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NVIDIA Announces TEGRA K1, the World’s First 192-core Super Chip

NVIDIA TEGRA K1

NVIDIA, in a press event to kick off CES 2014, just announced the TEGRA K1, the world’s first 192-core “Super Chip.” We’re talking mobile architecture that’s as good as PC architecture.

At this point, we still don’t have devices that are running the processor, but we do have a bunch of demos. As you can imagine, the K1 is impressive on a number of levels. If you were looking for the ultimate gaming chip for mobile (or any platform for that matter), this would be it. 

Look, this all sounds amazing – mobile devices on-par with PCs – but if we don’t get devices running this power on a mainstream level, it means nothing. Give us hardware partners. According to NVIDIA, we won’t see any devices running K1 until the first half of this year some time, and that’s only for the 32-bit version. the 64-bit version is “expected” to arrive some time in the second half of this year.

The live press event is still going on here, follow along as we update this post.


TEGRA K1 comes in two versions. First version is the quad-core A15, but the other version is “DENVER” CPU. It’s a full custom CPU, based on ARM V8 64-BIT.

According to the press release, we should see the 32-bit version in devices in the first half of 2014, while the 64-bit version is expected in devices in the second half of the year.

Press Release

NVIDIA Unveils Tegra K1, A 192-Core Super Chip That Brings DNA Of World’s Fastest GPU To Mobile

Kepler GPU Architecture in GeForce GTX 780 Ti Morphs Into Mobile Graphics Powerhouse; Available in 32- and 64-Bit Versions

LAS VEGAS, NV - CES – NVIDIA today unveiled the revolutionary Tegra® K1 mobile processor, a 192-core super chip featuring the same NVIDIA® Kepler™ architecture that powers the fastest GPU on the planet, the NVIDIA GeForce® GTX™ 780 Ti. For the first time, next-generation PC gaming will now be available on mobile platforms.

The Tegra K1 processor sets new mobile standards by supporting the latest PC-class gaming technologies, enabling it to run sophisticated gaming engines like Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. It delivers advanced computation capabilities to speed the development of applications for computer vision and speech recognition. And its extraordinary efficiency delivers higher performance than any other mobile GPU at the same power level.

“Over the past two decades, NVIDIA invented the GPU and has developed more graphics technologies than any other company,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO, NVIDIA. “With Tegra K1, we’re bringing that heritage to mobile. It bridges the gap for developers, who can now build next-gen games and apps that will run on any device.”

Tegra K1 is offered in two pin-to-pin compatible versions. The first version uses a 32-bit quad-core, 4-Plus-1™ ARM Cortex A15 CPU. The second version uses a custom, NVIDIA-designed 64-bit dual Super Core CPU. This CPU (codenamed “Denver”) delivers very high single-thread and multi-thread performance. It is based on the ARMv8 architecture, which brings the energy-efficient heritage of ARM processor technology to 64-bit computing.

Both versions of Tegra K1 deliver stunning graphics and visual computing capabilities powered by the 192-core NVIDIA Kepler GPU. The 32-bit version is expected in devices in the first half of 2014, while the 64-bit version is expected in devices in the second half of the year.

Simply Unreal:Setting Stunning New Gaming Standards
Tegra K1 provides full support for the latest PC-class gaming technologies — including DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.4 and tessellation. These capabilities will enable PC and console game developers to finally bring their stunning, visually rich titles to mobile devices.

Such features enable Tegra K1 to run the world’s most advanced game engine, Unreal Engine 4. Unreal Engine is the most successful commercially licensed game engine, powering hundreds of games on high-end PCs and consoles.

Tegra K1 is also the first mobile processor to deliver the same graphics features as the next generation of consoles (Xbox One, PlayStation 4) and faster performance than current generation consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3), all in the palm of your hand.

“With the introduction of this revolutionary processor, we can take applications that run on PC or console and run it on Tegra,” said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games and developer of Unreal Engine. “From here onward, I think we’re going to see the performance and feature gap between mobile and PC high-end gaming continue to narrow to the point where the difference between the platforms really blurs.”

Computationally Advanced:Delivering New Creative Capabilities
Tegra K1 is the first processor to bring advanced computational capabilities to mobile — leveraging its advanced GPU to deliver new mobile experiences.

It is also the first mobile processor to support NVIDIA CUDA® — the world’s most pervasive parallel computing platform. Developers have downloaded CUDA more than 2 million times to create cutting-edge GPU-accelerated applications for computer vision, advanced imaging, speech recognition, video editing and more.

Stunningly Efficient: Establishing New Benchmarks
In addition to its graphics and compute capabilities, Tegra K1 delivers breakthrough efficiency. The Kepler GPU at the heart of Tegra K1 is 1.5 times more efficient than other mobile GPUs. This results in faster performance in the same power envelope and a better experience for gaming and GPU-accelerated applications.(1)

Kepler – first introduced in desktop and notebook systems, and later brought to workstations and supercomputers — is the world’s fastest and most energy-efficient GPU architecture. Tens of millions of Kepler-based graphics cards and systems have been shipped, including the GeForce GTX 780 Ti.

“Kepler powers all 10 of the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputers,” said Linley Gwennap of the Linley Group. “By scaling this technology down, NVIDIA has set the new standard for what’s possible in mobile devices.”

More details about the Tegra K1 are available at www.nvidia.com/object/tegra-k1-processor.html.

More info.

We’ll have more once NVIDIA releases full details.

NVIDIA TEGRA K1

  • sweetleaf

    will it run BF4 on ultra on a 4K monitor? thats what I need to know.

  • Blue Sun

    I would love to see this chip in a Chromebook.

  • Daistaar

    Slightly off-topic but doesn’t this chip look a lot like the one that was just etched into a cornfield about a week ago? I originally thought it was a Pentium 3 but the layout looks quite a bit like this one.

    http://cdn2.tnwcdn.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2014/01/nvidia-730×410.jpg

    • JBartcaps

      Damn dude, making me scroll up and down like 30 times lol

      • Daistaar

        That was me earlier too!!! HAHAHAHA

        • JBartcaps

          It is almost identical, hard to deny there isn’t a link

  • Kevin

    when in doubt, add more cores!

  • No One at VZW

    CES TIME!

    Okay, that out of the way…why Droid Life, why?

    No one deserves that. I mean, fine the Moto X is a great phone, but why would you think anyone deserves to be punished by getting tied to a 2 yr contract with Verizon?

    Yes, I know you guys have to make funny, but how about some T-Mo ads next time?

    • No One at VZW

      er, that would be money, not funny. I guess my brain refuses to accept that ad as anything real.

  • Tony G.

    CES time!!!

  • T4rd

    It’s useless (for phones) if they can’t pair it with an LTE radio/chip this time. Tegra 3 only made it into a couple phones (international One X is the only one I can think of), I don’t think Tegra 4 made it into anything but tabs and wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same story for K1.

    • Mike Hilal

      Even then, the S600 blew it away. The S800 is in a different universe. Hopefully Nvidia can get rid of the crap they’ve been making and get back into the game.

      • guest20111

        keep dreaming, where’s your source that S600 blew away the T4?

  • schoat333

    I know nvidia has gotten anything to really stick in the mobile world yet, but they are doing the right thing. If they can get to the point that gaming performance on mobile devices is close to pc quality, they will be in good shape. The future of gaming is mobile so they are on the right track.

    • Mike Hilal

      They havent because the overwhelming majority of mobile users dont really game. Zynga games != gaming. Qualcomm did it right by improving on the open tiOmap model.

  • IG: BeyondFocus3d

    Battery life?

    • Mike Hilal

      IB5000mahphones

  • Kevin

    “Tegra K1 is also the first mobile processor to deliver the same graphics features as the next generation of consoles (Xbox One, PlayStation 4) and faster performance than current generation consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3), all in the palm of your hand.”

    Can someone please explain this to me? Does this mean that our phones are going to be as powerful as PS4/XB1 consoles? And are going to be able to play console games like GTA V or Battlefield? Or is Nvidia just bs’ing and playing words?

    • calculatorwatch

      I guess it’s tough to say until we actually see the chip in action, but what they’re claiming is pretty out there

      • sirmeili

        Doesn’t that just make you wonder though? If they can get a mobile chip to be this good, why aren’t the PC cards orders of magnitude better? You would think that with the power draw they have and the ability to allow for more heat, the PC cards would be truly amazing. I am having a hard time believing this unless there is going to be a huge jump in the PC graphics area as well.

        I don’t see a day when mobile gaming will have the same quality as PC quality (console is iffy since the lifespans are so long for a console. I could see there being mobile graphics that match it towards the end of their lifecycle). The only exception is if people stop expecting PC and console graphics to get better and better and are OK with the status quo.

        • benchmarkThis

          They are orders of magnitude better though. 1 GTX680 is larger than a phone (for GPU memory and what not) and a lot of people have multiple of them. This is just marketing speak. To think a pocket sized device will do what desktop computers did a DECADE ago isn’t far fetched (and of course is happening now), but a pocket sized device doing what CURRENT desktop computers do is far fetched and the talk is just to rake in specwars kiddies. And of course we are talking just basic air-cooled PCs, we aren’t even getting into WC and LN2…

      • chris_johns

        Yeah this all sounds iffy to me…my video card on my pc (nvidia gtx 680) runs rather hot and high powered when im overclocking to play games at decent graphic levels….not sure how you can get the same preformance out of a chip this small without it being cooled and what not…gues swe wait n see…this can be good for laptops i feel over mobile if its truly that powerful

      • Mike Hilal

        You’ll be able to play for 15 minutes on battery.

  • Ben Murphy

    Does it cook bacon? If not, move along…nothing to see here.

  • Bedtim3

    …can it run Crysis?

  • Justin Moss

    does anybody understand this? how the hell can they go from 72 cores in the tegra 4 to 192 cores?? what does that mean???

    • master94

      GPU cores =192. It’s still a QUAD core CPU I believe

      • xpyroxcorex

        the 32 bit is quad a15s and the 64bit is dual denvers

    • ERIFNOMI

      GPU cores are tiny. They’re also highly specialized. It’s still just a quad-core CPU.

      • HowBoutThemHexacoresPlus4xSLI

        Or more to the point, still (and most likely ARM CPUs will never be) not as good as Intel/AMD PC architectures for general computing.

  • Brent Cooper

    Now all that has to happen is for it to get into a phone…

  • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

    This+Moto might make an Android nerds wet dreams come true.

    • Chris Hannan

      Android gaming nerd maybe. I’m good with Snapdragons.

    • Ryan Stewart

      Not real android nerds like us, mainly because we remember that every other mobile SoC from them has been disappointments.

      • Mike Hilal

        This guy, he gets it. Qualcomm will come out with something bigger/badder/bolder, as will samsung (who has been using A15′s since the N10)

  • StuckOnVerizonForever
  • http://thebeeobee.com/ thebeeobee

    Tegra 4 claimed 72 cores.

  • StuckOnVerizonForever

    Nobody beats Qualcomm. Sorry Nvidia.

    • Eric R.

      The dual core Snapdragon S4 is faster than the quad core Tegra 3

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        Tegra 4 was nearly as fast as the SD800 (and quite a bit faster than the SD600), and nearly as efficient overall, but it lacked the integrate LTE modem, hence Qualcomm got almost the entire generation of mobile devices. The T4i with an integrated modem launched too late in the year to be of use in many applications, so it just kind of fizzled.

        If NVIDIA can deliver SD805-level performance with an integrated modem or be so much more efficient that an external modem is still an overall lower system power, they’re in business. Otherwise, this generation will just be a repeat of 2013, which would put NVIDIA in an even deeper hole for the next-gen devices. However, luckily we will start seeing AMD and Intel really looking to edge their way into the mobile space to keep Qualcomm honest. Overall, I’m looking forward to watching the mobile space in 2014, looks like it will be quite interesting.

        • Mike Hilal

          The Tegra 4 doesnt even match the SD600 dual core in benchmarking. They brought a knife to a bazooka fight.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-tegra-note-7-evga-tablet-review,3668-8.html

            Just the first one to pop up on a quick Google search. However, I know that it is backed up by Anandtech’s testing as well. Their performance is quite comparable, with the SD800 and Tegra 4 represented by the Xperia Z1 and Tegra Note in the linked article respectively. The SD600 is represented by the N7 (2013), which is far, far behind either of the newer chips.

            Honestly, it was the poor performance of the Tegra 2 that has really killed Nvidia in the mobile segment over the past two years, coinciding with Qualcomm’s meteoric rise in status due to their Krait architectures. Simply put, NVIDIA is climbing out of a hole, but the TK1 looks like it may actually give the SD805 a run for its money, so long as a version is imminently available with integrated LTE. Otherwise, it may very well become the de-facto choice for tablets or even Chromebooks, which will greatly benefit from the extra graphical muscle simply due to their usage scenarios.

          • Jason B

            Eh, the N7 (2013) is a Krait 200 S4 Pro not an S600. The S600 adds LPDDR3 and Krait 300, plus a revised Adreno 320. The Moto X S4 Pro is a hybrid (Krait 300, LPDDR2); figured I’d throw that in there too.

          • guest20111

            SD805 don’t have integrated LTE either…in order to keep up with TK1, looks like they’re updating their GPU to Adreno420. so even playing field

          • Steve

            Not according to what all the benchmarks say. Justtyn Hutcheson’s post explains it all.

  • busta

    I’m still waiting for widespread Tegra 4 !

  • Colton

    all the numbers and data on that graph are too much for me

  • ERIFNOMI

    Assuming that fancy render up there is accurate, it’s a quad-core CPU, which would leave 188 cores for a GPU. Doesn’t sound unreasonable.

    Anyone know if Nvidia is rumored to speak about Maxwell at CES? It’s not really the place, but dammit I want an update.

    • sirmeili

      Actually, there are 192 blue squares for the GPU cores(a grid of 12×16, I counted them), then to the bottom right of that there are 4 big yellow squares (CPU cores) with a smaller yellow one between the second and third. I can only assume this is the sleeper core that nvidia uses for low power sleep mode. All in all, it seems to actually be a 197 core chip if you include all the cores between cpu and gpu. I could be wrong about the sleeper core though. I just know that nvidia uses them in their architecture.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        Your analysis is correct. Though of course those are just pretty graphics used for visualization and the actual architecture likely looks a bit different.

        To be complete, that is also a representation of the Cortex A15 version, and they also have a home-brewed core code-named “Denver” available in a dual-core arrangement; i’m assuming it is either significantly higher processing power or much more efficient.

      • ERIFNOMI

        I didn’t bother counting the GPU cores (I was pretty tired when this came out). 192 GPU cores then. Now, I’m not sure that smaller “Core” between the CPU cores is a sleeper core. If the brighter green is supposed to represent traces (it’s a hard picture to go by), then it could very well just be a controller for the GPU cores, or maybe even some cache.

        • sirmeili

          It was a guess on my part. I know they utilized that technique in tegra 2 or 3 (or both or maybe even the original tegra).

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    BUT….does it support Native LTE?!!?!??!?!? . . . . okay I’m too tired bed time.

    • Steve

      They’ll likely have their flexible modem, but It’s probably geared towards tablets so the LTE will probably be optional.

  • http://www.DavidPat.com David Pat

    Still waiting for that first successful Nvidia mobile product… They keep overpromising…

    • Ryan Stewart

      You beat me to it. I had two Tegra devices, never again. They always were blown away by another Qualcomm device, often ones with considerably less “on paper” power.

      • chris125

        Agree the nexus 7 with tegra 3 was awful, and so glad they went with qualcomm for the nexus 7(2013). Tegra looks great on paper but fails to deliver in real world use.

        • Justtyn Hutcheson

          The Tegra 4 seems to buck that trend. It’s performance is on-par with the SD800. If the TK1 really is a significant step forward, they may just be able to deliver.
          The Tegra 2/3 were serious blemishes though, so getting any OEM to trust them now will be a tough sell.

          • Steve

            Shows that consistency wins in most situations.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Consistently GOOD wins. Consistently bad or mediocre invites someone to step in that’s better. Yay, competition!
            That’s why I like tech companies. You keep moving forward or you get run over. Always exciting to watch :-)

  • AbbyZFresh

    Does this mean I can say goodbye to my PC and game consoles?

    • ERIFNOMI

      No.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      And do what? Use your 5inch touchscreen?

      • Alex James Simon

        No Good Bluetooth controller or Xbox 360 controller via USB OTG….

    • Capt. Crunch

      Yes to the consoles no to the PC.

    • xpyroxcorex

      not until someone programs some good games for this. until then youll be playing the same android games, just with like 1234531097835 frames per second.

      • zurginator

        Even if they could, they won’t, because people still refuse to pay more than $5 for a mobile game.

    • zurginator

      Considering the Xbox One has 768 cores, and the PS4 has 1152…. no.

  • Patrick Jewell

    i want to believe

  • Matthew DiGiacomo

    Bazinga!