For the past few years there have been claims that mobile graphics performance and capabilities are about to reach that of gaming consoles like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Obviously because this has been going on for a few years that point hasn't quite been reached yet. But if a new tech demo from NVIDIA and Epic Games is any indication of where graphics performance is headed that goal of matching the previous generation of game consoles on a mobile device may not be far off. The below video was made in Unreal Engine 4 and rendered on NVIDIA's Tegra K1.

This tech demo was played during the keynote at Google IO. To achieve some of the effects in the video the teams at Epic Games and NVIDIA used Google's new Android Extension Pack and OpenGL ES 3.1 which are supported in the upcoming Android L release. The Android Extension Pack is a set of extensions to OpenGL ES which provides features like tessellation to improve the detail of geometry rendered onscreen, and geometry shaders which can also be used to add detail to what is rendered onscreen as well as to add shadows to a scene. The Android Extension Pack also includes support for compute shaders, and Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) which we've talked about in depth previously.

Of course software is just one half of the equation. The GPU in NVIDIA's Tegra K1 breaks free of the old GeForce ULP design and works with the same architecture as Nvidia's desktop GPUs. Specifically, the GPU in Tegra K1 is a Kepler based GPU with 192 CUDA cores, 4 ROPs (render output units), and 8 texture units. The 64-bit version of NVIDIA's Tegra K1 will also be one of the first chips to ship in a new wave of 64-bit Android L devices with Google having updated the OS and their ART runtime to support the ARMv8 instruction set. It will be exciting to see a new generation of games enabled by more powerful hardware like NVIDIA's Tegra K1

Source: Unreal Engine on Youtube



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  • lucam - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    In weeks...I see. Than if they ask your collaboration even in hours...Yes TK1 is faster than A7, but the second is still running same demo. Given the fact that the are so many TK1 around that you indulge playing every hours. In less than few months will arrive devices with A8, meanwhile you will be dreaming the TK1. Question is where the TK1 is? I suggest you buying an Audi car and then run this demo developed for you in weeks. Reply
  • przemo_li - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    So. Yes. Google did have some nice trick to counter Metal.

    Now Android have more features, while Apple have nicer API.

    Lets see who win ;)
  • inighthawki - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    This is not a counter to Metal, this is just exposing some extensions to OpenGL ES to support some stuff that's not supported by default. Metal, Mantle, D3D12, etc are all completely new to-the-metal APIs. Reply
  • przemo_li - Monday, June 30, 2014 - link

    It is.

    Google could say, OpenGL ES 3.1 + extra extensions.

    "Android Extension Pack" IS marketing name.
  • platinumjsi - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    So can someone explain to me (Like I am 5) how a arm chip with 192 shaders can do this and my 290x struggles to get 60 FPS at 1440p in a number of modern titles?
    If they can do this with 192 cores why are we not seeing photorealistic games on XBOne / PS4 / PC?
  • przemo_li - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link


    That is small cramped space (not much to show) with little dynamics (little to change), with small ammount of materials (little to shuffle around).

    That is Introductory Tech Demo, for You ;)
  • andrewaggb - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    Most games run pretty good when nobody is moving and nothing is happening.

    They also tend to run really well indoors because there is much less to render. I'm sure you've seen many games with graphics options for draw distance and the like.

    Pretty much guarantee that if you had 10 of these guys on screen, shooting at each other, with explosives and smoke grenades, on a city street.... with cars, lightposts, lots of buildings, and multiple city blocks visible... it would run awful. So you can either have a game that looks pretty but isn't any fun, or that is fun but looks ugly, or you need a 290x :-)
  • TheJian - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    or 780ti ;) which wins almost everything in a res where we actually play (less than 2% above 1920x1200 and most have TWO or more cards above it). Above this you usually see the benchmarks at 30fps avg or less, and that is pointless to show. Mins are worse. It baffles me why anandtech keeps showing situations where you're already under 30fps avg and claiming a victor. No not baffling, the AMD portal explains it ;) Or rather a lack of an NV portal? Either way bad.

    No way around that or the constant Nv digs even if it's insinuated or just said blatantly. IE how dumb is it to talk up Qcom's DX features when mobile is all about android/iOS which can't use it? Talking as if Qcom surpassed K1 with this junk? I don't see google or Epic using Qcom's chips for demos. Instead the talk was about how fast they got off of DX and into OpenGL...LOL. If you read anandtech's post you might actually think Qcom's dx comments are important. ROFL. Whatever. As the comment section on that post shows, just more anandtech bias BS whenever they can vs. NV. There are many T4 devices out, but you wouldn't know it if you only read anandtech. They claim they can't get anything for review when asked about this. Really? Can't be bothered to BUY a T4 device just to test then sell or something in their forums? Ebay etc? If you really wanted to benchmark NV stuff you'd find a way, or a place that would loan you one, just like with everything else hardware sites get on loan (memory, SSD, mboards, cards etc for testing). I'm sure if they listed some device they bought on Ebay or something as ANANDTECH, saying it was only used for testing, knock of 10-20%, it would get sold (if not to a forum user looking for one on discount). Anandtech isn't exactly poor and could easily absorb a $50-100 hit once to have something other than shield in their benchmarks (which they only show in SOME benchmarks anyway).
  • ruthan - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    Sorry, bad highly optimalized cutscene means almost nothing, port Unreal 3 or Bioshock on it and we can talk. Reply
  • Jumangi - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    Oh look another massively curated and controlled tech demo that has nothing to do with what the chip could do in an actual game. Show a real world working 360/PS3 game running in real time at a decent framerate and I will be impressed. Otherwise its more smoke and mirrors. Reply

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