Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Nvidia's Kepler Architecture: Coming To An SoC Near You

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 17 comments

We're still waiting for the first Tegra 4-based device (Nvidia's Shield) to officially launch, but the company is already talking about the Kepler-based GPU in its next-generation Tesla SoC. Is the company planning to license this technology out?

Nvidia’s big news at this year’s SIGGRAPH in Anaheim, California is that the GPU you’ll find inside Project Logan (its next-gen Tegra) and perhaps in other SoCs, given a recent interest in licensing, is up and running, based on the company’s Kepler architecture.

Of course, this isn’t a completely unexpected revelation—Jen-Hsun spelled out the Tegra roadmap a few months ago at GTC, making it clear that Logan’s graphics component would be Kepler-based. Consistent with his announcement, company representatives maintain that Logan will ship in early 2014.

Mobile Kepler consists of one SMXMobile Kepler consists of one SMX

We do get some additional specifics, though. I asked Nvidia’s Matt Wuebbling about the composition of what it’s calling Mobile Kepler, and he replied that it’ll comprise a single SMX. That means we’ll be looking at 192 CUDA cores, 16 texture units, and, presumably 64 KB of L1.

According to Wuebbling, Mobile Kepler will use one-third the power of Imagination Technology's PowerVR SGX554MP4, at the heart of Apple’s A6X SoC, in an unspecified rendering workload. Nvidia’s using a 2 W figure to describe Mobile Kepler, comparing it to GeForce GTX Titan’s 250 W maximum TDP. Those are interesting claims, since Nvidia earlier specified that it was able to achieve better power efficiency from separate vertex and pixel shaders in Tegra 4 than a unified shader design allowed (for comparison, Tegra 4 sports 24 vertex and 48 pixel shaders).

Nvidia's team on the ground at SIGGRAPH gave us a demonstration of Mobile Kepler dialed back to the performance of Apple's fourth-gen iPad, illustrating the difference in power consumption through measuring the graphics rail of each system. You can see this in action below:

Mobile Kepler Vs. iPad: Nvidia Demos For Tom's Hardware

On the flip side, adopting the Mobile Kepler architecture enables support for APIs currently not available on Tegra 4's NV40-class architecture, such as OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenGL 4.4, DirectX 11, OpenCL, and CUDA 5.0. When Nvidia introduced Tegra 4, it shrugged off the lack of OpenGL ES 3.0 support by saying there wouldn’t be much content any time soon due to developers’ propensity for targeting the lowest common denominator of mobile devices. It’ll be interesting to see if that story changes in less than one year.

Some of the compute-oriented workloads enabled by CUDA/OpenCLSome of the compute-oriented workloads enabled by CUDA/OpenCL

Should you hold off on Tegra 4-based devices like HP’s 21” Slate All-In-One due to today’s demonstration? Nvidia says no, naturally.

Mobile Kepler Island Demo, Source: Nvidia

Display 17 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 0 Hide
    obiown77 , July 24, 2013 7:09 AM
    Give me far cry 3 on a tablet please :) 
  • 0 Hide
    waikano , July 24, 2013 7:24 AM
    The Mobile Market just got my attention...although I have an Gen1 iPad and the family uses the thing all the time, this bit of info could be the needle I have been looking for.
  • 0 Hide
    waikano , July 24, 2013 7:24 AM
    The Mobile Market just got my attention...although I have an Gen1 iPad and the family uses the thing all the time, this bit of info could be the needle I have been looking for.
  • 3 Hide
    digiex , July 24, 2013 9:36 AM
    Apple is salivating in acquiring Nvidia right now.
  • 0 Hide
    Mike Friesen , July 24, 2013 10:31 AM
    Why couldn't canonical put THIS in thier ubuntu edge! Then I would buy it guaranteed.
  • 0 Hide
    fulle , July 24, 2013 11:27 AM
    Will Mobile Kepler be the GPU that will turn things around for Nvidia, and allow them to finally beat PowerVR and Qualcomm, who have been totally kicking their butt?

    Who knows? But one thing is for certain! Tegra 4 will only enjoy about a month of competing against PowerVR Series 5 stuff, before Rogue drops. Then it's back to getting stomped on for Nvidia until mobile Kepler is ready. They better hurry it up!
  • 0 Hide
    antilycus , July 24, 2013 12:26 PM
    Nvidia innovates and engineers. Everyone else (AMD, Matrox, etc) copy NVidia's tech. I love my Tegra 3, but I am worried that mobile chipsets are going to have less than a 1 year life span. Tegra 4 owners are going to get burned when Kepler releases on tablets. Also notice in above video... it's no in a tablet form yet.
  • 0 Hide
    knowom , July 24, 2013 2:31 PM
    Nvidia should use "Shield" and Logan for gaming, but also for developers using Maya and 3 studio max and Photoshop along with basic webdesign as well. Mobile touch screens could serve to be very intuitive for much of that stuff in terms of pinching and zooming.
  • 0 Hide
    breakingadam , July 24, 2013 3:50 PM
    This is actually quite upsetting. I was about to pre-order a Shield on Friday (as it fits my needs as an owner of a high end gaming PC). Now, I'm probably not going to as Tegra 4 will be completely blown out of the water by the mobile Kepler within less than a year. Not sure why Nvidia would start hyping this (yet to be released) chip, when the Tegra 4 has not even hit shelves yet. Although a gen 2 Shield MAY not even happen, I'm really hesitant now to buy the Shield. Big misstep by Nvidia IMO. So many people sceptical on the Shield and it's value... Now, potential buyers have one more reason to be even more sceptical as it will be obsolete/outdone after only one year.
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 25, 2013 1:26 AM
    Every mobile chip is outdone in a year. Get over it. S800 will be absolutely squashed by S1000 (or whatever they call it next Aug when it comes). Kepler mobile buyers will be burned a year later by maxwell mobile...So what. The same happens to a degree in gpus each year (but more so on a die shrink year). This is just reality for anyone buying tech. Your tech today will be crushed next year by the same maker of that tech (never mind every one else...) or they are not doing their engineering jobs. I'm looking at you INTEL...I waited for haswell, and waited for almost nothing but a hot chip with a gpu I have no interest in - those transistors are wasted on me and would rather have them dedicated to a 40-50% jump in cpu power vs some dumb gpu.

    Rogue hasn't bragged one bit yet about perf, only features. T4 will have a dominant cpu for a while, and only S800 will challenge it this year. It will take 4-6 months for a device to hit AFTER the day rogue ships. Imagination won't be in anything major but apple I'd guess this year. Also note they don't make any money and had to borrow 20mil just to pay for 100mil company mips. So they aren't swimming in dev money. Their party is over now that bigger fish have joined the race and now that gaming is the most important thing. Imagination was forced out of the desktop by NV/AMD just like Intel was. I believe the same is about to happen on mobile.

    NV/AMD will have an advantage from this point forward as they have 20yrs of driver experience, game experience and devs know their hardware inside out and both will be putting their desktop chips in socs as they shrink them to make it inside one (this article is evidence of that, note the feature list now as that happens just vaulted ahead). Of course AMD has to last that long to get into a soc :)  Low teens for margins on xbox1/ps4 mean it won't be getting rich on consoles any time soon. Wisely I guess, NV passed and probably laughed at MS/Sony's pitch of low teen margins.

    Let me know when rogue hits a device other than Apple's.
  • 0 Hide
    breakingadam , July 25, 2013 12:58 PM
    ^^^
    "So what"? "Get over it"?.... I.m not some sort of idiot who does not understand how tech works. I'm with you on some of your points, but the problem is that the Shield is a DEDICATED GAMING HANDHELD DEVICE. It is competing directly with the 3DS & Vita, both of which won't have a refresh for 5-10 years. Although I PERSONALLY understand the Shield is more of a micro Android tablet with a controller attached and some cool software/tech implemented, it still will be judged as the $300 "handheld gaming device" that Nvidia is marketing it as. I mainly was stating that talking about/hyping the next iteration of a device before the first one even ships is a big misstep. Do you see Apple, Samsung, Sony, or any of the other major players doing that? No. I'd also be more understanding if the cpu/gpu were user replaceable/upgradeable down the line (like the "GPU" comparison you were using in your post), but we all know that will not be an option.
  • 0 Hide
    alfaalex101 , July 25, 2013 2:44 PM
    WHO CARES.

    Here is what most people care about:

    UI Responsiveness (Phones have almost nailed it with the S3 and Nexus 4)
    Camera Quality (Sony is making better sensors for low light conditions)
    Battery Life (??buy a bigger battery??)

    NOT: Playing lame tap to shoot games that may need the latest OpenGL.

    Most people I know (save the kids) use their phones for web browsing, music, photos, calling and a few utility apps. I only see toddlers and pre-teens playing Android games. Couple that with the fact that most Android games barely even utilize the full power of lets say a Tegra 3, I highly doubt OpenGL 3.4 or a Tegra 4, 5, 6 will vastly improve the things most people do on their phones. Do we really need this much power if we are going to stay with tap tap type of apps?

    Wake me up when I can dock a x64 phone to a mouse, keyboard and HDMI out and do some real DAW work, video editing and more. Not some proof of concept Atrix crap. Maybe then I can better feel benefits of a 2GB RAM, quad core phone with a beefy GPU and justify spending +$600 for a phone. Until then, I feel the public will start regarding new phones much the way they view the next generation gaming systems.
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 25, 2013 5:36 PM
    Quote:
    ^^^
    "So what"? "Get over it"?.... I.m not some sort of idiot who does not understand how tech works. I'm with you on some of your points, but the problem is that the Shield is a DEDICATED GAMING HANDHELD DEVICE. It is competing directly with the 3DS & Vita, both of which won't have a refresh for 5-10 years. Although I PERSONALLY understand the Shield is more of a micro Android tablet with a controller attached and some cool software/tech implemented, it still will be judged as the $300 "handheld gaming device" that Nvidia is marketing it as. I mainly was stating that talking about/hyping the next iteration of a device before the first one even ships is a big misstep. Do you see Apple, Samsung, Sony, or any of the other major players doing that? No. I'd also be more understanding if the cpu/gpu were user replaceable/upgradeable down the line (like the "GPU" comparison you were using in your post), but we all know that will not be an option.


    First I never said you were an idiot (and that post was to all saying stuff like your comment, it will be beat by next year blah blah - of course and again every year after that). Sorry if that's what you took from my previous post. I mentioned the "people getting burned by kepler" comment which was from antilycus. These statements will be true every year. But they are not bragging about the next shield here (we have no idea how long it's life will be), just the next SOC is being discussed. Maxwell has been talked about for over 2yrs (3?) but we still buy kepler tech anyway. Kepler buyers aren't burned they just want a card NOW and can't wait apparently. If you wait for some tech, you'll be waiting forever as you will be "burned" every year by the next rev (except in cpus' they seem to have slowed to a crawl because of AMD being so far behind Intel gives nothing).

    This is playing against vita/3ds and even if kepler tech soc comes next year and even a new shield rev the games won't be aimed at T5 for a long time until T5 is middle of the road (I'd guess about when T6 comes we'll start seeing some T5 type stuff, maybe not even then). They don't have ONE game aimed yet at T4 or S800 (hawken is but it's not out yet). So you won't be out of date and they are moving towards multiple resolutions in games on android (settings like on PC's now, google knows this needs to get done), so you should be able to turn a T5/T6 game down to 720p in settings and still play on shield rev1 without issues, or turn off some settings that keep fps up high. I hope they rev this yearly or at least every 2 then allow all to play via settings instead of holding us in a 5-10yr stuck in stone device. I want that gone. I want less holding us back and more going forward. Consoles need to die precisely because they are stuck in stone for so long holding us back. Just make games have settings on mobile or the ability to recognize a soc's power and turn off a few graphical features so it runs fast on lower hardware. That's much better than saying we won't make better games because hardware is stuck until 2021 etc.

    Don't forget this streams PC gpus, plays all current games from googleplay (and they have a lot of great ones already) etc. It's also a portable movie player with hdmi out, miracast etc. For that vita/3ds are useless. These features will always be usable and get better with apps or android os upgrades. Nvidia isn't going to make a $300 device useless with rev2 next year (if they don't just wait for the next rev T6 to fully allow 1080p fun, as I think T5 may come up short for anything better than fully maxed out 720p xbox360/ps3 type stuff). Settings will ensure all can play on older versions and T3 devices already out there.

    Anyway, I don't see anything mentioned about Shield Rev2 here, just "here comes kepler mobile and our features/drivers from the desktop" so to speak. All soc makers brag yearly about their next stuff, NV has to do it too. Yes sony/samsung/apple/MS etc all brag about the next version of everything. SurfaceRT r2 for example has T4 or S800 (wifi or lte). Should they not do that because someone with T3 rev1 surface might get ticked? They have to. SurfaceRT r2 isn't cpu upgradable either. Every year apple, samsung etc brag about the next coming phone. Samsund already bragging about octa rev2 just this week. Did Gs4 OctaR1 buyers just get burned? Sure and so will octa rev2 buyers next year by 20nm chips :) 
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 25, 2013 7:26 PM
    Quote:
    WHO CARES.

    Here is what most people care about:

    UI Responsiveness (Phones have almost nailed it with the S3 and Nexus 4)
    Camera Quality (Sony is making better sensors for low light conditions)
    Battery Life (??buy a bigger battery??)

    NOT: Playing lame tap to shoot games that may need the latest OpenGL.

    Most people I know (save the kids) use their phones for web browsing, music, photos, calling and a few utility apps. I only see toddlers and pre-teens playing Android games. Couple that with the fact that most Android games barely even utilize the full power of lets say a Tegra 3, I highly doubt OpenGL 3.4 or a Tegra 4, 5, 6 will vastly improve the things most people do on their phones. Do we really need this much power if we are going to stay with tap tap type of apps?

    Wake me up when I can dock a x64 phone to a mouse, keyboard and HDMI out and do some real DAW work, video editing and more. Not some proof of concept Atrix crap. Maybe then I can better feel benefits of a 2GB RAM, quad core phone with a beefy GPU and justify spending +$600 for a phone. Until then, I feel the public will start regarding new phones much the way they view the next generation gaming systems.


    As more games are made that are NOT tap tap crap, using gamepads now that everyone can use their old xbox360 pads etc, the phone/tablet etc will be used as a portable console with wireless gamepad and hdmi out to tv or in the case of a newer tv miracasted to TV. This is where you're completely wrong. T4/5/6 etc will bring eventually bring levels way above xbox360/ps3 and likely even ps4/xbox1 before 2021 (when those two might be upgraded) which will make consoles pointless. You'll carry your phone (tablet, whatever) on you with a gamepad and you have a portable console wherever you go and in your house. No need for consoles shortly. Did you watch the video in this article? Nice water etc. IF games on these come looking like that I have no need for a console.

    These are designed to replace consoles at some point, not to become your workstation pc replacement. That won't come until Denver/Boulder etc (in house cpu's made for 3-4ghz and aimed at Intel/AMD). Then you'll get what you want. Hopefully by then apps will be out to make that happen - like adobe ported to android etc, to take advantage of an ARM 64bit box with a REAL PSU inside the box just as you have now. Wintel will be able to possibly be replaced once we get them in a 500watt tower running at 4ghz with a Maxwell card inside... :)  Games will be great on that box, and all we need then is WORK apps like adobe ported to fully nix WINTEL dominance. It's coming. :)  But until these get into a mid tower work is kind of out of the question in a 10w envelope :)  I can't wait to see a 500w ARM box with NV's maxwell etc after a few more years of android game development based on unreal 3 & 4 engine games etc. I may not need windows in a few years.
  • 0 Hide
    breakingadam , July 29, 2013 2:15 PM
    OK. I do agree with you. I'm sorry if I took personal offense to your comments. I guess the main problem is that I am really excited for the Shield. It fits my needs as I am a 30 something year old (married) gamer, have a GTX 680 in my gaming rig, and own a TON of (controller ready) Steam games. Nvidia throwing out that the next gen of tegra will have a kepler GPU, and then officially stating they “absolutely expect the chip in the next-generation NVIDIA Shield device" is super exciting as a tech consumer, but disappointing as a customer of the (soon to be) current device they are selling. First that they are saying that before the 1st gen of the Shield is released, and second that they already have plans for (what I took it as) a revised "BETTER" version of the Shield. Don't get me wrong, I still pre-ordered a Shield last Friday... even after reading all of this. I still believe that at $299, the Shield is a very powerful device for the money.
  • 0 Hide
    smeezekitty , July 29, 2013 2:35 PM
    Quote:

    Nvidia innovates and engineers. Everyone else (AMD, Matrox, etc) copy NVidia's tech. I love my Tegra 3, but I am worried that mobile chipsets are going to have less than a 1 year life span. Tegra 4 owners are going to get burned when Kepler releases on tablets. Also notice in above video... it's no in a tablet form yet.

    You do realize nearly that almost all the stuff that NVidia "innovates and engineers" as you claim was actually purchased from other companies, right?
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , July 29, 2013 11:24 PM
    Quote:
    OK. I do agree with you. I'm sorry if I took personal offense to your comments. officially stating they “absolutely expect the chip in the next-generation NVIDIA Shield device"

    I still believe that at $299, the Shield is a very powerful device for the money.


    Did I miss that? Where do you see that NV officially stated this? Not that I'd be surprised just that I kind of want shield r2 and wasn't sure they'd release yearly or wait for full 1080p T6 fun (so 2yr cycle)...LOL. I'd guess it would be the first T5 device and it's supposed to be out early next year (hopefully just after my maxwell purchase to pull the same stuff you are talking about from my PC gpu). Then again, as I said I expect T5 to come up short at 1080p so not sure how much this really matters. Just that I see no point in buying R1 when I'm so close to R2 debut if it's coming after a Q1 maxwell purchase. I don't think I'd hesitate if I already had a 680 though (if that makes you feel any better about shield r1 :) ).

    I am only waiting because I currently have and AMD card and I want to let the games percolate a bit more since I have so many others to play now anyway. I haven't even started skyrim (waited for legendary) and still have baldurs gate enhanced etc to play now that it's pretty done getting patched. I have even more but those two alone for a working guy will suck the life out of my spare time for months. :) 

    Anyway congrats it is a great product and I think will show the power of mobile over the next year (socs vs. consoles I mean and lead to great gamepad games if they keep it going yearly etc). I don't think you'll be disappointed :)  I have a list of games I'm compiling for fun on my future T4 based tablet. Not sure which tablet I'll buy yet but I'm already impressed with the "future" fun I see on my list. Some fart around type games, but quite a few that seem to have some depth that I could see spending quite a bit of time with on the couch or out relaxing in the back yard... :)  I expect that list to grow over time and just keep adding to it as I see cool stuff come out. I wish metacritic would start listing android review stuff (apple must have ties to them or something...they ignore android still today). No worries, I agree this is a potent device already. Unless T5 is capable of 1080p gaming (doubtful) I'm not sure you'll miss anything really. Both will be great 720p game players and handy portable media players (out of the house on the road with hdmi out etc), not to mention nice to be able to kick a kid off the TV when desired and they still have a screen or your wife kick you off the TV...LOL I mean the wives/girlfriends wear the pants in the family right?...ROFL. If you want to grin at the end of the day she'd better be grinning first :)