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Nvidia Tegra K1 Will Be the First 64-bit Chipset on the Market

January 6, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

For quite some time now Nvidia has been an innovator in the world of mobile chipsets.  They were the first company to release a commercial dual-core chipset with the Tegra 2, the Tegra 3 was the first quad-core chipset available, and now the 5th generation Tegra product, the Tegra K1, will be the first 64-bit chip available for Android-powered devices.  While Qualcomm was the first mobile vendor to announce a 64-bit chip all the way back in October 2012, their release schedule puts them on track for a release sometime near the end of this year, whereas the Tegra K1 will be available in the second half of 2014.  Google will likely be building 64-bit support into Android soon to take advantage of these new chipsets, which was something they talked about publicly around the beginning of 2013, and later on at a developer’s conference in September 2013.

Nvidia’s Tegra K1 received a name change from its original Tegra 5 because of the significant architecture changes in the chip.  Code named Denver, this chipset is actually a subset of the full desktop graphics processor, Kepler, and helps bridge the gap between mobile and PC gaming for the first time.  Featuring 192 cores for its graphics component, the Tegra K1 runs at up to 2.5GHz in turbo mode, which like a desktop PC component, will speed up when you need it most.  You’ll be needing this if you’re going to be playing one of the upcoming Unreal Engine 4-based mobile games!  Nvidia is also pushing the limit on instruction sets for the Tegra K1, making it a whopping 7-wide.  This in comparison to the Nvidia Tegra 4 or Samsung Exynos 5 chipsets, which are only 3-wide.

When Nvidia launches the Tegra K1 this year it’ll launch two variants: one 32-bit quad-core device powered by ARM Cortex A15 cores in the first-half of 2014, and the 64-bit dual-core Denver chipset in the second half.  Both chips will come with the same 192-core Kepler on-board graphics processor, and both will likely push what was thought possible in the mobile gaming world, and likely in all other applications as well.  Qualcomm definitely has some competition this year!