NVIDIA Shows Unreal Engine 3 Running On Windows RT Tablet

Subject: Mobile | August 29, 2012 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: unreal engine, tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, gaming

One of the reasons why I have hope for Windows RT is its gaming potential. Microsoft has been hit-or-miss with its gaming projects, but when it succeeds, it really knocks it out of the park – see DirectX, the Xbox 360 and Microsoft’s digital distribution via its console. Bringing Windows to tablets could make life easier for game developers in that space and offer a wider selection of mature titles rather than mobile-focused games, which often (in my opinion) feel watered down and look underwhelming.  

NVIDIA showcased this potential at IFA 2012 by demonstrating a Windows RT tablet (with Tegra 3 hardware, of course) running Unreal Engine 3. The tablet is shown playing the NVIDIA “Epic Citiadel” demo which we saw at the editor’s day conference used to debut the GTX 680 earlier this year. Quality details are probably reduced compared to the version that ran on the GTX 680 (it’s hard to tell in the video) but it still looks excellent and runs smoothly.

 


 

The demonstration highlighted the fact this isn’t some one-off or stripped-down version of the engine designed only for mobile devices. It’s a port of the existing Unreal Engine 3 engine used to make Windows PC games, which means developers shipping games that use UE3 should have minimal trouble porting their game to a Windows 8 RT tablet. Mark Rein, president of Epic Games, stated that Windows 8 RT code is now available to UE3 licenesees. It’ll be interesting to see which game developer is first to jump on board.

The tablet in the video is an ASUS Vivo Tab RT, an upcoming Windows 8 RT tablet with an 11.6” IPS display with 1366x768 resolution and a Tegra 3 SoC.  A tablet like this could be a compelling mobile gaming device if the games become available. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Source: NVIDIA

ARM-A9 SOC showdown, Tegra 3 versus ODROID-X

Subject: Mobile | August 21, 2012 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: tegra 3, Samsung, nvidia, Exynos 4412, cortex-a9, arm

The participants in this System on a Chip showdown both bear long names, on one side is NVIDIA's Tegra 3 ARM SoC and on the other the ODROID-X Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core ARM Cortex-A9.  NVIDIA's offering is well known by now but the ODROID-X is a relative newcomer to the market, offering their product for about $130.  After setting up Linux on these systems Phoronix got to benchmarking and the results will surprise NVIDIA fans as the ARM based system actually came out on top on quite a few of the tests.

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"While not as popular as NVIDIA's Tegra 3 ARM SoC, the Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 found on cheaply priced ODROID-X can actually outperform the quad-core NVIDIA ARM processor. Here are benchmarks of the $129 USD ODROID-X benchmarked against the NVIDIA Tegra 3 reference tablet and a PandaBoard ES running the Texas Instruments OMAP4460."

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Source: Phoronix

Lenovo Planning Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT Tablets

Subject: Mobile | August 12, 2012 - 08:25 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, Windows 8 Pro, windows 8, Thinkpad, tegra 3, tablet, slate, Lenovo

Earlier this year Microsoft unveils its plans for Windows 8 and its self-designed Surface tablets. Most machines will come with the full version of Windows 8, but some OEMs will be shipping ARM-powered mobile devices with the stripped-down Windows RT version. Microsoft is further delving into the hardware game by designing its own hardware with the Surface tablet and accessories. It will come in two versions, one with an ARM processor and Windows RT and another with an Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 8 Pro.

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According to several leaks around the web throughout the week, Lenovo is taking the Surface to heart and planning its own two-pronged approach. The Lenovo ThinkPad 2 will be running Windows Pro with an x86-64 processor while the Windows RT version will be packing an NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC.

Unfortunately, there are essentially no other specifics to the rumor other than sources for the Wall Street Journal confirming its existence and that it will be of the convertible tablet form factor.

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The Verge got hands-on with the ThinkPad 2 tablet. A keyboard, touchscreen, stylus, and pointing stick... input options abound!

On the other hand, there is a lot more meat to the ThinkPad 2 rumors, and it looks like a nice lightweight mobile workhorse. Allegedly the ThinkPad 2 is being developed as a “joint effort” with Intel and Microsoft. It weighs in at 1.3 pounds, is 9.8mm thick, and holds a 10.1-inch 1366x768 display. Running a full version of Windows 8, the ThinkPad 2 tablet is powered by an Intel Atom processor. Other features include an 8 megapixel and 2 megapixel camera on the back and front respectively as well as micro-HDMI port, fingerprint reader, and stylus. NFC and Wi-Fi are also very likely to be included, and a 3G/4G cellular radio will be an optional add-on. A separate keyboard accessory will allow users to dock the tablet and have access to a full keyboard with pointing stick. Alternatively, there is a dock attachment that adds an HDMI output, Ethernet jack, and three USB ports.

With the release of Windows 8 on October 26 official, it is likely that the two Lenovo ThinkPad tablets will be launched on–or shortly after–that date (the RT version might be delayed more so than the x86 tablet if I had to guess). No word yet on pricing, but here’s hoping that the prices are competitive with the Surface counterparts. 

It is not promising to see Lenovo going with Atom of all things for the x86-64 version, but that may just mean it will be one of the lower-cost tablets able to run the full version of Windows 8. As a fan of ThinkPads and styluses (styli?), I shall try to remain open minded until reviews come out with some benchmarks showing off the performance–or lack thereof (but remember, trying to stay positive here heh).

You can find more photos of the Intel Atom-powered ThinkPad 2 tablet over at The Verge.

Source: The Verge

NVIDIA Reports Quarter 2 Fiscal Year 2013 Financial Results

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: tegra 3, nvidia, kepler, financial results

Popular graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA announced its second quarter financial results for fiscal year 2013 in a conference call today. While some aspects of the business delivered less revenue than expected, its mobile Tegra and desktop/notebook graphics card divisions were up. In total, the company brought in a 13% quarter-over-quarter increase and $1.04 billion in revenue.

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Tregra is proving a successful product for NVIDIA.

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was part of the conference call today and he seemed positive about the company’s performance. He stated that “Our investments in mobile computing and visual computing are both paying off.” Thanks to the company’s successful 28nm Kepler architecture–and despite early yield issues–NVIDIA managed strong GeForce graphics card sales and a increased notebook graphics market share. The company attributes this increase to new Kepler-based notebook models from Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Sony.

On the mobile front, NVIDIA has seen several successes in securing design wins. One such device is Google’s new 7” Nexus 7 tablet that is proving to be a popular device–running NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor. The company’s Tegra 3 SoC is further included in the upcoming Surface tablet from Microsoft.

While they do not have many numbers on it yet, the company announced its cloud computing technologies at the GPU Technology Conference earlier this year. The mobile and cloud compute tech positions the company “right at the center of the fastest growing segments of computing,” according to Jen-Hsun Huang.

The company’s Professional Solutions Business has not done well for the company, but they are hoping to turn it around with new Tesla products and the planned NVIDIA Maximus technology.

Compared to the previous quarter (Q1 FY13), the company’s operating expenses have increased from $390.5 million to $401.1 million–a 2.7% increase. Fortunately, the company still managed to pull off a 97% increase in net income from $60.4 million to $119 million. Earnings per share have also increased from $.10 to $.19 which is likely to please shareholders. As far as GAAP revenue is concerned, it is up from the $924.9 million of the previous quarter.

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Going into the third quarter, NVIDIA expects to see increased revenue between $1.15 billion and $1.25 billion. The company does not expect see any noticeable changes in gross margins. Further, they expect operating expenses to decrease to be approximately $350 million–compared to $401.1 million in the previous quarter.

It seems like desktop graphics and Tegra mobile chips are the company’s big winners this quarter. The increased expected revenue is likely NVIDIAs expectation that it will sell more GeForce graphics cards once the mid-range Kepler cards are more fleshed out. Overall, it looks like things are good for NVIDIA.

You can listen to the full conference call here.

Source: NVIDIA

More on Google's $200 Jellybean

Subject: Mobile | August 1, 2012 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: google, nexus 7, andriod, jellybean, tablet, tegra 3

By now you may be familiar with the Tegra 3 powered, 1280x800 IPS display Nexus 7, but if you've been away then The Tech Report can fill you in on what you have missed.  At 7.8" x 4.7" the resolution is a respectable 216 pixels per inch as well as being of a nice size for both portability and usability.  The mini USB port can come in handy in several ways but the one thing it cannot do is offer you external storage for your Nexus 7 which is a bit of a pain considering there is a $50 premium on the 16GB model over the 8GB base.  There are some flaws but considering that at $200 it is significantly less expensive than its competitors, there is a lot of good things to say about Google's new tablet.

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"For just $199, Google's Nexus 7 tablet serves up a 1280x800 display, a Tegra 3 SoC, and the very latest version of Android. We take a closer look at the budget wonder and break out our high-speed camera to capture Jelly Bean's responsiveness improvements in action."

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NVIDIA Mobile Devices to Support Miracast Wireless Display Technology

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2012 - 11:49 PM |
Tagged: wireless display, wifi alliance, widi, tegra 3, nvidia, miracast

NVIDIA has announced its support for a new wireless display technology called Miracast. The creation of the Wi-Fi Alliance and its partners, Miracast is a wireless technology that allows direct connections (sans router) between a Wi-Fi enabled device and a Wi-Fi enabled television set. It is a much more open standard than the proprietary technologies like Intel’s WiDi. Devices will require certification much like other Wi-Fi routers and wireless adapters. The Miracast standard certification program is set to launch soon with the standard’s specifications published sometime in August. Any device manufacturer will be able to use the standard and go through certification, though whether or not we will see the high adoption rate that many are hoping for remains to be seen.

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Interestingly, it looks as though NVIDIA is going to be one of the first adopters of the Miracast standard by integrating it into its Tegra 3-powered mobile devices. Using the Tegra 3 “4+1”-core System on a Chip, NVIDIA plans to use the chip to encode the audio and video information and pass it to the Wi-Fi stack where it is passed, via Wi-Fi, to the wireless display. The company wants you to be able to use its mobile tablets and smartphones as a controller to be able to play media and even games on the big screen. According to a recent blog post, NVIDIA is “actively working with our OEM partners and Miracast receiver vendors to bring this technology to market.” The company has further promised more specific updates once the Wi-Fi Alliance finalizes the specification.

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Miracast sounds good, as an open wireless display standard, but it is going to face some stiff competition from proprietary technologies. Apple’s Air Play, AMD's Wireless Display, Intel’s WiDi, and software like Android Transporter are all currently in use, and it is unlikely that those companies will forego the invested technology for an open standard. Miracast can certainly still work as a standard for all other devices, but that raises some questions. Mainly, whether or not a number of alternative devices using Miracast will be a large enough interest to compel display makers to support it. Hence my surprise when NVIDIA pledged its support, as it has the potential to be a big player in helping Miracast succeed. I'll remain skeptically optimistic on this one, but I'm curious what you think. Do you think that it will be successful as a wireless display standard?

You can read more about Miracast in this whitepaper (PDF).

Source: NVIDIA

The Surface Tablet should be cheaper than an Ultrabook, but not by much

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2012 - 10:34 AM |
Tagged: surface, ultrabook, Pegatron, windows rt, windows 8, tablet, microsoft, arm, tegra 3

You've met Microsoft's two new Surface Tablet by now, either in Scott's write up or elsewhere on the net and are aware that there is a less expensive ARM and Tegra 3 version and a more expensive Ivy Bridge model.  What you might not have known is the expected pricing, a lack that DigiTimes remedies this morning with the prediction the WinRT model will cost at least $600 and the Win8 model more than $800.  Both are being assembled by Pegatron Technology but the amount being assembled is still unknown.  The Surface Tablet is certainly attention grabbing but it costs significantly more than other tablets and many full notebooks, but it likely to be lower priced than either Intel or Apple's ultraportable devices which puts it in an odd spot in the market.  How many will be willing to pay that much for a multi-touch tablet with dock?

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"Sources from notebook players have revealed that Microsoft's 10.6-inch Surface tablet PCs will be outsourced to Pegatron Technology for assembly; however, there is still not a firm estimate for order volumes.

The sources also estimated the end-market price of the Windows 8 Pro-based Surface tablet PC with Ivy Bridge processor to be at least above US$799, while the Windows RT-based model, featuring Nvidia's Tegra 3, will be priced above US$599."

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Source: DigiTimes

ASUS shows Tablet 810 and 600 using Intel Clover Trail and Tegra 3, Windows 8

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 09:04 AM |
Tagged: windows 8 rt, windows 8, tegra 3, tablet 810, tablet 600, computex, clover trail, asus

Haven't had enough tablets yet?  ASUS hopes that's the case as they continue to release products using Windows 8 with the fresh touch interface.  First up, Anandtech tells us about the new ASUS 810 tablet using the Intel Clover Trail x86 SoC.

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Image source: Anandtech.com

The 810 will include an 11.6-in screen with a 1366x768 resolution IPS display - we have seen almost all of the new Clover Trail based tablets using this low resolution likely due to the underpowered graphics power of the 32nm Intel graphics powering them.  ASUS also includes 2GB of memory, 64GB of solid state storage, 8MP and 2MP cameras and support for NFC (near field communications).  

Much like the Transformer brand of tablets ASUS has made popular already, the 810 (and the 600 below) will offer keyboard / battery docks. 

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Image source: Anandtech.com

The ASUS Tablet 600 will also run Windows 8, but the RT (ARM) version, and will be powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core SoC.  This model will also have 2GB of memory but will drop to 32GB of local storage and include the 8MP and 2MP cameras.  The 10.1-in screen will keep the 1366x768 resolution and it can take advantage of the optional keyboard dock.  

If you continue to be interested in the ASUS 600 tablet, the first Windows 8 RT Tegra 3 powered device, check out the video demonstration created by NVIDIA below.

Source: Anandtech

NVIDIA Tegra 3 gets boost with LTE Support, 30 Devices this year

Subject: Mobile | May 24, 2012 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: wayne, tegra 3, tegra, nvidia, LTE, icera, grey

In the middle of 2011, NVIDIA acquired a small company by the name of Icera, a maker of baseband and RF technologies that would eventually allow the company to integrate the two into a single chip.  As LTE-capable devices from Verizon, AT&T and even Sprint have been announced and ship, no NVIDIA Tegra-powered phone or tablet has been able to support the feature with the lone exception of the ZTE Mimosa X in February of this year.  

Today NVIDIA officially announced support and validation from AT&T on their new and growing LTE network for the Icera 410 LTE multimode chipset.  This will finally allow Tegra + LTE devices to be sold and available in the US and other markets when product manufacturers integrate the two processors in future designs.

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As to when we will see those designs, we aren't quite sure but nothing was announced during the NVIDIA investors day today.  All we know now is that they will be coming "through this year and next."

“Validation with AT&T is an achievement that paves the way for NVIDIA Icera-powered LTE devices on the AT&T network through this year and next,” said Stan Boland, senior vice president of Mobile Communications at NVIDIA.
 
The NVIDIA Icera 410 LTE modem delivers lightning-fast web browsing, video streaming and multiplayer gaming to tablets and clamshell devices. It is the first Icera modem to implement 4G LTE in NVIDIA’s software defined radio baseband processor. Together with its multimode radio transceiver, the chipset offers 4G LTE at category 2 data rates (up to 50 Mbps) as well as 4G HSPA+, 3G and 2G compatibility.

What we DID learn at the NVIDIA investors meeting is that Mike Rayfield, GM of Tegra business unit, things we'll see as many as 30 Tegra 3 based devices for sale this year.  

NVIDIA has 30 devices planned for the year. So far, we've seen just two. Of those 30 devices, some 15 will be planned for sub-$200 pricing. That's certainly the sweet spot for impulse purchases.

NVIDIA's also looking to make inroads into the Chinese market, with 18 of those 30 tablets targeted for the Asian nation. By comparison, NVIDIA only released five devices in China in 2011, Rayfield said.

The big name to know for the rest of the year is Kai. That's the low-cost, high-performance system that NVIDIA is crowing about these days, and it's what will help bring prices down while keeping prices at a more affordable level. Will there be higher-performing tablets? Sure. But will they be $200?

Producing a number of devices, like 30, is impressive but without context the fact means very little.  How many of these devices are going to tablets and how many are phones?  How many will be running the Microsoft Win RT operating system for ARM due out in fall?  

Speaking of Icera though, NVIDIA also showed the roadmap for LTE integration including the upcoming Icera i500 LTE controller for high-end phones and tablets with newly planned integration directly on the Tegra core in a new chip called "Grey".  This new processor will run parallel with the planned 2013 release of "Wayne" though it will be targeted at smartphones and lower end tablets; Wayne is planned to find its way into higher end tablets and the onslaught of clamshells we'll see with Windows RT.

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There is a lot more to learn and we expect see more news come our way as we approach Computex in Taipei!

ASUS' new Transformer 300

Subject: Mobile | May 9, 2012 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: asus, transformer pad 300, tegra 3

ASUS' Transformer Pad 300 is the newest model of the combination tablet and netbook and includes NVIDIA's Tegra 3 to provide processing and graphical power.  The 10.1" IPS TFT is at a decent resolution of 1280x800 but is not quite up to the quality of the more expensive Transformer Prime.  ASUS chose to go with a dock that will only work with the Transformer 300, so you won't be able to swap keyboards if you have more than one Transformer.  Overall The Tech Report liked the new 300 a lot as it possesses a good amount of features for such an inexpensive device.

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"Asus has revamped its entry level Transformer tablet, squeezing Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor into a slimmer, sexier body. The trademark keyboard dock remains, as does the affordable price tag. We take a closer look to see how the Transformer Pad 300 measures up."

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