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Nvidia: Smartphones Will Beat Console Performance by 2014

By - Source: AnandTech | B 95 comments

Mobile devices are expected to reach Xbox 360 level of graphic performance by 2014, if not sooner.

On Thursday Nvidia released a slide showing the progression of GPU performance in the console, PC and mobile sectors from 2001 to 2014. As Nvidia showed us last year, consoles have created a "Z" on the chart, jumping up one level after releasing a new version with better hardware, but flatlining for numerous years thereafter. They can outperform the PC on a graphic level thanks to an integrated design, but that victory is only brief to say the least as PC hardware performance steadily climbs.

What's shocking is the steep increase in GPU performance in the mobile sector. According to Nvidia's chart, devices began to show a real increase between 2008 and 2009, but the steepest climb thus far has been from 2010 until now. What's interesting is that Nvidia's chart shows the mobile GPU to be cranking out better graphics than the current Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles starting 2013. That says a lot given that smartphones weren't even considered as competition until Apple released the iPhone in 2007.

To some degree, smartphones are in a "golden era," mirroring a similar era experienced in the 1990s when GPUs began to infiltrate the PC sector. Developers like id Software and Epic Games were always pushing the envelope, squeezing out every ounce of performance the current hardware could provide while also pushing hardware manufacturers to implement features into the next generation. We're seeing that again in the mobile sector, and it's downright fascinating to watch this technology mature so quickly.

On a visual level, the progression has been phenomenal. We've moved from monochrome Tetris-like games to console-quality titles like Modern Combat 3 in a span of a few years. The rise in visual performance wasn't quite so dramatic in the PC sector, moving from the likes of Wolfenstein 3D in 1992 (PC, Mac) to Return to Castle Wolfenstein in 2001 (PC, Mac, Xbox, PS2).

Naturally Nvidia's chart will change once Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo release their next-generation products. Reports indicate that the Wii U will likely reside with the current crop on a GPU level while the other two take another stab at pushing past PC-based GPU performance. Yet based on the sharp rise in the mobile sector, it looks highly likely that the console and mobile sectors will eventually merge. Today's top mobile chips are already on the same playing field as the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Vita, if not better.

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Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    kaisellgren , April 22, 2012 11:54 AM
    joytech22Explain how it is any different? You sit down, you play. You do the same thing on a computer, with a console etc..

    Mobile gaming suffers from:

    1) Small screen size
    2) HQ audio
    3) Good input device (try using touch for RTS or FPS)
    4) No keyboard for shortcuts

    Of course you could plug in a keyboard and a mouse and a larger 3rd party monitor and speakers, but then you have essentially a "desktop computer".
  • 28 Hide
    killerclick , April 22, 2012 11:24 AM
    Pretty much all games on handhelds are crap, no matter how good their graphics are. It's just not a type of device that allows immersion.
  • 24 Hide
    blubbey , April 22, 2012 12:38 PM
    I'm pretty sure I've talked with people about predictions like this a year or two ago.
    besplatanThe future of gaming is mobile, social and cloud based. It's sad to see old people clinging to their consoles, clunky controllers, desktops and sad, lonely single player games. Get with the times, people.

    What will the controls be like then? I struggle to see a mobile device being better for FPS's, RTS's, RPG's etc than a PC, primarily because of the controls.

    I fail to see why you have a problem with single player games. If you're all about being social and interacting, go to a bar or a club and meet people.
Other Comments
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  • 28 Hide
    killerclick , April 22, 2012 11:24 AM
    Pretty much all games on handhelds are crap, no matter how good their graphics are. It's just not a type of device that allows immersion.
  • 24 Hide
    drwho1 , April 22, 2012 11:34 AM
    Of course consoles are stagnant....
    they "appear" once every 5-7 years or so, then they don't upgrade until the next version is out...
    in another 5-7 years.
  • 22 Hide
    drwho1 , April 22, 2012 11:36 AM
    forgot to mention, their "upgrade" is already behind PC newest graphic power horse.
    it will always be this way.
  • 3 Hide
    radnor , April 22, 2012 11:42 AM
    I'm still waiting for the cell phone or console that would pack more punch than my 4850 CF. And it is 2 years old.
  • 22 Hide
    killerclick , April 22, 2012 11:42 AM
    joytech22They aren't supposed to compete on the same level, they are generally time-wasters, not games to play 24/7.


    Exactly, and that's why games on handhelds are crap. You could cram a GTX 680 inside a tablet and it wouldn't make a bit of difference.
  • 13 Hide
    A Bad Day , April 22, 2012 11:52 AM
    drwho1Of course consoles are stagnant.... they "appear" once every 5-7 years or so, then they don't upgrade until the next version is out...in another 5-7 years.


    It seems more like their refresh schedule was unofficially extended to about a decade since we're not expecting the Xbox 720s and the PS4s until past 2013 or 2014.
  • 32 Hide
    kaisellgren , April 22, 2012 11:54 AM
    joytech22Explain how it is any different? You sit down, you play. You do the same thing on a computer, with a console etc..

    Mobile gaming suffers from:

    1) Small screen size
    2) HQ audio
    3) Good input device (try using touch for RTS or FPS)
    4) No keyboard for shortcuts

    Of course you could plug in a keyboard and a mouse and a larger 3rd party monitor and speakers, but then you have essentially a "desktop computer".
  • 13 Hide
    exban224 , April 22, 2012 12:22 PM
    besplatanThe future of gaming is mobile, social and cloud based. It's sad to see old people clinging to their consoles, clunky controllers, desktops and sad, lonely single player games. Get with the times, people.

    This is why the game industry is stagnating, people expecting mobile devices to become serious. They should stay as casual gaming devices only, no matter how good the graphics are, same with motion controls and 3d.
  • 23 Hide
    Turk021 , April 22, 2012 12:29 PM
    john_4Yes, simple games for simple minded tools of the new age, fools.


    Unfortunately the majority of people are this way
  • 22 Hide
    EzioAs , April 22, 2012 12:37 PM
    Thumbs up for you guys here who says gaming on a handheld is a waste.

    So what if mobile devices reach console performance? You're still stuck on a small screen, very poorly optimized control, waste your battery when it's needed most and no upgrade path. Consoles are better since you can game on a big screen, have very optimized controllers and while you still can't upgrade it, it presents a good features for people who doesn't need top level graphics and uses their pc for work or web browsing. Of course, PC is still the best gaming choice.

    PC>Consoles>Mobile
  • 24 Hide
    blubbey , April 22, 2012 12:38 PM
    I'm pretty sure I've talked with people about predictions like this a year or two ago.
    besplatanThe future of gaming is mobile, social and cloud based. It's sad to see old people clinging to their consoles, clunky controllers, desktops and sad, lonely single player games. Get with the times, people.

    What will the controls be like then? I struggle to see a mobile device being better for FPS's, RTS's, RPG's etc than a PC, primarily because of the controls.

    I fail to see why you have a problem with single player games. If you're all about being social and interacting, go to a bar or a club and meet people.
  • 20 Hide
    EzioAs , April 22, 2012 12:44 PM
    Quote:

    I fail to see why you have a problem with single player games. If you're all about being social and interacting, go to a bar or a club and meet people.


    Lol nice one there.
  • 15 Hide
    beayn , April 22, 2012 12:45 PM
    joytech22Explain how it is any different? You sit down, you play. You do the same thing on a computer, with a console etc..Actually if anything, the sensors in devices would allow for a different level of immersion.You are blind to believe that all phone titles are bad.They aren't supposed to compete on the same level, they are generally time-wasters, not games to play 24/7.

    You just argued it wasn't any different, then argued the games are designed to be different. Tiny screens and side scroller games don't interest me and many other people. There's a big difference.
  • 3 Hide
    deksman , April 22, 2012 12:47 PM
    exban224This is why the game industry is stagnating, people expecting mobile devices to become serious. They should stay as casual gaming devices only, no matter how good the graphics are, same with motion controls and 3d.


    I don't agree with the premise that mobile devices shouldn't be 'serious'.
    I think they should because it would be excellent to have the ability to do serious work on the go which would be comparable to stationary desktops (not ones of today but those in the future) in a small form factor.
    However, I do agree with the notion that in their current form, I cannot really take mobile games 'seriously'.

    Creating 'proper' games that include immersion, thinking, etc. would be preferable.

    Look at point and click adventure games... while I will agree that for some of them, the smartphone screen is a bit too small... I wouldn't say the same for tablets.

    Also... with the advent of gpu accelerated professional programs, doing relatively complex tasks would be easier.
    Of course, I would prefer a diamond/graphene composition of computer chips that would allow unprecedented speed/power/efficiency at the same time and do away with silicone all-together.
  • 15 Hide
    freedas , April 22, 2012 12:47 PM
    PC is still the best gaming choice.
  • 3 Hide
    beayn , April 22, 2012 12:48 PM
    besplatanThe future of gaming is mobile, social and cloud based. It's sad to see old people clinging to their consoles, clunky controllers, desktops and sad, lonely single player games. Get with the times, people.

    Obvious troll is obvious. Skyrim's sales tell you a different story about single player games. Mobile gaming is popular only because people travel with their phones and have a few minutes here and there to play. Social gaming is only popular because of 40yo stay at home moms with nothing else to do. How do you get "the future of gaming" out of a few spare mobile minutes and bored housewives when the rest of the gaming community that plays everything else will always be around.
  • 11 Hide
    Maziar , April 22, 2012 12:50 PM
    I personally don't care.First of all,we're going to see the next Xbox/PS3 in 2013-2014.Also,even if smartphones/tablets manage to outperform consoles in terms of graphic,I'd rather stay with PC/Consoles because mouse/keyboard/controller are much better than playing on a touchscreen surface
  • -5 Hide
    ProDigit10 , April 22, 2012 1:19 PM
    They forgot to put the PS3, and upcoming nintendo in the graph!
    surely, if consoles are not growing, neither should the cellphones.
    Meaning in 2014 cellphones will beat CURRENT console systems, all thanks to the latest Wii, and 3DS which not really have been graphic wonders.
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