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Nvidia Releases Tegra 4 Powered SHIELD Handheld

Unknown Lamer posted about 9 months ago | from the slices-and-dices dept.

Portables (Games) 81

An anonymous reader writes "Today, Nvidia officially releases the SHIELD. After an unexpected delay last month, the company dropped the price of its hotly-anticipated handheld gaming system from $350 to just $300. Sporting a 5-inch 720p touchscreen attached to an XBox-style controller, the SHIELD is the first serious Android-based handheld gaming device. The SHIELD is also the first major device top ship with Nvidia's new Tegra 4 SoC. But the potentially killer feature of the SHIELD is its ability to steam heavy-duty PC games from your desktop right into your hands. Right now the selection of PC games is pretty scarce, with just 21 titles to choose from so far, though Nvidia promises more to come. Tom's Hardware just posted an exhaustive review of the Nvidia SHIELD, which includes demos of both Android gaming and PC streaming, display and battery testing, plus the usual bevy of performance tests versus the Tegra 3-based Nexus 7 (2012), the new Nexus 7 carrying a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, the iPhone 5, and a Wintel tablet with the Atom Z2760. Tegra 4 presents nearly four times the performance of Tegra 3, and leaves most of its competition in the dust. However, it also means that Nvidia is now the only ARM competitor without an OpenGL ES 3.0 implementation on the horizon, making Nvidia's new position as top dog quite uncertain."

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81 comments

Ability to steam heavy-duty PC games (0)

syntheticmemory (1232092) | about 9 months ago | (#44435373)

Steampunks everywhere rejoice.

Re:Ability to steam heavy-duty PC games (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44435899)

Rejoice to what? A blatant marketing post? This thing is DOA. D. O. A.

MMORPGs are the Killer App (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 9 months ago | (#44439155)

More like obsessive MMORPG players rejoice -- you can actually get up to go to the bathroom without interrupting your multi-hour dungeon raid. No more Poopsocking [urbandictionary.com]!

Re:Ability to steam heavy-duty PC games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44441979)

Of course. After all, it is the first major device top ship with Nvidia's new Tegra 4 SoC. Right now the selection of PC games is pretty scarce, with just 21 titles to choose from so far.

steam? (1, Offtopic)

bcong (1125705) | about 9 months ago | (#44435391)

... its ability to steam heavy-duty PC games from your desktop right into your hands... very cool that it can sublimate PC games, but what about my PS3 and XBox games? I want those in gas form as well.

Re:steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44435461)

Well, it's an iron. Plastic on the PS3 might melt.

Re:steam? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#44435581)

Sony's working on letting the PS Vita do this with PS4 games, however I understand that they're reluctant to turn games into vapour as it undermines the DRM restrictions against inhalation and/or respiration without the appropriate written consent.

Re:steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44435849)

You misunderstand. They mean the device only works with the Steam platform. ;)

Emulator platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44435405)

Not sure about the fluff features and the native android ecosystem, but I'm sure this will be the best handheld emulator platform we've seen in a while.

With a 64gig SD card you could probably have a near complete set of all Pre dreamcast console and arcade games.

Re:Emulator platform (3, Interesting)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 9 months ago | (#44435479)

No need to store them all on your device itself. Upload all your roms to google drive/dropbox, pull right from there. This is how i have my Ouya setup.

Re:Emulator platform (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44436289)

So you store your games on a remote server so you can play them locally? Jesus what is wrong with people today? It's like, "Waste as much bandwidth as possible" is the aim of pretty much everyone.

Re:Emulator platform (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 9 months ago | (#44437245)

I put them on a remote server so I dont have to install them on the many devices i have. Also, all my friends have access to the cloud store too. Finally, the biggest single file i have on there is 27MB (Majora's Mask), not exactly putting a dent in any modern bandwidth allocation.....................

Re: Emulator platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44437313)

Waste bandwidth? Like we do with RAM, hard drive IO, USB, etc? Is all bandwidth a waste? Is it better to copy the files to all five of my devices ..just in case? On what basis is this a waste of bandwidth?

LAN is cheaper than Internet (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44442601)

Is all bandwidth a waste?

LAN transmissions cost next to nothing. Internet transmissions are far more expensive, up to $10 per GB for cellular and not much cheaper for satellite. So if you don't keep your library on every device, keep them on a network share. I've been using Rhythm Software File Manager [rhmsoft.com] on my OUYA console to get NES homebrew games into EMUya from a network share

Re:Emulator platform (2)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about 9 months ago | (#44435733)

Assuming an individual already owns and Android based phone, it would be much cheaper and sensible to just buy one of those Moga or Moga pro controller add-ons for emulators. If you're not going to take advantage of the streaming-from-PC features of the Shield, I can't see how it would be worth $300 to you.

OpenGL (4, Informative)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 9 months ago | (#44435477)

However, it also means that Nvidia is now the only ARM competitor without an OpenGL ES 3.0 implementation on the horizon, making Nvidia's new position as top dog quite uncertain.

Tegra 5 is supposed to be OpenGL 4.3, so I wouldn't be concerned about them not having an OpenGL ES 3.0 chip.

Re:OpenGL (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 9 months ago | (#44435779)

Tegra 5 has OpenGL ES 3.0 as well, but this is a review of a Tegra 4 device. Tegra 5 will not be released for some time yet

Re:OpenGL (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 9 months ago | (#44441775)

Yeah, except if they're worried about "[NVidia's] position as top dog" being "quite uncertain" because there's no OpenGL ES 3.0 implementation "on the horizon", they're just wrong - it is on the horizon, in less than a year. By the time they come out with Tegra 5, there probably won't even be a hell of a lot using OpenGL ES 3.0, since barely anything out now has it, and developers tend not to target platforms that just don't exist in the wild.

Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (5, Interesting)

Psyberian (240815) | about 9 months ago | (#44435551)

Got hands one at PDXLAN in Portland a few weeks ago. What can I say but holy crap, I gotta have one. It's a like an oversized dreamcast controller with a LCD screen. It's streaming seemed flawless. We ran Borderlands and a few other games without issue. They were stating a pretty insane battery life, but that will be left to see what it really is. The screen was beautiful, it has a large number of games, and more coming. It was also running steam if I remember correctly. I know this isn't much of are review, but more of just saying, this thing rocks.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44435689)

And how in the hell is that portable?

Are you wearing MC hammer pants?

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (1)

Psyberian (240815) | about 9 months ago | (#44435963)

Yep, but that's not a shield in my pocket, I'm just happy to see you.

So your saying netbook isn't portable? Portable doesn't mean pocketsize.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44436685)

I don't carry my netbook everywhere. I like to game on the go. I leave the netbook in the car.

People who ride public transit (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44442607)

I don't carry my netbook everywhere. I like to game on the go. I leave the netbook in the car.

I guess my use case differs from yours because I carry my Dell netbook on the city bus with me.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44437279)

Actually I'll have you know that my netbook is portable. I turn my cargo-pants-wearing backside in your general direction.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 9 months ago | (#44440287)

I remember when any computer with a handle and weighing less than 40 pounds was portable, even if you had to plug it into the wall. (later they started semi-jokingly calling them luggables).

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (3, Insightful)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about 9 months ago | (#44435761)

I would recommend reading some of the reviews. It looks like the streaming feature is great, if you have a high-end wireless router and are within one room's distance from that router.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44435773)

If that is the case, why not just play on the PC?
If it can't at least be usable at the Mcdonalds down the road or the starbucks a block further it seems totally useless.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 9 months ago | (#44436175)

If the gaming PC is also the home theater PC, and your wife/girlfriend is watching something, this could be useful. This assumes the streaming PC can be used for other things while streaming the game.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (1)

kevmatic (1133523) | about 9 months ago | (#44438935)

It cannot, even if you have multiple displays. If the game it is streaming loses focus, it quits streaming. Tom's review mentions this.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about 9 months ago | (#44456553)

On the other hand, if your gaming PC is connected to the living room TV (probably not a terribly common setup, I'll admit) and that TV is being used for something else, this could function like the Wii U gamepad's off-TV feature.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (4, Interesting)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about 9 months ago | (#44435859)

There was an nvidia booth at maker faire in san mateo this year, and they had one there. I was attending with a friend who was a game developer, so we went to check it out. I was thoroughly unimpressed, not because there was anything wrong with the system (it played games as far as I could tell), but because all of our technical questions were met with blank stares. Eventually they told us to come back in an hour because the one technical guy was off getting lunch or something. Apparently nvidia sent a booth full of marketing people to an event specifically for engineers and technical people.

28.8 Wh battery (1)

Vincent77 (660967) | about 9 months ago | (#44436361)

The battery is huge! An Iphone 5 has a 5.45Wh battery. With that battery the iPhone would easily survive over a week.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44436469)

Another cool feature is that it supports Miracast so you can push the content to your HDTV via a miracast receiver. Using the shield as the game controller/console and viewing playback on the large screen is pretty cool.

I saw this in action and it worked great.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44436627)

I tried it at PAX East. They didn't have streaming from PCs set up, so we could just play Tegra games. Was not impressed, the Tegra games were all mobiley: simplistic, stupid, and by no means mind-blowingly pretty for a handheld. The streaming is the only thing I could see myself caring about, but it wouldn't be terribly useful for my own use case, and certainly not $300 useful.

Re:Got my hands on one at PDXLAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44442003)

It's a like an oversized Dreamcast controllers? It is streaming seemed flawless? That isn't much of are review?

Let's talk the important stuff. (1)

DWMorse (1816016) | about 9 months ago | (#44435559)

Let's talk important features. Can it run standard Android apps, such as NES.emu and ePSXe emulators? I already own a GameKlip [thegameklip.com] for my Galaxy S4, but a standalone emulation device like this would be great for everyone that loves classic games.

Re:Let's talk the important stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44435731)

It has Google Play so regular android apps can be installed. I can only assume emulators work; I'm sure it won't take long to find out.

Re:Let's talk the important stuff. (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 9 months ago | (#44435937)

Based on the comments at Anandtech, I bought a GameKlip this morning. It seems like the better option for emulation than this device if you already have a PS3 controller and an android phone or tablet, and I have no use for streaming games to this instead of playing them on the big-screen.

Makes me want to buy the new Nexus 7 (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#44435579)

Looking through the benchmarks, at a little more than double the resolution, the Nexus 7 gives a little less than half the framerate of this dedicated gaming machine. That should make it fantastic for general use, and makes the price seem attractive vs. the Allwinner imports.

Nexus 7 with what controller? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44442621)

I have the old Nexus 7 tablet, but I've discovered that not all games are enjoyable with only multitouch control. Which controller that clips onto a Nexus 7 do you recommend?

As always (1)

mybeat (1516477) | about 9 months ago | (#44435615)

Europe is screwed. no ETA on when it will be available, would love to have one to control my parrot drone.

Guess I'll have to get one from ebay/amazon if they every pop up there.

Tegra 4 requires active cooling (2)

edxwelch (600979) | about 9 months ago | (#44435695)

It's quite interesting that the Shield requires active cooling. Seems like the Tegra 4 Soc runs extreemly hot. There are customer complaints of over heating for the Toshiba Excite:
http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Excite-AT15LE-A32-PDA0EU-00101Y-10-1-Inch/product-reviews/B00D78Q2NQ/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending&tag=at055-20 [amazon.com]
Also, there are rumours that smartphone OEMs avoided Tegra 4 because of heat and battery consumption issues.

Re:Tegra 4 requires active cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44435777)

Notice the vent in the back of the Nvidia Sheild? Fan.
The thing is pushing a lot more CPU and CPU cycles than your average tablet. There is going to be some heat.

Re:Tegra 4 requires active cooling (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about 9 months ago | (#44435881)

Yea I can imagine if the user is doing some high end gaming that it needs some type of cooling.

Re:Tegra 4 requires active cooling (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 9 months ago | (#44436383)

Not really. The Snapdragon 800 has a faster GPU and runs happily without any active cooling

Re:Tegra 4 requires active cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44440711)

Not really. The Snapdragon 800 has a slower GPU and gets pretty hot as well.
The recent benchmark scandal was because someone (probably Samsung but perhaps Qualcomm) set up the machine to specifically detect certain benchmarks and run at a higher clock rate. That high clock rate can't be sustained, and is not available to any real application. All of this to match the Tegra 4 performance.

Shield is designed to continuously run games, which is a different use model than tablet or phones are designed around. You wouldn't want great performance during start-up, and then a big slow-down when the action starts. Sustained performance requires a big battery, a PMIC (power supply chip) that can continuously deliver power, power distribution on the chip to run all parts simultaneously, and active cooling (a heatsink and fan) to get rid of the heat. During normal use the fan doesn't turn on, but it's available.

Oh, and don't dismiss the on-chip power distribution part. The original Exynos 5 reportedly did so poorly because it couldn't deliver full power to both the GPU and CPU simultaneously, which resulted in great single-aspect benchmarks but throttled sophisticated applications than use both simultaneously.

Re:Tegra 4 requires active cooling (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 9 months ago | (#44441533)

Benchmarks show Snapdragon 800 GPU as faster (http://www.anandtech.com/show/7190/nvidia-shield-review-tegra-4-crossroads-pc-mobile-gaming/5), and I have seen no evidence of it running hot (feel free to post link to back that claim, if you have one).
Secondly, the recent benchmark scandel was about a Samsung chip (Exynos 5 Octa), not a Qualcomm one, so that entire argument is irrelevent.

They should've made it work with ATI video cards. (0)

dstyle5 (702493) | about 9 months ago | (#44435771)

Nvidia has always been pushing their propriety tech, so its not surprising they don't support ATI video cards for streaming, but they are cutting out a large number of users by supporting on their cards. The number of people who are going to buy an Nvidia card so they can stream to Shield is probably going to be very low compared to the number of current ATI customers who may have given it a try, myself included.

Re:They should've made it work with ATI video card (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#44436089)

Nvidia has always been pushing their propriety tech, so its not surprising they don't support ATI video cards for streaming, but they are cutting out a large number of users by supporting on their cards. The number of people who are going to buy an Nvidia card so they can stream to Shield is probably going to be very low compared to the number of current ATI customers who may have given it a try, myself included.

I suspect that they didn't exactly make heroic efforts for ATI/AMD customers; but my understanding is that their GPU requirement(Nvidia only, GTX 650 or higher) corresponds to the introduction of "NVENC", an feature that provides on-chip hardware encoding to h.264, with access to the framebuffer. If you want low-latency streaming, you more or less need something similar to that capability (grabbing the finished frame back over PCIe and encoding it on the CPU definitely isn't going to help your latency)...

This is not to say that ATI/AMD doesn't have similar features that could be pulled together to make it work (I haven't checked); but they are taking advantage of a fairly specific feature of some of their chipsets, not just running a generic driver that checks PCI IDs against a whitelist.

Now, what I don't understand is what, exactly, I gain from being able to stream games across my LAN. If I'm that close to my computer, why would I be playing on a 5 inch screen, not a 27 inch one?

Re:They should've made it work with ATI video card (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 9 months ago | (#44436121)

Nvidia has always been pushing their propriety tech, so its not surprising they don't support ATI video cards for streaming, but they are cutting out a large number of users by supporting on their cards. The number of people who are going to buy an Nvidia card so they can stream to Shield is probably going to be very low compared to the number of current ATI customers who may have given it a try, myself included.

Who in total are still miniscule compared to the number running Intel graphics (Intel is the #1 graphics card manufacturer by volume).

Which then begs the question - if you have an NVidia card, you're already self-selecting people who probably also have a nice PC (it probably requires a recent video card too), and these people are probably loving their rig to play in front of multiple monitors and specialized keyboards and mice and who probably wouldn't want to play on the dinky thing that is SHIELD.

It makes what Sony is doing with PS4 at least easier to stomach - there are plenty of reasons why you might not be able to play on the PS4 (usually, someone wants to watch TV...), so picking the game up on Vita makes perfect sense.

Not that fast at all (1)

Vincent77 (660967) | about 9 months ago | (#44436083)

According to Anandtech [anandtech.com] only 74.8 GFLOPS - comparable to an iPad 4. Other sources say 96 GFLOPS, but only when in power-hungry overclock mode: image [radikal.ru]. The real winner for Q4 2013 will be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 - 129 GFLOPS. That leaves Tegra 4 completely in the dust.

The main reason the Tegra 4 is in no tablet/phone, is because Tegra 3 real performance and power usage was worse than advertised/marketed, and therefore the tablet/phone makers did not trust Tegra 4 would be a good bet. Another (smaller) reason was that NVIDIA is quite pushing their own agenda and brand, whereas other vendors do not meddle with their customer's business so much. Unluckily they did not learn from their experience and suggest in their latest video (the face-demo) that Tegra 5 uses 2 to 3 Watts when under full load - truth is that the load was not given. NVIDIA knows a little too much about marketing...

Re:Not that fast at all (2)

edxwelch (600979) | about 9 months ago | (#44436235)

According to Anandtech benchmarks it easily beats the iPad 4: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7190/nvidia-shield-review-tegra-4-crossroads-pc-mobile-gaming/4 [anandtech.com]
It also beats Snapdragon 800 in CPU (but not GPU). In fairness, it has to be said that Tegra 4 needs to be actively colled, while Snapdragon 800 does not.

Re:Not that fast at all (1)

Vincent77 (660967) | about 9 months ago | (#44436581)

Thanks for the link. Release date of iPad 4 is December 2012 (!) and has a much higher resolution to handle. Snapdragon 800 was designed for use in a (high-end) phone. The active cooling suggests Tegra 4 is not fit for mobile devices - I still think the reason for this device is to dump their unsold processor tech.

I have to say I would welcome mini-computers in the range 15 - 30W. For notebooks this Tegra 4 would be interesting.

Re:Not that fast at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44440883)

The active cooling (and big battery) is because expected usage model is sustained running, unlike a phone or tablet that is expected to drop to sleep mode between screen touches.

Most of the high end mobile chips can far exceed the thermal capability of the device they are used in. They just throttle back before overheating, or when the battery can't deliver the current. (The good ones put a whole bunch of software and firmware effort into throttling, there are plenty of bad ones just let the apps or whole phone crash.)

Re:Not that fast at all (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 months ago | (#44438027)

GFLOPS by themselves are a pretty meaningless way of assessing any processor. If it's bottlenecked by memory bandwidth in common usage, then it's no good. For example, the PowerPC G4 beat any Intel chips at launch in terms of FPU throughput numbers and Apple was happy to shout about this, neglecting to mention that it was only really true if your workload was almost 100% fused multiply adds and your data fitted into L2 cache. In a modern GPU, the performance of the compiler, the threading model and the memory controller can more difference than the raw floating point throughput on the optimal path. Of course, that's not to say that the Tegra 4 GPU doesn't suck at these as well, just be careful when comparing a complex system by a single value.

Ouya... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44436301)

May not be as beefy, but it can also stream apps from your PC with a free app. Of course, it doesn't have the same amount of marketing muscle.

Steam to Shield and Shield to TV (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 9 months ago | (#44436355)

Individually, I know you can display Shield games on your TV, and I know Shield can stream Steam games from your PC.

Can it do both at once? That seems to be an important question.

HDMI cable from PC to HDTV (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44442641)

You could just run a cheap HDMI or DVI-to-HDMI cable from your PC to your HDTV. For older PCs or netbooks that don't have HDMI out, you could do the same with VGA and audio. And if your TV is old too, Sewell Direct sells very affordable VGA to composite converters.

Re:HDMI cable from PC to HDTV (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 9 months ago | (#44443117)

Not everyone has their PC near their TV, or a wireless gaming controller for their PC that will work. That is the appeal of a Steam Box, or Shield in this case.

incredible design! (1)

cripkd (709136) | about 9 months ago | (#44436373)

Is it just me or this thing is the most beautiful thing ever seen ??? Apple will reach this level in ... never!

Why do people still invest in this company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44436613)

Seriously, yesteryear's products a day late and a dollar short.

"top ship" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44436755)

Epic fail.

No way (1)

Kartu (1490911) | about 9 months ago | (#44440283)

Soo, Wii U / PSP / Vita kind of thing for PC, by nVidia...
Even Sony's Vita, with wonderful screen and dozens of decent games struggles at two times lower price, it's astonishing how arrogant or clueless nVidia is.
What is the advantage of this thing? Cheapo crappo games? No thanks.

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44441043)

The guys with $3K of GPUs in their gaming rigs won't blink at the price.
You might not be in that category, but it's a big market

It's useful to distinguish between a 'BMW market' and a 'Ferrari market'. Ferrari sells thousands of luxury cars with a price that seems high to a Kia buyer. BMW moves millions of luxury cars with a price that seems high to a Kia buyer.

The question really is "Will this be a new market category?" It's gambling on both Android being a viable game platform, and gamepad-and-tablet-had-a-transporter-accident form-factor being appealing.

Since Nintendo introduced the Game Boy (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44442665)

It's gambling on both Android being a viable game platform

The inevitable cross-pollination with the OUYA ecosystem could help.

and gamepad-and-tablet-had-a-transporter-accident form-factor being appealing.

Gamepad telefragging a tablet has been popular since Nintendo introduced the Game Boy in 1989.

Looks painful to play (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 9 months ago | (#44441239)

Mainly if that Screen doesn't go back farther. I picked up one of my gamepads to see how it would be if I had a screen at the same place, and i have to bed the gamepad down to see a screen like that. Really uncomfortable to play like that. But i see form pictures the buttons and pads are more flat then normal gamepads.

Re:Looks painful to play (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44451919)

The screen folds back 180 degrees.

Summary is incorrect garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44441273)

1) the new Nexus 7 from Google has a Snapdragon 600 chip, NOT the out-of-date S4 Pro. For 'marketing' reasons Qualcomm and Google have agreed to mislabel the SoC used in the tablet.

2) Nvidia does NOT lack an OpenGL ES3.0 ARM SoC part 'on the horizon'. Was the author a complete cretin? Nvidia, with Tegra 5 (Logan) at the end of this year, or sometime in 2014, brings the same graphics cores to ARM that it uses in its desktop PC. In one leap, Nvidia bypasses EVERY current competitor in the ARM GPU space. Doesn't mean the Tegra 5 will sell better than the Tegra 4, but that isn't the point.

3) If the author was not quite so clueless, he'd know the Tegra 4 has already failed in the marketplace, making its lack of the near (as yet) used OpenGL 3.0 totally irrelevant. Nvidia is trying to rush to release its much cheaper Tegra4i, a somewhat slower part that it is happier to mass produce and discount in order to get some design wins. Given the manufacturing cost of the Tegra4, it is unlikely Nvidia will bother to make many of them at this late stage.

The entire Tegra project has been one long nightmare for Nvidia to data. Qualcomm, using old ATI graphics technology, now dominates the high-end marketplace, eliminating any hope for the Nvidia parts that use their old GPU tech. However, Nvidia now moves to phase 2, a few years late. Just as AMD puts GCN graphics in its x86 SoC parts, giving them desktop compatibility, so is Nvidia with Tegra5. No-one in the marketplace, certainly not Qualcomm with Adreno, or Imagination with PowerVR, comes close to matching the GPU expertise of Nvidia and AMD. As ARM games move beyond their crappy casual toy status, and move to PC like ambitions, Nvidia (and ATI soon) expect their GPU tech to dominate the high and mid-end.

There is a problem, however. Qualcomm is becoming the new Intel, and Apple is already kinda the new AMD (in the ARM SoC space). Will either company choose to license GPU tech from Nvidia or AMD in the near future? Apple is probably already working with Nvidia for ARM parts released late 2014 at the earliest. Qualcomm will find it much more difficult to give up its current market leading Adreno GPU project.

The near future is all Qualcomm (outside of Apple products). The mid-term is harder to call- Nvidia is down and out if Tegra5 fails to deliver. Unfortunately, Tegra5 hits when the demand for real graphics power in ARM devices is still too low, meaning that Tegra5 will struggle not to price itself out of contention.

Longer term, and AMD appears. AMD knows it can find no customers currently for much more powerful (and more expensive) ARM devices. However, in a couple of years, as demand for x86 computers circles the drain, the demand for powerful ARM parts (including mains-powered) will start to really surge.

Nvidia should be leaning on Google like crazy to ensure Android 5 includes a desktop/laptop version that challenges the traditional PC, and needs loads more GPU performance. The Chromebook project, while quite successful, would not be a great destiny for the Tegra5.

First the GCN, then the GCN (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#44442691)

Just as AMD puts GCN graphics in its x86 SoC parts

Why does this confuse me every time I read this? GCN used to stand for GameCube, and AMD bought the company that bought the company (ArtX) that had designed the Flipper GPU for GameCube.

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