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CES 2013: Nvidia Announces Project Shield And Tegra 4

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 42 comments

We're about to head out to the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show. But before we leave, we wanted to take a moment to publish our thoughts about Nvidia's press conference, as its webcast happens. Tune in for our team's commentary.

8:24: Here we go!

8:29: Jen-Hsun Huang comparing PC gaming and console gaming. PCs give us more flexibility to increase quality versus consoles. Yup, we know. That's why we love PC gaming!

8:33: Introducing GeForce Experience. Didn't we hear about this back when the GeForce GTX 690 launched? Nvidia will pick the best settings for your game based on your configuration.

8:37: Great-looking demo, if you didn't know how to change your settings previously.

Before...Before......after GFE...after GFE

8:41: Onto a discussion of the relationship between 3D graphics and cloud computing. Wonder what's coming?

8:44: Introducing the Nvidia Grid, a server designed for computer graphics, "packed full of GPUs." One rack = 20 servers, 240 GPUs, 200 TFLOPS of computer performance (or about 700 Xbox 360s).

8:47: Andrew Fear loading up Trine 2 on an LG TV over the cloud. Grid receiver client was ported to the TV by LG. You plug in Ethernet to the television and you're able to access the game library online.

8:49: Now they're up and running on an Android-based tablet. Same thing; you fire up the client and go. Andrew starts right where he left off on the TV (same save state).

8:54: Still waiting for the big announcement. Tegra 2. Tegra 3...

8:57: Tegra 4. Four ARM Cortex-A15 cores, 72 GPU cores, Nvidia's first 4G LTE modem processor. This is still a 4-PLUS-1 design.

8:58: Demo time. Nexus 10 versus a Tegra 4-based prototype; 50 seconds on the Nexus, and 27 on the Tegra 4-based tablet to load 25 webpages.

9:05: High dynamic range imaging demonstration. Tegra 4 is going to allow two shots to be taken back-to-back. The cores then work in parallel to create the HDR image without the delay typically associated with taking pictures with HDR turned on.

9:18: On to video games. Dead Trigger 2. Interesting, but not necessarily mind-blowing. Chris Angelini: "That's still not the big announcement, by the way."

9:23: Software-defined radio introduction. Remember seeing the 4G LTE on Tegra 4? i500 Soft Modem from the engineers Nvidia acquired from Icera. 1.2 sustained trillion operations per second across eight programmable processors. Able to re-use the programmable logic for each stage of the pipeline, eliminating the need for fixed-function hardware. So, it's smaller. We're wondering how that's going to affect battery life, though. The benefit of fixed-function circuitry is often a reduction in power consumption; how will the programmable cores change this?

9:29: Chris Angelini: "Here it comes..."

9:32: Nvidia handheld, Project Shield. Project Thor is, er, something else ;-)

Tegra 4-powered (look at that huge heat sink), 38 Wh of batteries for between five and 10 hours of gameplay, according to Jen-Hsun. Apparently, 24 hours of high-def video playback. Bass-reflex audio system through tuned port. Better audio than an HP laptop with Beats. Console-oriented game controls. Runs Android. HDMI output, micro-USB, microSD slot, 3.5mm audio output. Top cover can be customized.

What about that display? Tell us more!

Touch-based control. Looks like Nvidia's alternative to a tablet, better-oriented to gaming.

9:45: Jen-Hsun continues demoing the Shield. 4K video playback over HDMI to a TV. Then, driving a 4K display in a 3D application from Shield (assuming that's scaled from 720p?). Multi-player capable over the network.

9:59: After some (many) technical difficulties, Jason and Jen-Hsun have a demo running of Need for Speed streaming from a PC (Chris: "Hey, nice Tiki"), using GeForce Experience, to the Shield. We're looking forward to getting a feel for the control lag incurred by this.

10:04: It looks easy to connect to your Steam-based games through Shield and play through your (presumably) high-end PC. Nice to be able to work around the limitations of an ARM-based device to enjoy PC games on a handheld.

What's happening here is that the PC's hardware is responsible for rendering the 3D content, which is then sent to the Shield. What will the network bandwidth requirements be for this? Will gamers be interested in using a controller for titles they're used to playing with a keyboard and mouse? How do the graphics look on the streamed content?

We'll be answering all of this and more sooner than you think. Stay tuned to Tom's Hardware for more CES 2013 coverage than you've ever seen us do!

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , January 7, 2013 2:27 AM
    Am I suppose to sit on this article and refresh every few minutes for updates to it?
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , January 7, 2013 2:27 AM
    Am I suppose to sit on this article and refresh every few minutes for updates to it?
  • -1 Hide
    amoralman , January 7, 2013 2:33 AM
    I have a feeling NVidia will drop R&D and go full blown mainstream (a.k.a. console...) omg this will suck please don't be that please please please
  • 0 Hide
    amoralman , January 7, 2013 2:35 AM
    Oh well, GFE is not that bad. But did it need a special event? Hum...
  • 6 Hide
    amoralman , January 7, 2013 2:37 AM
    Do they know what GFE could also mean, out of computer context! lol..
  • 2 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , January 7, 2013 2:52 AM
    I'm waiting for the free cookie and a can of soda at the Nvidia "After Party"
  • 1 Hide
    ultameca , January 7, 2013 3:00 AM
    I wish I could just watch the keynote :( 
  • 6 Hide
    ultameca , January 7, 2013 3:01 AM
    I mean it's only 2013 and we still can't just watch keynotes in HD WTF!
  • 3 Hide
    cangelini , January 7, 2013 3:09 AM
    JOSHSKORNAm I suppose to sit on this article and refresh every few minutes for updates to it?

    You certainly don't have to :)  Working with the site's technology as best as possible.
  • 0 Hide
    ultameca , January 7, 2013 3:11 AM
    @cangelini Sounds like toms needs to get with the times.
  • 8 Hide
    toxxel , January 7, 2013 3:19 AM
    ultamecaI mean it's only 2013 and we still can't just watch keynotes in HD WTF!


    You can at http://www.twitch.tv/nvidia
  • 0 Hide
    ultameca , January 7, 2013 3:21 AM
    @toxxel Thank you, you made my night.
  • 0 Hide
    weatherdude , January 7, 2013 3:23 AM
    Wait, where is this conference taking place? The time isn't UTC is it? I'm kinda clueless here.
  • 0 Hide
    ultameca , January 7, 2013 3:52 AM
    @toxxel Seriously I want to thank you again, seeing Shield live was WAAYYY better than seeing some pics and text poop up every few min.
  • 0 Hide
    toxxel , January 7, 2013 4:09 AM
    It's always better to watch it live.
  • -5 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , January 7, 2013 4:42 AM
    I'm starting to believe the end of the Desktop PC is near. I wonder which will adopt Ultra HD first, the PC or the mobile phone. Games are bound to one day be in Ultra HD. Give it 3 years for games. Until then, there won't be a point. Ultra HD Monitors/TVs won't be affordable until then.
  • 1 Hide
    cangelini , January 7, 2013 4:47 AM
    JOSHSKORNI'm starting to believe the end of the Desktop PC is near. I wonder which will adopt Ultra HD first, the PC or the mobile phone. Games are bound to one day be in Ultra HD. Give it 3 years for games. Until then, there won't be a point. Ultra HD Monitors/TVs won't be affordable until then.

    Well, but this thing still depends on a PC (and a high-end one, at that) in order to offer its coolest feature. And even then, you have to ask, "will someone want to *not* use their GTX 680-equipped PC to play on a controller and 5" screen?"
  • 0 Hide
    tpi2007 , January 7, 2013 5:09 AM
    http://shield.nvidia.com/

    Just to answer your question, the screen is indeed 5" with a 720p resolution (and as the live stream showed it's multi-touch).
  • 7 Hide
    bobsmithsmith1 , January 7, 2013 7:33 AM
    Gaming in early 1990's: "high-end PC" + 17" screen (CRT);
    Gaming in mid 1990's: "high-end PC" + 19" screen (CRT);
    Gaming in late 1990's: "high-end PC" + 21" screen (LCD);

    Gaming in early 2000's: high-end PC + 22" screen (LCD);
    Gaming in mid 2000's: high-end PC + 24" screen (LED);
    Gaming in late 2000's: high-end PC + 27" screen (LED);

    Expected gaming experience on 2013: high-end PC + 42" OLED LCD screen (or multi-monitor)

    Real-life Gaming in 2013: horrible joystick + 5" LCD screen?

    Definitely something went wrong.

    Never believed in NVidia. Never will.
  • 7 Hide
    pchisholm , January 7, 2013 7:44 AM
    So Nvidia are expecting me to buy their device after I've already forked out for a high-end gaming rig so I can play a game on a 5" screen .... give me a second to check my calendar .... have I been stuck in a time-warp and it's April 1st already?

    What they are doing is cool and it's definately exploiting some serious technological performance advances, but the suggested application is, frankly, ridiculous assuming the required network bandwidth is even available to the masses. You get the feeling that Nvidia just felt obliged to announce something aside from some new silicon, which they're almost obliged to do anyway (since they have share holders) but this is just crazy. Sometimes it's better to say nothing and let people think you're an idiot than to say something and remove all doubt.
  • 0 Hide
    Bloob , January 7, 2013 8:00 AM
    I think it is pretty safe to say now that no next-gen console will use nVidia graphics..
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