Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Android Graphics Games

NVIDIA Unveils GRID Servers, Tegra 4 SoC and Project SHIELD Mobile Gaming Device 109

MojoKid writes "NVIDIA made some bold moves at their CES 2013 press conference and announced a couple of potentially game changing products. GeForce GRID is a cloud gaming solution. It allows PC game content to be run and rendered in the cloud and then streamed to any device that can run the GRID receiver utility, like a Smart TV, tablet, or a smartphone. GeForce GRID server architecture combines an NVIDIA-designed server packed with GPUs with NVIDIA-developed software and virtualization layer. A rack of 20 GRID servers was shown, powered by 240 GPUs, capable of 200 TFLOPS and roughly equivalent to the performance of 720 Xbox 360 consoles. The biggest news to come out of NVIDIA's press conference, however, had to do with Tegra 4. Not only was the next-gen SoC officially unveiled, but a new portable gaming device based on Tegra 4, dubbed Project SHIELD, was also demoed. NVIDIA's Tegra 4 builds upon the success of the Tegra 3 by incorporating updated ARM15-based CPU cores with 72 custom GeForce GPU cores, which offer up to 6x the performance of Tegra 3. The A15 cores used in Tegra 4 are up to 2.6x faster than the A9-class cores used in Tegra 3. As a companion to the Tegra 4, NVIDIA also took the wraps off of their new Icera i500 programmable 4G LTE modem processor. Icera i500 features 8 custom, programmable processor cores and is approximately 40% smaller than many fixed function modems. The biggest surprise to come out of NVIDIA's press conference was Project SHIELD, a Tegra 4-powered mobile gaming device running Android that's sure to put Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo on high alert. Project SHIELD offers a pure Android experience without any skinning or other customizations, save for the SHIELD app environment, that can play any Android game. Project SHIELD has the ability to stream PC games from a GeForce GTX-equipped PC as well. The device is shaped much like an Xbox 360 game controller, but features a 5", flip-out capacitive touch display with a 720P resolution. The device can also stream to an HD TV via HDMI or a WiDi-like wireless dongle. In fact, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed Project SHIELD playing a 4K video on an LG 4K TV."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NVIDIA Unveils GRID Servers, Tegra 4 SoC and Project SHIELD Mobile Gaming Device

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07, 2013 @01:34PM (#42506725)

    Nvidia makes the mistake of thinking its audience might be informed- big mistake.

    At this conference, they showed a variety of services, which should be understood individually.

    1) The proprietary GRID server rack system. The difference with Nvidia's solution is that the rack includes a butt-load of low-to-mid end Nvidia graphics chips. These are a solution looking for a problem. Nvidia foolishly suggested cloud gaming (rendering on the server- images set via the internet to the clients)- a model that has already crashed and burnt 1.5 times (Onlive went bust, Gaikai gained little traction and was sold). Worse, Nvidia's weak GPU solution is not good for processing the AAA games that people love on their PCs.

    2) The launch of the Tegra 4- a high end ARM SoC, with a very high end GPU (graphics).

    3) The launch of a reference design for a mobile Android gaming device based on the Tegra 4

    4) The launch of a 'streaming' technology that allows PC games to be rendered on the desktop, and then wirelessly transmitted to a hand-held Android device, allowing the tablet to 'run' even the most powerful PC games. Of course, Nvidia was saying that their service would be proprietary, requiring specific Nvida graphics cards in the PC, and a Tegra 4 mobile device.

    The new Nintendo Wii U does the same thing, using AMD/ATI technology. Third party apps already exist allowing you to hack current PC games and send their output to generic Android devices.

    As one might imagine, the problem is simply one of real time video encoding (for the game output), and then playing back the video-stream on the Android device. Meanwhile, input is gathered on the Android device, and transmitted back to the PC to 'control' the game. It is obvious that such software methods will work at their best when built into the drivers on the PC, and this is what Nvidia is offering.

    5) The Tegra 4 is revealed to be extremely power-hungry when all its processing units are being thrashed. No surprise here. The new paradigm for high-end ARM chips is parts that can go from extremely low power usage all the way up to power profiles usually associated with notebooks- and I mean in the same chip. We are actually close to mains-powered desktop ARM parts (which will easily rival Intel on a performance per chip cost basis). The market is demanding that the high-end mobile parts can achieve ever higher performance figures, regardless of the impact on battery life.

    6) Nvidia showed various 'soft' smart-TV like functions by using the Tegra 4 as input for a 4K TV. Here we see the growing logic of using an external Android device as the heart of 'smart' TVs, rather than relying on the dreadful proprietary hardware/software solution the TV manufactures build into the TV itself.

    So, in conclusion, Nvidia was really just releasing its latest ARM SoC, the Tegra 4. This part will go up against a lot of competition, and is a risky bet. Nvidia really needs the market to value Tegra's unique functions, and this really only means Nvidia's new GPU cores. Unfortunately for Nvidia, the power of their graphics can only be unleashed in mobile devices with very substantial battery capacity, and proper cooling- nothing like your current cheap tablet ecosystem. If Tegra 4 is placed into an ordinary tablet design or phone, the chip will have to be choked to a fraction of its potential, else the battery will last less than 1 hour, and the device will get very hot indeed.

    The Tegra 4 may represent Nvidia giving up on the old Android mobile market, and focusing instead on applications that can provide more power, and dissipate more heat, like set-top boxes, and chunky hand-held gaming devices.

  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @02:36PM (#42507543) Journal

    NVIDIA say that Tegra 4 is 45% more efficient power-wise than Tegra 3. Some of this will be down to its 28nm process rather than the 40nm process Tegra 3 utilised. They also say it is 2.6x faster.

    In addition the AnandTech articles are all set up by Intel, so you need to take the results with a large pinch of salt.

    It does raise some questions about Samsung's 32nm process, although a large amount of the power consumption of the Exynos 5250 could be the GPU rather than the CPU - the Exynos uses a very high performance (for a SoC) GPU.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison