NVIDIA's Kepler Mobile chip shows high end PC graphics in demo

While the graphics chips inside high-end smartphones and tablets have improved greatly in the past few years, they still are several levels below what PC and current-generation game consoles are capable of. This week, NVIDIA showed off a demo of its upcoming Kepler Mobile chip as part of its annual Investors Day event that showed it can run games that have DirectX 11 visuals.

VentureBeat attended the event and recorded video of the demo presentation (yes, it's a little shaky). It starts by showing graphics running on Apple's iPad, which NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huan says is capable of "vintage 1999" graphics. It then moves to a demo of Kepler Mobile running the PC version of EA's first person shooter Battlefield 3, with some advanced lighting and shadow effects and far more detailed animations and art textures.

Kepler Mobile is based on NVIDIA's Kepler PC graphics design, but its much smaller and uses far less power than its PC counterpart. During the presentation, Huang said NVIDIA has actually delayed several other projects in order to get Kepler Mobile chips out as soon as possible. He added, "We want to get multiple years ahead of the competition. It was worth the sacrifice."

Having said that, there's no word on when Kepler Mobile will actually become available. Hopefully, we won't have to wait much longer to play Battlefield 3 on, for example, a new version of Microsoft's Surface RT tablet. NVIDIA'a Tegra 3 chip is inside the current Surface RT device.

Source: VentureBeat

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Mobile games are, for the most part, little quickie time wasters. Especially ones made for phones and tablets. Sometimes I wish there were more quality mobile games. But then I think - if a quality game is made, I want to play it on a big screen with a keyboard and mouse or controller.

I do not expect this mobile limitation on real games to exist much longer. Besides, if you have a really great game and you just feel like you need to play it now, yet you have to travel, you want it to function in both environments. I know I do.

Being able to install something like Mass Effect 3 on a tablet (which you can do now, even if you can't play it with touch) is conceivable. I wish I could do it with some of the story driven titles that exist today, but at least I can do it with Civilization 5. While traveling through airports recently ME3 worked wonderfully well on my wife's Surface Pro + my Xbox wired controller.

The future of true lightweight mobile gaming is here, it's just the actual games available that are intended for it are highly immature at this moment.

This is kind of the future I'm hoping for. I personally want a great tablet, with a detachable keyboard, and a *real* docking station that is equal to a mid or full tower and can hold 5+ 3.5" drives and 2+ GPU's in an SLI arrangement.

Really it comes down to the cooling, and connecting to external PCIE slots. Can anyone give us a tablet that scales between low power 8h+ mobile computing, yet when docked scales up to 100% match the best desktop gaming computers of its day? If anyone did this well, and executed both the tablet, keyboard dock, and desktop dock properly with replaceable video cards/HDD's, I'd buy multiple units of the solution immediately.

You mean console-level-8-year-old-graphics.

Kepler is roughly as powerful as the Xbox 360/PS3. Thats hardly anywhere near high-end PC graphics. That would be literally impossible anyway as you can't magically have that kind of power in a mobile device, when high-end GPU's consume 250 watt+ and a tablet/phone SoC typically consumes 3 watt or under.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
That would be literally impossible anyway as you can't magically have that kind of power in a mobile device, when high-end GPU's consume 250 watt+ and a tablet/phone SoC typically consumes 3 watt or under.

Yes you can

Except the fact that Kepler IS NVIDIA's high end PC graphics chip. Kepler is the Geforce GT(X) 600 series.

Unless you meant that as Kepler Mobile...in which case...probably.

SharpGreen said,
Except the fact that Kepler IS NVIDIA's high end PC graphics chip. Kepler is the Geforce GT(X) 600 series.

Unless you meant that as Kepler Mobile...in which case...probably.

I'm meant Kepler mobile, which this article is about. And no not "probably", you cant. It's literally impossible atleast with current manufacturing technology.

Kepler mobile will likely be built on something like a 22nm process, which is nowhere near small enough for high-end PC graphics in a 2 - 3 watt envelope. We will have to wait about 7+ years for tablet/phone SoC's to do what a high-end PC GPU can do right now. By which time PC GPU's will be much more powerful anyway. It's impossible for a mobile SoC to ever catch up because of basic things like heat, power consumption and size.

PmRd said,

Yes you can

You cannot be this stupid.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

You cannot be this stupid.

So you're telling us that xbox 360 quality graphics/low power consumption will never be possible in the future? Science doesn't agree with you. If i read your posts correctly you're saying we will be doing magic in 7+ years

Edited by PmRd, Apr 12 2013, 8:06pm :

His post says that you can't have high end PC graphics in a super low power usage mobile chip.

In the future, mobile chips will be more powerful, but so will high end PC graphics. Mobile devices will always have smaller power and temperature envelopes than larger devices.

They compare it to the iPad, but they show Battlefield 3, which runs on x86. I am curious if their Kepler demonstration is meant to be paired with an ARM CPU core (Tegra) or simply slotted onto a motherboard alongside x86 chips.

I only say that because while I'm excited to see those mobile graphics, GPU processing isn't the only thing holding back mobile gaming--it's the relatively weak ARM CPU's as well.

PmRd said,
I hope they put this in the next Surface Pro, the Intel HD4000 is good but far from great.

This wont be as powerful as the HD4000. And the CPU part of Kepler wont come remotely close to a Core i5. This is a Soc designed for 2 - 3 watts, it might be faster than other tablet SoC's but it's not a desktop/laptop level CPU + GPU found in Surface Pro which is way faster.

Intels Haswell will have a vastly improved GPU anyway. It will be much faster than Kepler but will use more power, although it will still last a lot longer on battery than what we currently have in the Surface Pro. Kepler would good for something like Surface RT 2 (but Kepler wont be out this year so this wont happen), Haswell would be good for Surface Pro 2.

PmRd said,
I hope they put this in the next Surface Pro, the Intel HD4000 is good but far from great.

A) Surface Pro runs on x86. Surface RT runs on ARM. This Nvidia mobile GPU is part of Logan, AKA Tegra 5.

B) This part won't be out until Spring 2014. Tegra 4 should be coming out (actually being available for purchase is what I mean) sometime in the next few weeks, before summer. It was announced back in January. Nvidia expects to announce T5 by xmas, start shipping before March. So, T5 won't be present in "Surface 2" but it will be in "Surface 3". That's the one I'm waiting for!