Today, Nvidia has announced it’s next major SoC for mobile devices at the ongoing CES 2014 event. This new advanced mobile application processor promises to bring console quality graphics to mobile platform first time ever in the history of mobile processors.
If you remember, the Nvidia Tegra 4 had a 72-core GPU which was an impressive feat in itself. The new Tegra K1 has staggering 192-core GPU which makes it much more powerful than it’s predecessor and every other competitor out there. The most ground-breaking thing that NVIDIA has achieved with Tegra K1 is that, it has now switched to ‘Kepler’ graphics architecture which is the same architecture that is used in desktop GPUs. Both these variants will feature the same GPU.
With the Tegra K1, Nvidia made a huge leap by switching to newer ARM v8 64-bit architecture, ahead of Qualcomm and Samsung. In fact, the Tegra K1 will be offered in two CPU variants; the 32-bit variant comes with 2.3GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU and the 64-bit variant comes with 2.5GHz dual-core ‘Denver’ CPU architecture. Denver is Nvidia’s first attempt to produce their own custom CPU core based on ARM v8 architecture. This new chipset supports up to 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM. It now also supports a high resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (also known as 4K) when compared to its previous generation which had a maximum screen resolution support of 3200 x 2000 pixels.
Nvidia will still use the 28nm HPL fabrication process for manufacturing the Tegra K1 chipset. Tegra K1 will also be available in one more variant dubbed as the ‘Tegra K1 VCM (Visual Computing Module)’. This chip is specifically designed for upcoming automobiles. Tegra chips are currently being used for in-car system in hybrid cars such as Tesla Model S.
Nvidia’s major competitor, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 is still based on older ARM v7a architecture. Tegra K1 will now compete with the Samsung’s upcoming Exynos chipset which will feature 64-bit architecture. The chip will be available this year. The Quad-core Cortex A15 variant will be available in first half and the Dual-core Denver variant will be available in second half. Nvidia Tegra 4 was a failure in terms of business and we have to wait and see what will be the fate of Nvidia Tegra K1.