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Nvidia Tegra K1 processor announced: More powerful than a PS3 but built for mobile

Nvidia was one of the first big companies to make headlines at this year’s consumer electronics show when it unveiled its latest mobile processor, the Tegra K1.

Whilst the early days of mobile gaming catered solely to the casual players and Solitaire enthusiasts, every subsequent generation has tried to bring greater fidelity to the world of mobile gaming, and whilst we’re already enjoying some pretty spectacular looking visuals on the latest smartphones and tablets, things are about to shift up a gear as Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, was keen to point out.

The Tegra K1 isn’t simply a revision of last year’s processor in the same way 2013’s Tegra 4 followed the Tegra 3 chip of 2012, it borrows far more heavily from the company’s desktop gaming line, features a 192-CUDA core ‘super chip’, Keplar GPU and weaves a number of other technologies and capabilities you’d expect to find on both the current and previous generation home consoles into the mix too.

Nvidia showcased two variants of this new chip at its CES Keynote; a 2.3GHz 32-bit A15 quad-core version and a custom designed 2.5GHz 64-bit dual-core version codenamed “Project Denver”.


Both chips boast desktop-like support for DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.4 and tessellation, which might not mean much on their own, but allow this new SoC (system on chip) to power games such as those based on Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. There have been a slew of tech demos of the engine in question already and all point towards some stunning looking titles in the coming years, particularly on mobile devices toting a Tegra K1 chip.

Nvidia celebrated the arrival of the Tegra K1 with some crop circle art to embody how “out of this world” the hardware truly is (Nvidia’s words, not ours), but beyond having the chip on display inside some modified Tegra Note tablets, we’re still waiting to find out when manufacturers of Android device will actually be able to push it into their newest slates and smartphones.


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