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Event Coverage
Computex 2011 Show Coverage - Part 4
By Vijay Anand - 2 Jun 2011,6:18pm

NVIDIA's Tegra 3 Demoed!

NVIDIA's Tegra 3 Demoed!

Over at the green team, we met up with several key people at NVIDIA, including CEO Jen-Hsun Huang to get an update on the state of things. We'll share some of those details in appropriate upcoming articles, but for now, we'll show you Tegra 3 in action!

This is an upcoming game that would be available on Tegra Zone in the future and was demoed on Tegra 3 hardware. For this game, quad-core processing is necessary to ensure the game's full capabilities are unleashed and shown in its full glory. Of course game developers need only set a game quality control to ensure it is playable on other devices too - but with less fidelity.

Some windmill tech demo to further showcase the GPU capabilities - also based on the OpenGL ES 2.0 API.

So far, here's what we know of Tegra 3 and its status:-

  • Originally codenamed as Project Kal-El
  • The world's first quad-core SOC with a quad-core CPU engine.
  • 12 GPU CUDA cores based NVIDIA GPU intrgrated
  • Runs OpenGL ES 2.0 content fluently
  • Has an overall processing throughput 5 times that of the Tegra 2.
  • Thermal design power (TDP) is roughly equivalent to that of Tegra 2.
  • Supports screen resolutions as high as 2560 x 1600 pixels.
  • Able to process and playback very high definition videos; up to 4 x Full HD (1440p)
  • Retail products with Tegra 3 can be expected after Q3 this year.
  • Also targeted at tablets and super phones.

As the Tegra 3 development kit based demos show, Tegra 3 is pretty much shaping up for adoption by vendors. Just like Tegra 2 was adopted for super phones (well, more powerful smartphones) and tablets, Tegra 3 will also be applicable to both product groups. When we probed the product manager further, he shared with us that the TDP of Tegra 3 is roughly similar to Tegra 2. With Kal-El's impressive specs, that mean up to five times more processing throughput than Tegra 2 in the same form factor.

Since Tegra 2 is still plenty powerful now, the upcoming Tegra 3 won't displace the former. Instead, new price points and products will appear to feature both SOC platforms. There's also the possibility that Tegra 3 might be available in multiple SKUs as required by the form factors and requirements of products being designed by the vendors, so those details are still up in the air for now.

We also talked at length with NVIDIA' CEO on the value proposition by NVIDIA in both the GPU and Tegra segments and it was reassuring to know that NVIDIA knows its strengths and leverage on them.

But with other vendors also intensely competing in the same mobile market space, how will NVIDIA's solution stand out? What about the lackluster Tegra 2 battery life experience as tested by our reviewers to-date? How then will Tegra 3 deliver and make it a product that vendors will want to offer?

Speaking with NVIDIA's CEO, he reassured with several valid points. On the note of battery life, over-the-air updates are being pushed out regularly and those ensure the various devices are constantly being 'upgraded' on various levels from compatibility, to fixes and even enhancements. Tegra 2 is after all still a rather fresh platform and in time to come, it should deliver its proposition better.

On the performance front, NVIDIA constantly improves their drivers and have years of knowledge with a big software team to ensure gaming experience stays ahead of the competition. For example, Tegra Zone focuses on all the premium gaming and multimedia content that works best on the GeForce engine within the Tegra SOC to offer either smoother performance, better image quality and other such matters.

On the note of features, Tegra 3 will bring with it yet another plus point - enjoying true 3D content without developers having to develop content for 3D viewing. Sounds familiar? In fact it is; this is what 3D Vision brings to the table in the PC side of things. The Tegra 3 ecosystem, with the right screen, will offer 3D Vision on smartphones without glasses and on any OpenGL ES 2.0 API based software and games. This is still a work in progress but Jen-Hsun shared with us a prototype of if in action and we will say this - it works really swell.

Here's a prototype Tegra 3 (Kal-El) development kit showing off 3D Vision in action at this early stage.

Note the Unreal engine based demo in action and the stereoscopic display. It was mentioned that this unit would run content in full HD in 2D but work on a 720p resolution in 3D.

Overall experience, engagement and features that matter to consumers would naturally make people gravitate towards a more recognizable overall solution, which is NVIDIA's main proposition. This doesn't apply only to consumers, but also for the developers and hardware vendors working with NVIDIA. Despite all this, the competition cannot be underestimated and it would be interesting to see how the next Tegra will fare when complete solutions start hitting retail.

Did we mention the upcoming Tegra hardware is also compatible with gaming peripherals like this third-party wireless controller enabling another mode of game play? The picture says it all, though this form of play won't be the mainstream on devices of this size. But it's nice to have the option though.

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