China: Nvidia Answers Questions About K1 CPU

Nvidia held a conference with select members of China’s tech press to discuss the new Tegra K1 CPU used in the Xiaomi MiPad [Google Translate].

The first question is skeptical about the power draw of the K1:

I remember at CES on general release Tegra K1 yellow when once the Xbox 360 and PS3 comparison, was released five watts of power, but just said is less than 2 watts of power requirements we know that the phone is generally 2-3 tile, flat is less than 5 watts, the data which is due to the difference between the recent debug? Or are there any technological breakthrough?

Nvidia replies:

Tegra K1 beginning of the design is to include mobile phones, tablet computers, laptops, gaming devices and automotive multi-shape design, the power consumption is also based on different forms of specific products have specific segments. And we are talking about 2 watts before that is the main GPU power consumption, while the 5-watt power consumption of the entire system. The performance will be based on Tegra K1 power limiting cases can be adjusted.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Well, that’s not reassuring, actually. There’s been buzz that the K1 won’t be all that Nvidia claimed and that the trick involved here is to actually throttle the chip to meet small device (phone, tablet) battery life requirements. It seems to me that Nvidia has just admitted that. This point is significant.

Nvidia goes to say:

In MiPad the Tegra K1 uses a 4 +1 Cortex A15 version, later on we will have a dual-core processor Denver 64bit version, CPU performance will further improve, we will see later on in the second half specific product. Overall we are very focused on balancing the entire processor CPU and GPU, while the GPU is becoming increasingly important, and also placed the highest CPU performance CPU, which is reflected in Antutu tests.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

This makes me wonder if Nvidia is in fact gaming AnTuTu to get that score. In other words, just as HTC (and others) have done, the K1 runs in a special “benchmark mode” to achieve that score.

And here is where Nvidia just completely blew my mind. They’re asked this:

Prior to NVIDIA Tegra Note has launched the public version of flat products, then the future is not NVIDIA will launch a similar official product? If so, then it has no competition with millet flat relationship?

To make that clearer, the questioner is pointing out that Nvidia did a Tegra Note tablet. Will they do a similar tablet featuring the K1 — and how can they compete like that against their new partner Xiaomi?

Their mind-blowing reply is this one bit out of a longer reply:

Currently we do not have any products based on the new information Tegra K1, so we do not reply to this aspect.

Nvidia says they don’t have a K1 tablet. So what was that Mocha tablet that showed up in a leaked benchmark? The specs don’t completely match the Xiaomi MiPad. And let me point out the wiggle room in their reply: They specifically used the word “product.” “Product” to them probably means something they will sell to users, such as the Shield and the Tegra Note. This doesn’t mean they haven’t done a reference design — and that could be the Mocha. Also note the second bit of wiggle room: “Currently.”

A question about games:

Tegra K1 listed, do you think the game industry, what kind of boost?

Reply:

The impact on the industry’s Tegra K1 is quite huge, because now a trend throughout the game industry, is Android game will be dominant. After Tegra K1 now have these technologies, many of these earlier games on the PC, can now be ported to the mobile side, from this perspective, our product launches, will promote a change in the gaming industry.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Nvidia sees the K1 as making Android the dominant mobile gaming platform. We’ll have to see what Apple does with the A8 CPU later this year.

It’s clear that Nvidia believes they’re at the top of the small CPU food chain:

Tegra K1 is indeed an epoch-making product, we can expect to see in many places beyond your imagination. Tegra K1 is definitely not just a tablet and mobile processor, which is a low power consumption, super-super-chip parallel computing capabilities.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

That comes at the end of a longer reply about how the K1 is suitable for devices used in medicine and security.

The buzz about the Tegra K1 is still skeptical. Tech people insist it can’t match Nvidia’s hype when used in a real product — that it will generate too much heat, that its full performance can’t be supported by current battery technology, and any claimed benchmark scores were achieved through sleight-of-hand that won’t reflect what everyday users will experience.

The only way all of us out here in the real world will be able to tell what the truth is will be when we can get our own hands on a Xiaomi MiPad or other Tegra K1 device.

2 Comments

Filed under Android, Other Hardware

2 responses to “China: Nvidia Answers Questions About K1 CPU

  1. John T

    Mike, what do you think of the Nvidia Shield (w/ Tegra K1)?

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