At the 2013 Siggraph conference, Nvidia provided a preview of the upcoming Logan mobile processor, the successor to the current Tegra 4. Although Nvidia would not say much about the processor as a product, it did provide some detail and impressive demos of the new GPU that will be used in Logan.
Current and previous generations of Tegra feature a GPU specially designed for the mobile processor family. Logan, however, will feature a scaled down version of the company’s high-performance Kelper GPU architecture that is used in products ranging from PC to HPC applications.
Even being a scaled down version of the Kepler architecture, the Logan GPU still features 192 cores and supports advanced GPU functions, such as tessellation and global illumination. In addition, the architecture supports all PC and mobile graphics and GPU compute standards, including Direct X11, OpenGL4.4, OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL, and CUDA 5. The demonstrations illustrated the ability of the Logan processor to run some of the same high-end simulation and rendering applications that are typically used to demonstrate the discrete computing GPU products, such as the company's Ira facial simulation demo.
A demo of Nvidia's Ira facial simulation technology.
In addition, Nvidia highlighted the relatively low power of the architecture using a tablet mock-up relative to the current Apple iPad 4. At equivalent performance levels, the Nvidia platform appeared to use approximately a third of the power of the iPad. Not only would this provide Logan with more headroom for further performance on tablets, it would allow it to fit into the smartphones with current tablet-level performance.
Nvidia representatives indicated that further details of the Logan processor would be available closer to product launch, which is likely in the first quarter of 2014 timeframe. They did indicate, however, that samples of Logan are shipping for product development.
As with the other announcements at Siggraph, it's clear that the mobile segment is set for even higher performance levels in graphics and that the performance level is now approaching both the quality and capability of GPUs in PCs. As a result, there are an increasing number of applications, even content creation, which can be performed on a tablet rather than a PC. This same high-performance mobile technology will also be the force behind other future consumer applications.
ó Jim McGregor is the founder and principal analyst at Tirias Research.