Game developers are already taking notice. Nvidia at CES showed off a demo of the upcoming role-playing game Soulcraft, being developed by MobileBits and published by Electronic Arts's Chillingo subsidiary. Optimized for the current-gen AP20H and T20 chips, the game runs smoothly on the LG Optimus 2X smartphone even though it uses a lot of shaders - something we see as a capital advantage for Nvidia in this field. Nvidia's competitors mostly do not develop their own GPU IP, but rather license PoverVR technology from Imagination Technologies. The problem with such approach is that the competition uses Tile-Based Rendering principle, while nVidia utilizes its ultra-successful GeForce architecture and more efficient Shader principle.
As you can see for yourself in the clip below, Soulcraft proves that even current-generation Tegra architecture packs in enough oomph to drive amazing 3D games with complex graphics. Apple, are you seeing this?
While the upcoming Tegra 2 3D architectire is effectively a speed bump for the existing Tegra 2 design, the forthcoming T30 and AP30 chips represent a generational shift compared to what's currently available on smartphones and tablets.
The T30 tablet chip sports four ultra-low power Cortex-A9 processors [quad-core] clocked to up to 1.5GHz and three times faster graphics that can output Blu-ray video and drive displays with up to 1920x1200 pixel resolution.
Its AP30 smartphone counterpart, available in dual- and quad-core flavors, will support up to 1366x768 pixel resolution. And you thought Apple's Retina display at 960x640 pixel resolution and 326 pixels-per-inch density was special?
If Nvidia's roadmap holds true and display vendors keep pace, expect 720p [HD Ready] smartphones and 1080p [Full HD] tablets to be launched at CES 2012. First samples of the T30 and AP30 should be available in the fourth quarter of this year and not at the Mobile World Congress next month, as many blogs incorrectly reported.
This information came to light in Nvidia's leaked roadmap and Rayfield's comment made in the Hexus interview:
I'm going to come pretty close to my cadence of a launch every year. It will be in production around the same time as my competitors' first dual-cores will.
Looking at 2013 and beyond, Nvidia is working on the Maxwell generation described as the "first end-product using Project Denver," resulting in a significant performance increase over Kepler architecture. Nvidia hopes the high-end Maxwell chip will go down in history as the world's first consumer solution that will effortlessly run full-blown operating systems from companies such as Microsoft and Google entirely off a GPU core. Note that Nvidia abandoned its work on a Fermi-powered Linux build.
Nvidia's Architectural Roadmap revealed at last year's GPU Technology Conference
Such an aggressive planning on Nvidia's part puts a lot of pressure on companies like Apple, the consumer electronics powerhouse that has chosen to ignore Nvidia and is instead pursuing its own custom silicon with the A4 chip. Even Microsoft said that Windows 8 will support ARM architectures through a unified code base designed to run efficiently on both desktop computers and mobile devices, putting Nvidia into position to reap the benefits of its ARM licensing agreement.
Jen-Hsun's Keynote at CES 2011 adamantly market where the company is heading with Tegra SoC processors
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