Nvidia has announced its next-generation mobile chip in the form of the Tegra X1. The new chip offers one teraflop of processing power, and is built on the company’s Maxwell GPU architecture.
According to Nvidia, the new system-on-a-chip provides twice the performance of last year’s Tegra K1 predecessor, combining 256 GPU cores with eight CPU cores, specifically four ARM Cortex A57s and four Cortex A53s. It’s the size of a thumbnail, draws less than 10 watts of power and, as the company was keen to point out, is more powerful than ASCI Red – the most powerful supercomputer of 15 years ago.
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The SoC supports major graphics standards, including DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, CUDA, Android Extension Pack and Unreal Engine 4. We’ve recently seen an increase in developers bringing PC games to mobile (2K’s BioShock iOS port being a notable example), and Nvidia believes that a combination of the Tegra X1’s raw power and its compatibility will make the process significantly easier.
The unveiling of the new chip represents an important move for the company. Most leading smartphones (with the notable exception of iOS devices) carry rival Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. Heck, even the Xbox One and PS4 opted for AMD GPUs over Nvidia equivalents. The company has a steep hill to climb if it wants to turn the tide, but, either way, the X1's raw power is going to raise a few eyebrows.
The chip will also be featured in Nvidia’s newly-announced Drive PX car computers platform – an autopilot system capable of processing data from up to 12 cameras at once, allowing for, among other things, true self-parking.
You can expect to start seeing Nvidia Tegra X1-packing devices in the first half of 2015.