Nvidia has held a press event before the opening of the International CES in Las Vegas, hoping to make an early impact. CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the opportunity to show off his firm's latest mobile chip, the Tegra X1. Nvidia doesn't hold back when talking about this chip referring to it variously as a "mobile super chip," claiming that it offers "over one teraflops of processing power," and that the 20nm Tegra X1 represents a "giant step," towards a revolution in visual and parallel computing.
Comparing the Tegra X1 to its predecessor, the Tegra K1, Nvidia says that the new 256-core Maxwell GPU architecture mobile processor offers twice the computing power and twice the power efficiency. Interestingly its Teraflop performance is said to offer "more horsepower than the fastest supercomputer of 15 years ago, ASCI Red". That system occupied 1,600 square feet and consumed 500,000 watts of power plus the same amount of power dedicated to cooling. Compare that to the Tegra X1, which you can see Huang holding below, and which draws less than 10 watts maximum.
TEGRA X1 PROCESSOR SPECIFICATIONS
- GPU: NVIDIA Maxwell 256-core GPU
DX-12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA CUDA, OpenGL ES 3.1, and AEP
- CPU: 8 CPU-core, 64-bit ARM CPU
4x A57 2MB L2; 4x A53 512KB L2
- VIDEO: H.265, VP9 4K 60 fps Video
4k H.265, 4k VP9, 4k H.264
- POWER: 20 nm SOC – TSMC
Isolated Power Rails, Fourth-Generation Cluster Switching
- DISPLAY: 4K x 2K @60 Hz, 1080p @120 Hz
HDMI 2.0 60 fps, HDCP 2.2
An early demonstration of the Nvidia Tegra X1's prowess comes from its performance in Epic Games 'Elemental' demo. Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, said "As seen with today's demonstration of Elemental on Tegra X1, NVIDIA continues to extend what developers can create with striking results. With its Maxwell architecture, Tegra X1 is equipped to run rich, beautiful experiences not previously seen on mobile devices."
To make the most of the Tegra X1 developers can leverage Unreal Engine 4, DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, CUDA, OpenGL ES 3.1 and the Android Extension Pack. Nvidia says that game and tech demos that challenged high-end PCs "just a few years ago," simply zip along on the Tegra X1.