Although underestimated and unappreciated, NVIDIA‘s Tegra K1 wow’ed many because of its gaming and graphics chops. If you’re one of those who have drooled over the chip, found particularly inside of NVIDIA’s own SHIELD Portable and Tablet gaming devices, then the company’s newest chip unveiled here at CES 2015 might pretty much flood your floor. Utilizing the latest Maxwell GPU architecture, the new Tegra X1 boasts of the what’s what of mobile chips, including an 8-core setup and a 64-bit architecture that might give Apple’s A8X or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 a run for their money.
In terms of raw specs, the Tegra X1, as mentioned, sports an 8-core 64-bit CPU that is paired with the 256-core Maxwell GPU. In terms of raw processing power, the chip is advertised to be able to handle 4K video in smooth 60 fps rates in H.265 or VP9 formats. And just to prove the point, NVIDIA showed Unreal Engine 4’s “Elemental” demo running, in real time, on the chip with the same fidelity and quality that you would experience if it were run on a more powerful desktop gaming rig.
But raw power is one thing. On mobile devices, power draw is just as important. What the Tegra X1 promises to bring to the table is an even better power efficiency without compromising on quality. Compared to the Xbox One running the same Elemental demo, the Tegra X1 uses up only a tenth of the power to deliver its high-quality output. Of course, the more power that is fed it, the more performance can be squeezed out of it.
A bit amusingly, NVIDIA says that you wouldn’t really need that much power on your smartphone, hinting again at the company’s exodus from the consumer device market. Instead, it is positioning the Tegra X1 as the perfect mobile chip to power the next generation of smart cars, probably including those that will run Android Auto this year. Hopefully, though, NVIDIA will not be abandoning its probably small but likely very faithful mobile gaming fans and we keep our fingers crossed at another SHIELD device coming soon.