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Nvidia teases Kepler-based Tegra 5 'Logan' chips

Nvidia teases Kepler-based Tegra 5 'Logan' chips

Nvidia's upcoming Kepler-based 'Logan' system-on-chip will, the company has claimed, easily best a 2006 GeForce 8800 GTX while drawing 2W instead of 185W.

Nvidia's first SIGGRAPH announcement, the launch of the Quadro K6000 board, may have been somewhat niche, but last night's presentation was anything but: a sneak-preview of its next-generation Tegra family, codenamed 'Logan.'

Continuing the theme of using superheroes' public personae as codenames - 'Logan' representing X-Men's Wolverine, of course - Logan is due to take over from the recently-launched Tegra 4 in 2014 when it will launch as the Tegra 5. While it will include the usual tweaks to the ARM-based general-purpose processing cores, Nvidia's teaser event at SIGGRAPH in Anaheim last night concentrated, naturally, on the graphics side of things with the news that Logan will represent a standardisation on the Kepler GPU architecture across Nvidia's entire product offering.

'Our mission with Project Logan was to scale [Kepler] technology down to the mobile power envelope,' explained Nvidia's Jonah Alben of the SIGGRAPH announcement, 'creating new configurations that we could both deploy in the Logan mobile SoC [System on Chip] and license to others. We took Kepler’s efficient processing cores and added a new low-power inter-unit interconnect and extensive new optimizations, both specifically for mobile. With this design, mobile Kepler uses less than one-third the power of GPUs in leading tablets, such as the iPad 4, while performing the same rendering. And it gives us enormous performance and clocking headroom to scale up.'

That headroom, Nvidia claims, will see the mobile version of the Kepler architecture in Logan rocket past anything else on the market. A slide used at the show highlights this in particularly stark fashion: a slow ramping in graphics performance becomes a cliff as Logan rises above the iPad 4, the PlayStation 3, and even Nvidia's desktop GeForce 8800 GTX GPU - a chip which, when it launched in 2006, was the fastest around and had a thermal design profile (TDP) of 185W.

Okay, so it's approaching seven years old now - but for a mobile chip, in a hand-held device that runs on an internal battery, to beat the speed of even an outdated 185W desktop graphics card is no mean feat.

'We achieved this efficiency without compromising graphics capability,' claimed Alben. '[Mobile] Kepler supports the full spectrum of OpenGL – including the just-announced OpenGL 4.4 full-featured graphics specification and the OpenGL ES 3.0 embedded standard. It also supports DirectX 11, Microsoft’s latest graphics API. These advanced APIs will allow developers to use more efficient, visually compelling rendering approaches than were previously possible in mobile.'

Indeed, Alben name-checked features more normally associated with desktop GPUs, including tessellation, compute-based deferred rendering, new anti-aliasing and post-processing algorithms, and even GPU-accelerated physics and other simulation engines with Logan promising full support for the CUDA 5.0 GPGPU offload language - the same feature set as Nvidia's desktop GPUs, in other words, but in a 2W TDP.

To show off the capabilities of the chip, Nvidia treated attendees to its previously-released FaceWorks 'Ira' demonstration runnning in real-time - but whereas the previous demo, at GTC 2013, required half the power of the company's flagship Titan graphics card, this version runs entirely on a Logan development board.

If you're curious as to just how that works, Nvidia's demonstration is reproduced below - and, for now, represents the last little tidbit the company is willing to share regarding Logan until closer to its 2014 début.

22 Comments

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rollo 25th July 2013, 10:20 Quote
With tegra 4 in 0 devices at the moment. ( 1 once nvidia launches its shield if that counts) making a faster one when no one wants your current one seems counter productive.

Even the new nexus has gone away from tegra. Nvidias tegra 4 is me to be very expensive compared to Qualcomm.

Nvidia need to consider there place in the market and try and get a major phone / tablet supplier to want to buy there product.
maverik-sg1 25th July 2013, 10:40 Quote
I think there are lots of reasons why various manufacturers change chip suppliers from time to time, price is of course a big consideration, availability at time of the OEM start of manufacture prior to release of their newest products is another.....the issue Tegra4 had was it was released after the upcoming deign of tabs and phones/Tabs we see now were already in the pipeline prior to T4.

If I recall was there also some issues with their business focus shifting to the LTE version instead of releasing an LTE enabled product 1st (did anyone want a non-LTE chip?)?

So in terms of their market place considerations, I think they are okay - but I agree they could of benefitted from more design wins that the latest ZTE phone.

That as an aside - Tegra5 is exactly what people will be expecting from Nvidia, PS3 power in a mobile device and that is an exciting proposition, especially if they couple this with a competitive amount of CPU grunt within their target <=2w power envelope......genuinely excited to see this.
DbD 25th July 2013, 11:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
With tegra 4 in 0 devices at the moment. ( 1 once nvidia launches its shield if that counts) making a faster one when no one wants your current one seems counter productive.

Even the new nexus has gone away from tegra. Nvidias tegra 4 is me to be very expensive compared to Qualcomm.

Nvidia need to consider there place in the market and try and get a major phone / tablet supplier to want to buy there product.

It's in some toshiba tablets you can buy today. Tegra 4 got delayed, and lost a lot of business because of that - it certainly wasn't ready in time for the new nexus - but it is being used. Don't think the A15 is arm's greatest chip either (too power hungry) so that doesn't help.

Tegra 5 does look good however - full kepler feature set in something that tiny is impressive. Also simplifies nvidia's development - they develop one architecture that can be used efficiently for everything from phones to super computers.
SpAceman 25th July 2013, 11:29 Quote
Does... does that mean it can run Crysis?
Gareth Halfacree 25th July 2013, 11:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpAceman
Does... does that mean it can run Crysis?
Hah! Don't be... Hang on, "Recommended: GeForce 8800 GS." Well, I'll be damned. Looks like we need a new meme, guys...
B1GBUD 25th July 2013, 11:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpAceman
Does... does that mean it can run Crysis?
Hah! Don't be... Hang on, "Recommended: GeForce 8800 GS." Well, I'll be damned. Looks like we need a new meme, guys...

It should run it, just don't expect 60FPS!
Pete J 25th July 2013, 12:39 Quote
I find this rather exciting. An 8800GTX is still a damn powerful bit of hardware that can run games such as Faklout 3 flat out at 2560*1600. Crysis on a PS Vita sized thing would run well at full settings.
PCBuilderSven 25th July 2013, 13:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpAceman
Does... does that mean it can run Crysis?
Hah! Don't be... Hang on, "Recommended: GeForce 8800 GS." Well, I'll be damned. Looks like we need a new meme, guys...

It should run it, just don't expect 60FPS!

Well maybe the graphics side, but not the CPU side. I'm assuming there isn't an ARM build of Crysis and I very much doubt it would be fast enough to run it emulating x86.
Gareth Halfacree 25th July 2013, 14:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCBuilderSven
Well maybe the graphics side, but not the CPU side. I'm assuming there isn't an ARM build of Crysis and I very much doubt it would be fast enough to run it emulating x86.
It was a joke, son, a joke. Although there would be absolutely nothing to stop somebody with the source from compiling Crysis for ARM.
schmidtbag 25th July 2013, 14:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete J
I find this rather exciting. An 8800GTX is still a damn powerful bit of hardware that can run games such as Faklout 3 flat out at 2560*1600. Crysis on a PS Vita sized thing would run well at full settings.

Agreed, the 8800 is likely on-par with mainstream discrete graphics cards today, at least with games that aren't DX11 compatible. My old 7900GTO would actually be pretty capable if it had more than 256MB of VRAM.


With the idea in mind of comparing new mobile hardware to old high-end hardware, what still surprises me is how nobody has mainstreamed the idea of creating mobile versions of older consoles. I've seen pictures of a handheld gamecube (perfect system for handheld since the discs are small and the hardware is dirt cheap), but I've never seen a place where such a thing could be bought. Re-creating the hardware of old consoles with modern factories could make them incredibly power efficient to the point of passive cooling and would still be very cheap.
ssj12 25th July 2013, 18:27 Quote
I want a new phone with a Tegra 4 in it. Im disappointed there isnt one in America or on Verizon. I was hoping for the Droid Bionic back then when it was supposed to be T3, but that changed due to broken LTE connectivity. I ended with my old X2.
r3loaded 25th July 2013, 18:27 Quote
Tegra 4 is a very competent chip, but Nvidia have kinda messed up while Qualcomm's swooped in to eat everyone's lunch. Qualcomm's main advantage has been their integrated baseband in their SoCs that provide LTE connectivity without needing an additional chip.

However, Nvidia still have the right pieces to stage a comeback - Kepler graphics in Logan is one of them, the other is their Icera software-defined basebands. They just need to put them together and market the crap out of them to customers now.
Redbeaver 25th July 2013, 20:43 Quote
all this talk of 8800 series... i'm still rocking 8800GTS 640MB on my rig! It's still fine! Runs BF3 and Skyrim on medium flawlessly at 1680x1050!

But to think that kind of power (or more) in a phone... seems... wow... mind blowing.
rollo 25th July 2013, 20:51 Quote
All depends when in 2014, the big 2 would expect samples by late November at latest. Outside of those 2 who can really afford this level of tech anymore in the smartphone sector.

If Microsoft surface rt 2 gets released I'd expect it to be on tegra 4. The fact the first tablet is made by Toshiba of all company's is a pretty big shock. Along with a price tag to match of $480 for the tegra 4 based one, that is just below an iPad 4 and about double the price of the nexus. Another DOA andriod tablet.

They need a Samsung sold phone or htc lg to take a gamble and see what comes.
GuilleAcoustic 25th July 2013, 21:02 Quote
Damned, just when I tough I was done with choosing the right hardware for my Amiga keyputer project. Could be interesting to know if it will be availabe as Qseven or COM express module.

Well, 'llI bet on Qseven and will go with a Cortex-A15 until nVidia is ready with this :).
miller 25th July 2013, 21:10 Quote
So the FaceWorks 'Ira' demonstration on a Logan development board is "only" running in HD and using 2W, comparing it to an 8800 puts it approx in perspective but that still seems like a hell of a jump in performance versus TDP
Nexxo 25th July 2013, 21:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
With the idea in mind of comparing new mobile hardware to old high-end hardware, what still surprises me is how nobody has mainstreamed the idea of creating mobile versions of older consoles. I've seen pictures of a handheld gamecube (perfect system for handheld since the discs are small and the hardware is dirt cheap), but I've never seen a place where such a thing could be bought. Re-creating the hardware of old consoles with modern factories could make them incredibly power efficient to the point of passive cooling and would still be very cheap.

The Surface RT runs MAME and SNES emulators. :D
Tynecider 25th July 2013, 21:58 Quote
The thing that gets me is look at the size of the 8800gtx and all the hardware to run it, and then look at that!

The future is bright, the future is going to cost a f*cking fortune!
LordPyrinc 26th July 2013, 03:48 Quote
I just wish they could get the power draw and size down on the full size cards. At this rate, my 850W PSU won't be able to run an SLI setup in the next couple of years. I'm running two 660ti cards now (total of 4 x 6 pin connectors). Based on Valley numbers alone (2400 vs 1200 scores @ 1080), my 660ti cards are twice as powerful as the 550ti cards, but do they really need twice the number of 6 pin power connectors? I wish NVidia would spend more time making the desktop GPUs more power efficient.
dyzophoria 26th July 2013, 04:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete J
I find this rather exciting. An 8800GTX is still a damn powerful bit of hardware that can run games such as Faklout 3 flat out at 2560*1600. Crysis on a PS Vita sized thing would run well at full settings.

I was thinking the same, but with the trend of even portable devices reaching 1080p resolutions (other devices even more), I'm not sure if its enough anymore, unless we are downscaling
Xir 26th July 2013, 07:02 Quote
So, they're going to put eight of these together to octo-SLI a 16W desktop part?
:D
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbeaver
... Runs BF3 and Skyrim on medium flawlessly at 1680x1050!

But to think that kind of power (or more) in a phone... seems... wow... mind blowing.
The kind of phones this comes into run at 1920x1080 or so...THAT's mind blowing :D
Gareth Halfacree 26th July 2013, 08:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordPyrinc
I wish NVidia would spend more time making the desktop GPUs more power efficient.
I actually spoke to Nvidia about that a while ago - back when I was doing interviews for the Desktop versus Mobile Hardware feature for Custom PC. The answer is, they are doing - and they're doing so via their Tegra division. There's a lot of cross-pollination between the desktop division - what Nvidia calls High Performance Graphics - and Tegra - Mobile. The Tegra guys, obviously, needed to figure out some massive efficiency improvements in order to get Nvidia tech in tablets and smartphones - and when they did, they fed it back to the desktop guys in order to improve the efficiency of the desktop stuff too.

Remember the drop in TDP that Kepler brought to the desktop? A lot of that, Nvidia claims, is thanks to the Tegra engineers. 'Course, improvements made in performance on the desktop side feed back into Tegra too - it's a two-way street.

Long story short: the better Tegra gets, the better GeForce gets - and vice-versa. At least, that's the way Nvidia tells the story.
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