NVIDIA Just Stepped Further Into Mobile

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While NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA  ) is no stranger to the mobile game, investors should be pleased to see that the company intends to make a bigger splash in the space with its new Tegra K1 mobile processor. But the real challenge for the company isn't in bringing a new, more powerful chip to market -- it's making sure the chip actually ends up in mobile devices.

Taking a closer look
NVIDIA's new chip will actually come in two different versions, with the 32-bit version showing up in devices in the first half of this year and the 64-bit version coming in the second half. Here's a quick breakdown of the chips' specs:

Tegra K1 (coming 1H 2014)

Tegra K1 (coming 2H 2014)



4+1 ARM Cortex A15 CPU

NVIDIA dual Super Core CPU

Up to 2.3 GHz

Up to 2.5 GHz

192-core NVIDIA Kepler GPU

192-core NVIDIA Kepler GPU

Both versions of the chip sport NVIDIA's Kepler, which is the powerful graphics processing architecture the company uses for its desktop, notebook, and supercomputer GPUs. The company said in prepared release that the Tegra K1 is the first mobile processor "to deliver the same graphics features as the next generation of consoles" like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

But specs aside, NVIDIA will need to snag some major design wins to get the new Tegra K1 off the ground.

Source: NVIDIA.

Convincing buyers
NVIDA managed to get its Tegra 4 chip into Microsoft's Surface 2 tablets, as well as Google's Nexus 7. But early production of the Tegra 4 was delayed and cost NVIDIA some design wins, and the company has repeatedly lost out on providing chips for Amazon's tablets. NVIDIA did have some good news recently when the company got its first smartphone design win from Xiaomi back in October.

Although the 64-bit Tegra K1 will be available later this year, that's likely behind rival Qualcomm's schedule for its 64-bit chip release. Even though Qualcomm has said its new 64-bit Snapdragon 410 will be in commercial devices by the second half of 2014 -- the same time frame as the Tegra K1 -- the company still announced its Snapdragon chip earlier and is likely ahead of NVIDIA. Though NVIDIA is moving in the right direction, investors will really need to keep tabs on how many design wins the Tegra K1 receives and for which devices. In addition to that, any delays in releasing the new chip could give rival Qualcomm a huge advantage, so watch out for any news of NVIDIA delaying release of the processor. Considering that Qualcomm has managed to grab lots of design wins in both tablets and smartphones, NVIDIA certainly has its work cut out for it.

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  • Report this Comment On January 09, 2014, at 4:49 AM, enihcam wrote:

    Apparently you are cheated by NVIDIA's fancy slideshow, because of the following facts:

    1. Not only Tegra K1 has a 192-Core GPU, AMD's low-end APU, Mullins, also has GPU with 3 CU x 64-Core = 192-Core. 192 is really not a big number in 2014.

    2. An ARM mobile processor should be less than 2W, but the power consumption of Tegra K1 is 5W, which actually puts this processor into battlefield with x86(64) processors. For example, Intel Baytrail 1.5-4w; AMD Mullins 2~4.5W.

    3. Tegra K1-64 only has dual-core CPU, but Baytrail/Mullins are quad-core in same power consumption level.

    4. Tegra K1 supports only DX11.1, but Mullins support DX11.2 and native OpenCL.

    5. Tegra K1-64 will not be available to OEMs till the end of 2014, but Mullins will be available to OEMs in summer of 2014.

    In the end of the day, the title should be

    "NVIDIA Will Step Further Into Mobile with Intel/AMD"

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Chris has covered Tech and Telecom companies for The Motley Fool since 2012. Follow him on Twitter for the latest tech stock coverage.

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