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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  • darkich - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    2007 Bioshock???

    Here is some eye opening for you- a now lower midrange-grade Samsung Galaxy S3(12GFLOPS) can run remastered GTA San Andreas on maximum settings.

    This chip would not break a sweat running the original Bishock
  • inighthawki - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    Your post makes no sense. San andreas is a significantly older game than Bioshock, and even remastered will look nothing like it. You might as well have replaced "San Andreas" with "Doom 95" in your example. Reply
  • darkich - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    It makes sense with a bit of perspective..That San Andreas on maximum settings would require a beefy 2005 PC, yet it runs on a freaking Galaxy S3.
    Now, compare the K1 with the chip in the Galaxy S3
  • inighthawki - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    San Andreas by no means required a "Beefy 2005 PC." I was able to trivially max that games settings when it launched in 2004 and I didn't even have a top of the line PC back then. The graphics are actually really terrible. Go watch some videos of it then go look at Bioshock, it's night and day. Unreal 3 in its infancy is like 10x more capable than what San Andreas puts out.

    Actually let me do the work for you. First 1080p images of both games i found. Man, what a difference.
  • darkich - Thursday, June 26, 2014 - link

    Again you are missing on the context and lacking perspective.
    First, the Android San Andreas is much better looking than the pc version..higher resolution, improved draw distance, more detailed character and vehicle models, real time dynamic shadows and reflections.
    Second, and I repeat, Tegra K1 GPU is roughly 20-30 times more capable than Mali 400MP4 in the S3.

    And speaking of Unreal 3, there are many Android games running it, for years now
  • inighthawki - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    No I am not lacking perspective, I'm being realistic. I've watched videos of the new San Andreas, it's still garbage compared to 2007 Bioshock. And yes, Unreal 3 has been available, but not until recently have the games looked anything close to even UT3 or Bioshock quality.

    I'm also not arguing about the capabilities of a K1, I'm just still asserting that your initial comparison is absolute garbage, because San Andreas decked out on Android doesn't even scratch the surface of what Bioshock looked like 7 years ago.

    Don't jump the gun. Mobile has made impressive leaps and bounds, but don't overestimate the capabilities.
  • TheJian - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    Trine2, Serious Sam3 on K1, Portal and Half-life2 both run fine on T4. So how well do you think K1 does? We'll know when we see all the ports aimed at K1 soon for shield 2 which is only a month away today. Certainly the Ssam 3 playing pretty ok on beta crap is impressive.
    Dev speaking about K1 & Ssam3 port. I'm fairly sure fps dips at verge were due to the nature of the beta hardware/software. This news was Jan2014, they've had another 6 months to tweak shield 2.
    "AlenL [developer] Jan 6 @ 1:08pm
    Yes. We were even more amazed than you are. That's the first version of SS3 for Android. And it would not have been possible without this Tegra miracle. :) This chip looks like something that will knock everyone's socks off. We couldn't believe how good it is. It supports full OpenGL4, and we practically directly ported the entire PC game to it, along with PC content. It was not cut down like e.g. for Xbox 360.

    As an additional point, when we compiled the code without errors and ironed the glitches in initialization code, as soon as it started the graphics correctly for the first time, it went right through the intro sequence, and into the game. Without any noticeable visual errors. I think I can safely say this is the first time ever. Normally, we'd have a few weeks of unexplainable black screens, inverted colors, garbage in textures, broken shaders, etc, until it looks ok visually. With K1, this just worked."

    The dev seems fairly clear about how potent it is and how easy it was to work with correct? Is serious sam 3 "doom95" to you? 2011 game right? Trine2 isn't exactly ugly either ;)
  • inighthawki - Friday, June 27, 2014 - link

    "Is serious sam 3 "doom95" to you? 2011 game right? Trine2 isn't exactly ugly either ;)"

    Please don't take my post out of context. I was pointing out that his statement had no meaning. He made the assertion that

    "An older GPU (S3) is capable of running a game with worse graphics (San Andreas), therefore the new GPU (K1) will run the better game (Bioshock) without a sweat."

    This is an illogical statement without benchmarks backing the numbers because there is no overlap. i.e.
    Assume the following statements:
    -We have two variables, 's3' and k1', which are GPU performance
    -We have two variables, 'gta' and 'bs', which are the performance requirements for both games
    -Given: 'k1' > 's3' (The K1 is more impressive than the performance of what's in the S3)
    -Given: 'bs' > 'gta' (Bioshock is more demanding than GTA)
    -Assume: 's3' > 'gta' (The S3 can handle GTA)
    -Conclusion: 'K1' > 'gta' (by transitive property), but there is no logical conclusion that 'k1' > 'bs'
  • TheJian - Saturday, June 28, 2014 - link

    Bioshock's minimum system requirements are less than serious sam 3 BFE, yet SSam3 is running on shield 2 (k1). Ssam3's req's min look like the recommended ones for bioshock. You're not seeing the point here? He picked the wrong game maybe to compare to, but it should run.
    Bioshock min req:
    CPU: Pentium 4 2.4GHz Single Core processor
    System RAM: 1GB
    Video Card: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 128MB RAM (NVIDIA 6600 or better/ATI X1300 or better, excluding ATI X1550).
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo processor
    System RAM: 2GB
    Video card: DX9: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 512MB RAM (NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT or better) DX10: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 or better.

    Ssam3 min req:
    Processor:Dual-core from Intel or AMD at 2.0 GHz
    RAM:1 GB
    Video: nVidia GeForce 7800/7900/8600 series, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600 or 1800/X1900 series
    Recommended req:
    Processor:Quad-core from Intel (i5/i7-series) or AMD (Phenom II) at 3.0 GHz
    RAM:4 GB
    Video Memory:nVidia GeForce 480/580 GTX, ATI/AMD Radeon HD 5870/6970

    I'd say Ssam3 is more taxing, judging the vid/cpu requirements here and ram also. If K1 could run SeriousSam3 6 months ago ALMOST (again surely tweaked more 6 months later), then bioshock should be doable. Even if a few things get turned down, it would run. This is a 2007 game vs. 2011 game here, so if they can do that already you should get the point vs. a 2007 game and NV is VERY good at running unreal engine. I have no doubt they know what to tell a dev to turn down in order to massively improve perf on any unreal game.

    The Ssam3 dev even says directly it wasn't cut down like xbox360. That says quite a lot to me especially being a post from 6 months ago. I'm thinking it will run smooth at launch 6 months later. From the devs comment NV wasn't far off saying their K1 is ~xbox360/ps3 level. Tricks Kepler can do that those really old units couldn't probably make it above them most of the time. Time will tell, but the dev's comments are at least showing it's in the same league.
  • inighthawki - Sunday, June 29, 2014 - link

    That's great, and I accept that that is likely true. I'm not trying to claim otherwise. But my MAIN point of this entire string of comments was about San Andreas being a really low end game, so being able to run that doesn't prove anything. I'm not trying to make any assertions at all about the power of the K1. Reply

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