Jul 24 AT 8:00 AM Sean Riley 11 Comments

NVIDIA demos mobile Kepler GPU; available in Tegra 5 devices first half of 2014


The first Tegra 4 devices have just started shipping this month, but NVIDIA is ready to tantalize their fans with what next year will bring with Tegra 5 and the mobile Kepler GPU inside. This isn’t the first time we are hearing about mobile Kepler, this Battlefield 3 demo back in April showed what Tegra 5 and mobile Kepler were capable of, but they are now running from a reference design tablet.

Mobile Kepler is notable for utilizing the same architecture as NVIDIA’s full-blown desktop/laptop GPU, Kepler. It offers support for OpenGL 4.4, Open GL ES 3.0 and DirectX 11. This provides some new tools for mobile developers that will enable them to deliver visuals that are far closer to that of a current PC than previously possible. If you watched the NVIDIA keynote at CES 2013 you might remember the Ira demo which is a rendering of a human head with shifting facial expressions. That demo was done with a full GeForce Titan GTX GPU, but the sample below as you will see is running on mobile Kepler.

Their second demo is rendering a small island and illustrates the benefits that tessellation brings graphically, delivering up to 10x the detail than would otherwise be possible.

Again we are just starting to see Tegra 4 devices shipping and of course NVIDIA’s own Tegra 4 hardware, SHIELD, will be shipping in just 7 days, but glimpses at the next generation are always exciting and I have to say mobile Kepler really does sound like a leap rather than a step forward. It’s been noted that NVIDIA doesn’t seem to have quite the same toehold in Android that they did last year, but remember that they announced last month that they will be licensing Kepler to mobile manufacturers which could have huge ramifications for them in 2014.

One other interesting, if not surprising, note from NVIDIA was that Tegra 5 could power the next SHIELD which would indicate that device will be refreshed approximately once a year along with the newest chipset just as Ouya has stated they are planning to do with their console. Gamers are accustomed to a longer timeline than that for upgraded console hardware so I’m unsure how that will sit with them.

What do you think of NVIDIA’s prospects for 2014?

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 8 years and covering mobile for the last 9. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

    They can’t do any worse than 2013. Hope this helps them get some exciting product wins next year. I want a Kepler GPU in my pocket.

    • Derek

      You’ll need a battery pack in a backpack to carry around with you!

      • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

        According to NVIDIA mobile Kepler uses 3x less power than the GPU in the iPad 4 so I wouldn’t count on it being a battery hog.

  • redraider133

    Hopefully they can get their chips into more devices unlike with the tegra 4

    • Jorge Eslava

      ^ This!

  • donger

    This needs to go into the Shield.

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      No question this will be in the second generation of SHIELD if it proves to be a viable product for them.

  • alexanderharri3

    nVidia continues to do a great job wowing everyone with the capabilities of their chips to launch….but the actual launch window is so far from announcement that Qualcomm takes the thunder.

  • renz

    Heard that nvidia already send Logan to OEM that have interest with the chip. If everthing goes wellwe might see device based on this processor my mid 2014 (april-may frametime). I see nvidia repeating what they did with tegra 3 here. Instead of waiting for TSMC 20nm they were using matured 28nm process for Logan. Not sure when tsmc 20nm will be ready but last i heard i won’t be ready until mid next year.

    So the question is will qualcomm wait for the next die shrink to their next processor or keep using current 28nm node

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      You’ve heard right, NVIDIA confirmed in our briefing that Logan has already made it’s way to OEMs.

  • DaveWindsor

    How does this compare to the newest high end PowerVR graphics?
    As Nvidia will be licensing this design, have they just dealt a death blow to Imagination technologies’ PowerVR/ARM’s Mali/Qualcom’s Adreno lines? It looks pretty good to me but does it blow the latest and greatest from these other companies out the water or is it all marketing hype? Can anyone with the knowledge fill me in?