CES 2014: NVIDIA Announces Tegra K1 SoC with 192 Kepler CUDA Cores, Denver ARMv8 Option

Subject: Processors, Mobile | January 5, 2014 - 11:43 PM |
Tagged: tegra k1, tegra, SoC, nvidia, kepler, CES 2014, CES

Update: Check out our more in-depth analysis of the Tegra K1 processor from NVIDIA.

Today during its CES 2014 press conference, NVIDIA announced the Tegra K1 SoC as the successor to the Tegra 4 processor.  This new ARM-based part includes 192 Kepler-based CUDA cores, sharing the same GPU architecture as the current GeForce GTX 700-series discrete graphics cards. 

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NVIDIA also announced the Epic has Unreal Engine 4 up and running on the Tegra K1, bringing an entirely new class of games to mobile Android devices.  We got to see some demonstrations from NVIDIA running on the K1 and I must admit the visuals were stunning.  Frame rates did get a bit choppy during the subway demo of UE4 but it's still early.

As an added surprise, NVIDIA is announcing a version of Tegra K1 that ships with the same quad-core A15 (4+1) design as the Tegra 4 BUT ALSO have a version that uses two NVIDIA Denver CPU cores!!  Denver is NVIDIA's custom CPU design based on the ARMv8 architecture, adding 64-bit support to another ARM partner's portfolio.

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Tegra K1 is offered in two pin-to-pin compatible versions - a 32-bit quad-core (4-Plus-1 ARM Cortex-A15 CPU) and a custom, NVIDIA-designed 64-bit dual Super Core CPU. This CPU (codenamed “Project Denver”) delivers very high single-thread and multi-thread performance. Both versions deliver stunning graphics and visual computing capabilities powered by the 192-core NVIDIA Kepler GPU. 

NVIDIA has only had Denver back for a few days from the fab but there able to showcase it running Android.  It's been a long time since the initial announcement of this project and its great to finally see a result.

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Tegra K1 with quad-core A15 processor

We'll have an in-depth story on the Tegra K1 on Monday morning, 6am PST right here on PC Perspective so check back then!!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Manufacturer: NVIDIA G-SYNC

Introduction and Unboxing

Introduction:

We've been covering NVIDIA's new G-Sync tech for quite some time now, and displays so equipped are finally shipping. With all of the excitement going on, I became increasingly interested in the technology, especially since I'm one of those guys who is extremely sensitive to input lag and the inevitable image tearing that results from vsync-off gaming. Increased discussion on our weekly podcast, coupled with the inherent difficulty of demonstrating the effects without seeing G-Sync in action in-person, led me to pick up my own ASUS VG248QE panel for the purpose of this evaluation and review. We've generated plenty of other content revolving around the G-Sync tech itself, so lets get straight into what we're after today - evaluating the out of box installation process of the G-Sync installation kit.

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Unboxing:

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All items are well packed and protected.

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Included are installation instructions, a hard plastic spudger for opening the panel, a couple of stickers, and all necessary hardware bits to make the conversion.

Read on for the full review!

Reader Results: NVIDIA G-Sync Upgrade and First Impressions

Subject: Displays | January 3, 2014 - 11:10 AM |
Tagged: reader results, nvidia, gsync, g-sync

Editor's Note: Late last December NVIDIA gave us the opportunity to hand out 5 of the NVIDIA G-Sync upgrade kits for the ASUS VG248QE display to PC Perspective readers.  Part of the deal though was that those winners agree to give us feedback on the upgrade experience and the real-world experience of using NVIDIA G-Sync on their gaming rig.  Below is the (slightly edited) results sent in by one Levi Kendall.  We'll likely post other users' results as well when the start to filter in.  

So, if you are curious what it will be like to upgrade and use your own G-Sync monitor, I think the experiences described by Levi below are going to be very interesting.

Also, don't forget to read over my overview of NVIDIA's G-Sync technology and my initial impressions in this article as well!

 

Installation thoughts:

This was a fairly serious product mod, actually more than I thought it was going to be.  Overall, the installation took more than an hour, so not exactly trivial for me.  I suppose it's possible to get it done in 30 minutes if you were really focused and knew what you were doing. I put the LVDS connector on wrong the first time (connectors had to be rotated 180 degrees) so I had to retrace my steps for a bit to get it fixed after I realized it was put on incorrectly and the metal plate was on the wrong side.  The manual does actually point this out in a couple steps but it was a little confusing to think of that rotation change.  Also, during installation I opted to remove the somewhat useless monitor speakers (that nobody probably uses anyway).  It's definitely something a PC hobbyist can do, but count on spending some time carefully removing a lot of small cables inside the monitor and doing it right.  Part of my slow approach was caution at damaging any components; I've never been inside an LCD display until now.

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Installation Step 1

First impressions:

The OSD settings through the monitor buttons are greatly reduced (fortunately simplified) after the mod.  It's not really an issue since it looks amazing, but the display controls seem to be basically just a brightness option +/- now.  I'm happy with the gamma particularly in dark levels as I don't feel like I have to fool with it now and the ASUS OSD was a bit clunky to work with anyway.  The various display "modes" of the VG248QE weren't something I really used much before, just got it to the point it looked nice to me and left it alone.  The monitor also powers up nearly instantly as opposed to the delay of showing the animated ASUS logo which is nice.

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Installation Step 2

For more detailed display setting tweaks I downloaded a free utility called “softMCCS” and this has allowed me to access things like the detailed color settings and contrast.  This software seems a little buggy but overall it does work at least.  Unfortunately NVIDIA did not provide any official MCCS software utility in the package.

Game play testing:

In games where the frame rate was already consistently 144+ it's hard to say precisely where the difference is.  The VG248QE was already a beastly fast gaming monitor to start from.  It feels to me like the latency might have gone down a little bit with G-Sync, everything does feel a bit more responsive and caught up very close with player inputs.  Where G-Sync becomes more noticeable to me is in games where the frame rate is dropping somewhere below the magical 144 mark and you see this kind of graceful degradation in performance and game play remains very fluid even when the action ramps up and you are in a lower FPS situation. 

Continue reading Levi's experiences using the NVIDIA G-Sync upgraded ASUS VG248QE monitor!!

Podcast #282 - Hardware Picks of the Year, the Sapphire 290X Tri-X, and the EVGA Hadron Air

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2014 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: video, tegra note 7, podcast, nvidia, Mantle, hardware picks of the year, Hardron Air, evga, amd, 290x tri-x

PC Perspective Podcast #282 - 01/02/2014

Join us this week as we discuss our Hardware Picks of the Year, the Sapphire 290X Tri-X, and the EVGA Hadron Air!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Scott Michaud

 
Program length: 1:58:53
  1. Thanks to Don Komarechka for the Sky Crystals book
  2. Week in Review:
  3. News items of interest:
  4. PC Perspective Hardware Picks of the Year
    1. Best Graphics Card of 2013
    2. Best CPU of 2013
    3. Best Storage of 2013
    4. Best Case of 2013
    5. Best Motherboard of 2013
    6. Best Price Drop of 2013
    7. Best Mobile Device of 2013
    8. Best Trend of 2013
    9. Worst Trend of 2013
    10. Best Website
  5. Closing/outro

 

It really has been a busy year for CPU reviews

Subject: General Tech | December 31, 2013 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: 2013, amd, nvidia, Intel, arm, qualcomm

2013 has been an incredible year and when looking at The Inquirer's look back on the releases of this year it is hard to believe that all of these releases took place in 12 short months.  Haswell and Richland were the only two traditional CPU architecture updates for high powered desktop applications which stymied the enthusiasm of some gamers but the real star of 2013 was low powered silicon.  ARM has always held strong in this market and celebrated several major releases such as 28nm dual core Cortex A15s and Qualcomm's raising of the bar on mobile graphics with the dual-core and quad-core Snapdragon 400 chips but they lost market share to three newcomers to the low powered market.  NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 4 SoC arrived with decent performance and graphics improvements compared to their previous generation and allowed the release of the Shield which has helped them become more than a GPU company that is also dipping its toes into the HPC market.   AMD announced the G series of SoCs for industrial applications with a TDP in the neighbourhood of 6W as well as Temash which will power next generation tablets and hybrid mobile devices but it was really Intel that shone brightest at the low end.  Bay Trail has completely reversed the perception of Atom from a product that is not really good at anything to an impressive low powered chip that provides impressive performance for small mobile devices and might find its self a role in the server room as well.  That only scratches the top layer of silicon, click over for more of the year in review.

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"While Intel and AMD battled out their ongoing war, Nvidia took the stage to announce its latest Tegra 4 system on a chip (SoC), a quad-core chip with a significant graphics boost. The firm did its best to play down the fact that its Tegra 4 has the same CPU core count as its previous-generation Tegra 3, and instead it focused on GPU performance, an area where the Tegra 3 was starting to look dated against newer chips from rivals such as Samsung."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 OTA Update - Always On HDR, Video Stabilization, Android 4.3

Subject: Mobile | December 26, 2013 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, tegra 4, note 7, tegra note 7, android 4.3, Android

NVIDIA sent along word this morning that they have improved the Tegra Note 7 with a new software OTA update.  Keys to the update are that it adds the promised always-on HDR photography (AOHDR), live video stabilization and an operating system update to Android 4.3. 

We’ve enhanced the Tegra NOTE stylus experience, adding support for left-handed users and improvements in overall response. We’ve also added a DirectStylus help option under the device setting’s menu, a stylus removal and insert notification on the notification bar, and given users the ability to capture the notification bar with full-screen capture.

In addition to these new features, Tegra NOTE 7′s camera gets always-on high-dynamic range (AOHDR) capability, which provides more lifelike images across a range of lighting conditions. AOHDR utilizes Tegra 4’s processing power and Chimera computational photography architecture. We’ve also added video stabilization for shake-free video, in addition to tuning and optimizations to improve camera performance under certain lighting conditions.

From an OS perspective, Tegra Note 7 now sports the Android 4.3 Operating System.

Finally, in addition to security and bug fixes, we’ve added the ability to transfer app and data files from internal memory to an external microSD card.

If you own a Tegra Note 7 you will be pushed the update soon or you can force an update in your settings menu. 

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Still curious about the device?  You can read my review of the Tegra Note 7 here and find out all about this $199 7-in tablet device.

Source: NVIDIA

Win an ASUS VG248QE Upgrade Kit to Enable NVIDIA G-Sync!!

Subject: Displays | December 24, 2013 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: vg248qe, nvidia, gsync, giveaway, g-sync, contest, asus

We have our winners!! Congratulations to the following 5 submissions and we'll have the upgrade kits on the way to you very soon.  

  • Lewis C.
  • Levi K.
  • Jonathan F.
  • John G.
  • Ben L.

I know that LOTS of you have been clamoring for information on how you can get your hands on one of those DIY G-Sync upgrade kits for yourself and I have some good news.  Though I can't tell you where to buy one or how much it will cost, I can offer you 1 of 5 FREE G-Sync upgrade kits through a giveaway we are hosting at PC Perspective!

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Here are the rules for the sweepstakes:

  • You must already own an ASUS VG248QE monitor
  • We need you to supply feedback on the G-Sync experience after the upgrade
  • Sorry, this is only available in the US and Canada

Now, the real question is, how can you enter to win as long as you meet those above requirements?  It's pretty simple!

  • Fill out the form below with name and email information
    • You have to include a link to a picture of your existing VG248QE monitor.  Include text on it (or on a sheet of paper in the photo) that mentions this contest!  Use Imgur if you need an image host.
  • Leave a comment on this post that describes WHY you want G-Sync technology
  • Hey, if you subscribe to our YouTube channel that won't hurt your chances either.  Leave your YouTube name in the comment as well!

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Our thanks goes to NVIDIA for supplying the kits and good luck to all participants!  We'll pick our winners on December 23rd and have the units out by the end of the year. 

Podcast #281 - NVIDIA GSYNC Preview, ASUS ROG MARS 760, Custom Cooled R9 290Xs and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 19, 2013 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: video, ROG, podcast, nvidia, mars 760, gtx 760, gsync, DirectCU II, aus, 290x

PC Perspective Podcast #281 - 12/19/2013

Join us this week as we discuss our NVIDIA GSYNC Preview, ASUS ROG MARS 760, Custom Cooled R9 290Xs and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Scott Michaud

 
Program length: 1:38:13
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 1:04:00 Intel Roadmap Leaks
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  4. Closing/outro

 

GeForce Experience 1.8.1 Released with Twitch Streaming

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 17, 2013 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, ShadowPlay, geforce experience

Another update to GeForce Experience brings another anticipated ShadowPlay feature. The ability to stream live gameplay to Twitch, hardware accelerated by Kepler, was demoed at the NVIDIA event in Montreal from late October. They showed Batman Origins streaming at 1080p 60FPS without capping or affecting the in-game output settings.

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GeForce Experience 1.8.1 finally brings that feature, in beta of course, to the general public. When set up, Alt + F8 will launch the Twitch stream and Alt + F6 will activate your webcam. Oh, by the way, one feature they kept from us (or at least me) is the ability to overlay your webcam atop your gameplay.

Nice touch NVIDIA.

Of course the upstream bandwidth requirements of video are quite high: 3.5Mbps on the top end, a more common 2Mbps happy medium, and a 0.75Mbps minimum. NVIDIA has been trying to ensure that your machine will not lag but there's nothing a GPU can do about your internet connection.

GeForce Experience 1.8.1 is available now at the GeForce website.

NVIDIA G-Sync Monitors Limited Availability Starting Today

Subject: Displays | December 16, 2013 - 09:11 AM |
Tagged: video, vg248qe, nvidia, gsync, g-sync, asus

It looks like some G-Sync ready monitors are going to be on sale starting today, though perhaps not from the outlets you would have expected.  NVIDIA let me know last night that they are working with partners, including ASUS obviously, to make a small amount of pre-modified ASUS VG248QE G-Sync monitors available for purchase. These are the same monitors we used in our recent G-Sync preview story so you should check that article out if you want our opinions on the display and the technology. 

Those people selling the displays?  Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Maingear, and Overlord Computer.  This creates some unfortunate requirements on potential buyers.  For example, Falcon Northwest is only selling the panels to users that either are buying a new Falcon PC or already own a Falcon custom system.  Digital Storm on the other hand WILL sell the monitor on its own or allow you to send in your VG248QE monitor to have the upgrade service done for you.  The monitor alone will sell for $499 while the upgrade price (with module included) is $299. 

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This distribution model for G-Sync technology likely isn't what users wanted or expected.  After all, we were promised upgrade kits for users of that specific ASUS VG248QE display and we still do not have data on how NVIDIA plans to sell them or distribute them.  Being able to purchase the display from these resellers above is at least SOMETHING before the holiday, but it really isn't the way we would like to see G-Sync showcased.  NVIDIA needs to get these products in the hands of gamers sooner rather than later.

NVIDIA also prepared a new video to showcase G-Sync.  Unlike other marketing videos this one wasn't placed on YouTube as the ability for it to run at a fixed 60 FPS is a strict requirement, something that YouTube can't do or can't do reliably.  For this video's demonstration to work correctly you need set your display to a 60 Hz refresh rate and you should use a video player capable of maintaining the static 60 FPS content decoding.

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To grab a copy of this video, you can use the link right here that will download the file directly from Mega.co.nz.  It should help demonstrate the effects us using a G-Sync enabled display for users that don't have access to see one in person.

Oh, and I know that LOTS of you have been clamoring for information on how you can get your hands on one of those DIY G-Sync upgrade kits for yourself and I have some good news.  Though I can't tell you where to buy one or how much it will cost, I can offer you one of 5 FREE G-Sync ASUS VG248QE upgrade kits through a giveaway we are hosting at PC Perspective!  Check out this page for the details!!

Source: NVIDIA