Chipmaker Nvidia has disclosed details of a next-generation GPU that will implement its Kepler graphics technology in an upcoming mobile processor, offering high-end PC graphics capabilities compatible with its Cuda GPU compute platform on smartphones and tablets.
Demonstrated at the SIGGRAPH conference, the GPU will be a component in Nvidia's Project Logan, a forthcoming Tegra mobile processor slated for early 2014. Unlike most current mobile GPUs, it will support the full set of features found in the latest PC GPUs, according to Nvidia.
Nvidia's senior vice president of GPU engineering Jonah Alben said that Project Logan will be the first mobile chip to support the Kepler architecture, which the firm rolled out over the past year in its desktop, workstation and supercomputer product lines.
"Our mission with Project Logan was to scale this technology down to the mobile power envelope – creating new configurations that we could both deploy in the Logan mobile SOC and license to others," he wrote on Nvidia's blog.
Changes include a new low-power inter-unit interconnect and extensive optimisations for power efficiency. With these, Nvidia claims that the mobile Kepler design uses less than a third of the power of GPUs found in devices such as the iPad 4 while performing the same rendering. However, it also offers "enormous performance and clocking headroom to scale up," according to Alben.
The mobile Kepler GPU supports the most up to date graphics application programming interfaces (APIs), including DirectX 11, OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenGL 4.4, which has only just been released.
As well as support for advanced rendering and simulation techniques such as tessellation, deferred rendering and anti-aliasing, Project Logan's Kepler support will also open up new mobile applications using general-purpose GPU computing, such as computer vision, augmented reality and speech recognition, according to Alben.
"Simply put, Logan will advance the capability of mobile graphics by over seven years, delivering a fully state-of-the-art feature set combined with awesome performance and power efficiency," he said.
Nvidia declined to give further details of Project Logan, but the chip is expected to come to market as the Tegra 5 with a quad-core implementation of the ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore architecture.
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