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Nvidia debuts its next generation mobile processor, the Tegra K1

Mark Hachman | Jan. 7, 2014
Many expected Nvidia to launch a next-generation Tegra 5 platform at the Consumer Electronics Show. Instead, Nvidia arguably went quite a bit farther.

To take a scene from a "cartoon" to "reality" takes subtle effects that fool the eye. Those include physically based rendering and global, nondirectional lighting. Of one example, Huang said, "that couch doesn't look soft, it looks like I could sit on it! I bet I could find quarters underneath it."

Nvidia also showed off Frozenbyte's Trine 2, a last-generation PC game now running on the mobile Tegra K1.

Finally, Huang showed off the power of GeForce Grid to provide a real-time ray-tracing engine. Ray tracing, which models the flight light rays as they move through the air, creates very realistic lighting and reflections, but requires intense computing power. By tapping the Grid, Huang's engineers created photorealistic car models that could power virtual showrooms.

Nvidia chips are built into 4.5 million cards on the road, including the Audi A series and Tesla cars, covering 20 brands in total. Nvidia announced a third variant on the Tegra K1, the Tegra K1 VCM, which it says will put supercomputer-like performance inside the car. The chip will be used for Advanced Driver Assistance systems (ADAS), such as collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control. It will be programmable, and able to be upgraded on the fly, Huang said.

Finally, Nvidia showed off "Project Mercury," an odd project that would replace the gauges in a car with an Nvidia-rendered skeuomorphic virtual gauge running on a display.


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