont matter what spec and how fast its. Tegra 4 at 1,9 Ghz and with 72 GPU cores is already blazing fast. But the overheating issue and throttling is killing overall experience usages. K1 is still on 28nm, same as Tegra 4 and runs at 2,3 Ghz with 192 CUDA cores.
Not all tabs/phones are build with aluminium body and helps to reduce the heat. I dont see how it will reduce the overheating issue and if it does. Then it will be interesting to see what K1 can do.
21. Victor.H (Posts: 409; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Good point. You should stay tuned as we have demos coming up soon, and hopefully we get some real feel of the heating. Actually, that's probably the main reason I don't expect this coming to thermally constrained devices like smartphones.
23. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 692; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)
Imagine this GPU on a HVGA screen...
25. ajac09 (Posts: 1361; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
they siad we should see this in devices at the end of the first half of 2014.. hope so tegra 4 was amazing but didnt see first devices till late 2013 and that kind of killed its awesomeness
26. troutsy (Posts: 248; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)
What, they couldn't fit 193 cores in there?