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NVIDIA's 64-bit "Denver" Tegra K1 Should Be Amazing

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  • NVIDIA's 64-bit "Denver" Tegra K1 Should Be Amazing

    Phoronix: NVIDIA's 64-bit "Denver" Tegra K1 Should Be Amazing

    While we're incredibly infatuated right now with NVIDIA's Tegra K1 that offers quad-core Cortex-A15 performance with Kepler-class graphics, the 64-bit Tegra K1 should be even better...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTc2MDg

  • #2
    Interesting that Denver is dual-core rather than quad, though it will still likely deliver much better performance than the current model.

    I wish there would be an x86 Atom-based SoC based on K1, but that probably would never happen due to Intel's own investments in graphics. But wouldn't it be grand to have a netbook that could run the "big boy" games and not that Android nonsense? (SteamOS, Windows)

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    • #3
      I would consider the inability of "big boy" games to handle supporting multiple architectures a relegation to the corner with a dunce cap. Yea, there is no market right now for K1 powered systems running classic desktops, but that is because nobody is selling them. They would be mad popular due to the cheapness of ARM chips, a SteamOS powered Shield device instead of Android would dominate the gaming space if developers would ship recompiled games for ARM.

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      • #4
        Out of curiosity. Is there a chance of this working with nouveau?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by zanny View Post
          a SteamOS powered Shield device instead of Android would dominate the gaming space if developers would ship recompiled games for ARM.
          Yes, that is the dream. The Shield Tablet, a stunning, potentially "game-changing" (har, har) device, only has about 10 games that really make good use of it. The rest of the catalog is standard Android games, which suffer from being "casual" and made for touch, not console-worthy. The chicken-and-egg market problem may mean that this is where it's going to stop -- it just won't be worth it for game devs to port to OpenGL-over-Android if there are so few customers who would buy the game.

          But a Steam Tablet? With a growing catalog of 800 Linux games? That can plug into your TV and use as a decent console and TV entertainment center?

          Future, come quick!

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          • #6
            "Denver" is just the name of the core(s), not the whole chip. Nvidia will likely use the same core in successive chips - I'm guessing a quad core next. Then there might be a chip with a Maxwell-based GPU.

            Oh, and one reason that Denver is so powerful is because its instruction decoder/scheduler is 7 operations wide, compared to Cortex-A15's 3-wide (and Apple's Cyclone at 6-wide). This is a really powerful core, at least as far as ARM processors go. It will be interesting to see how much electrical power it draws though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 89c51 View Post
              Out of curiosity. Is there a chance of this working with nouveau?
              Probably yes, since 32 bit version works already.

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              • #8


                Nvidia Tegra Erista will launch next year at CES 2015.

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                • #9
                  High single thread performance should make this a pretty good SoC for emulation though. Dreamcast and Gamecube (and maybe even some Wii titles) should run pretty well on this.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Julius View Post
                    High single thread performance should make this a pretty good SoC for emulation though. Dreamcast and Gamecube (and maybe even some Wii titles) should run pretty well on this.
                    Wii games are probably out of the window, I hear Dolphin barely gets 60fps on a very high-end quad core + gtx780 on medium-low settings. Tegra K1 is no match for that.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shmerl View Post
                      Probably yes, since 32 bit version works already.
                      Didn't know that. How well this works?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Imroy View Post
                        Nvidia will likely use the same core in successive chips - I'm guessing a quad core next. Then there might be a chip with a Maxwell-based GPU.
                        Well, maybe. The problem with Denver is that the die size is huge ... quad core will have to be quite enormous, maybe too big for mobile applications.

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                        • #13
                          Denver core size isn't an issue.

                          Originally posted by emblemparade View Post
                          Well, maybe. The problem with Denver is that the die size is huge ... quad core will have to be quite enormous, maybe too big for mobile applications.
                          I wouldn't call it enormous, not for the high-end devices this is intended for. The Denver 64-bit CPU core area seems to be a little larger than twice the area of the CPU cores in the quad-32-bit K1. Given the larger caches (4x instruction L1, 2x data L1), and the move to 64 bits from 32 (where everything -- registers, datapaths, etc) are literally twice as wide, it makes perfect sense for them to be precisely as large as the 64-bit Denver cores are. In fact, choosing their software code optimizer instead of typical OoO logic has stopped them becoming significantly larger and more complex.

                          Besides, while the CPU cores are twice as large, they still account for a fairly paltry percentage of the whole chip. The GPU portion is several times larger than all CPU cores combined in any version.

                          More likely is that they simply want the two versions to be drop-in compatible (save software, of coarse), so they needed to have the same or very similar physical footprint and external memory bus / memory controller. Since the two Denver cores can issue up to 7 instructions with two of those being load/stores each, and the 4 32-bit cores can issue only 3 instructions with one of those being a load/store, they're actually pretty evenly matched in terms of potential of-chip-memory operations. Its likely that simply adding additional Denver cores would become memory starved without a significantly beefier memory interface.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Imroy View Post
                            "Denver" is just the name of the core(s), not the whole chip. Nvidia will likely use the same core in successive chips - I'm guessing a quad core next. Then there might be a chip with a Maxwell-based GPU.
                            It will be interesting to see how well these cores actually work. The good numbers NVidia seems to be posting are related to executing microcode produced by tracing apps in execution. This leads me to believe that performance will be all over the board.

                            Oh, and one reason that Denver is so powerful is because its instruction decoder/scheduler is 7 operations wide, compared to Cortex-A15's 3-wide (and Apple's Cyclone at 6-wide). This is a really powerful core, at least as far as ARM processors go. It will be interesting to see how much electrical power it draws though.
                            There is a bit of strangeness in this architecture. It will be interesting to see how code executes before it hits the microcode cache.

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