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Monday, 13 January 2014 08:01

Competition in mobile graphics heats up

Written by Fuad Abazovic



Adreno, Rogue, Tegra, Mali

In some benchmarks Nvidia’s Tegra K1 can push significantly more polygons that Qualcomm’s Adreno 420, but it is still unclear which one will end up faster. Both GPUs are DirectX 11 feature set compatible. Adreno supports Open GL 3.1 that is bringing a tessellation to the mobile world.

Since Tegra K1 has a Kepler core, it comes with full Open GL 4.4 including the tessellation support. Naturally apart from the face demo that looks awesome and very lifelike, we saw a tessellation demo.

We saw some demos of Adreno 420 and we saw that the insect demo pushes up to 270.000 polygons, the number that might impress some. At Nvidia booth we saw Nvidia demo of tessellation on Tegra K1 and this time we saw up to 700.000 polygons rendered when needed. We were told by Nvidia representatives that we can expect some that Tegra K1 can render between 500 and one million polygons a second, which sounds like a lot.

We cannot say whether Adreno guys pushed the 420 to the limit nor do we know which one will end up faster. None of the companies actually revealed real performance numbers that we could measure against the previous generation chips or against each other.

Nvidia and Qualcomm didn’t talk about the shipping date for the devices based on these chips but we hope to see designs in first half of the year from both. Adreno 420 and Tegra K1 will also have to take on Imagination’s PowerVR 6-series parts and new ARM Mali GPUs and the mobile GPU space in 2014 will be quite interesting to watch.

Imagination is the elephant in the room, but adoption of Rogue GPUs has been rather slow over the last few months.

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