Holy moley—one teraflop of mobile processing power and the same microarchitecture as NVIDIA’s top-end GPUs? What madness is this? Is your coffee spiked? Is your bacon teetering on the edge of its shelf life? Nope! Believe it or not, the 256-core, 64-bit ARM CPU Tegra X1 really does almost double the power and energy efficiency of its older K1 sibling, and it does it in style. The X1 is now poised to take on some truly impressive tasks, such as allowing self-driving vehicles and flying drones to see by utilizing complex vision apps. (Not to mention ushering in a new era of mobile gaming.)
NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 delivers twice the performance of Tegra K1. Announced Sunday night during a CES press conference, the Tegra X1 builds off the Tegra K1’s already impressive resume. In conjunction with full support for Tessellation, Dynamic Lighting, Bindless Textures, and more, the X1 commands some pretty amazing new features. The chip lowers power needs by harnessing Third Generation Delta Color Compression and unlocks some drool-worthy MFAA (multi-frame anti-aliasing) by using Programmable Sampling.
“Tegra X1 will significantly improve mobile gaming realism,” said an NVIDIA whitepaper. “In particular, Tegra X1 will help deliver breakthroughs in automotive systems for advanced driver assistance (ADAS), computer vision, deep learning, instrument clusters, and infotainment.” The automotive angle here refers to NVIDIA DRIVE CX, a cockpit system that handles all the video demands for the rising number of in-vehicle screens, and NVIDIA DRIVE PX, a pretty cool piece of autopilot tech that allows cars to literally park themselves.
Of course, in the gaming realm, a monster chip like this wouldn’t do much good without supporting all the modern graphics engines. Fortunately, it’s got all those bases covered. The X1 is compatible with Unreal Engine 4, DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, and many others. It also supports the Android Extension Pack, which makes developing mobile games notably less stressful. Plus, for all you lucky 4K folks, the X1 can churn out 4K UHD video at 60fps in YouTube, Netflix, and Chromecast.
To show off just how beefy the Tegra X1 really is, NVIDIA used the chip to run a mobile demo of Unreal Engine 4’s Elemental. “We built Elemental to push high-end PC and console features, and also to show early capabilities of Unreal Engine 4,” said Epic Games Founder/CEO Tim Sweeney. “As seen with today’s demonstration of Elemental on Tegra X1, NVIDIA continues to extend what developers can create with striking results. With its Maxwell architecture, Tegra X1 is equipped to run rich, beautiful experiences not previously seen on mobile devices.”