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Nvidia shows off two more Tegra families

Fifth generation Parker will deliver 100 times the performance of the original Tegra, promises chip provider

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 20 March, 2013

READ MORE: nVidia | Processor | Tablet

This week, at its GTC (GPU Technology Conference), Nvidia unveiled its latest roadmap, which includes two generations of Tegra, called Logan and Parker. CEO Jen-Hsun Huang boasted that the platform would deliver 100fold performance improvement from the first generation to the fifth, over the space of less than five years (Parker is due in 2015). The current Tegra4 went commercial earlier this year and Logan will emerge late this year.

Drawing on its graphics heritage, Nvidia will incorporate its Kepler GPU in Logan as well as CUDA, a programming model for parallel processing on GPUs. Parker will be the first processor from Nvidia's Project Denver R&D project, which introduces full 64-bit capabilities and was first described at 2011's Consumer Electronics Show.


There have been few details since, but it aims to take Tegra into high end products like servers, allowing Nvidia to supply both CPU and GPU in most of the sectors where Intel plays - and where it currently merely provides graphics alongside an x86 processor. Parker will also use a new generation GPU codenamed Maxwell, the successor to Kepler.

All this graphics firepower will be important for high end devices, and to fend off rising levels of competition in tablets. Nvidia powers both the Google Nexus 7 and the Microsoft Surface, but admitted that sales of the latter device, and Windows RT in general, had been disappointing. At the other end of the product spectrum, it will be vital to deliver low power, integrated systems-on-chip for handsets, a market where Nvidia has scored few wins so far. The key step is the recently announced Tegra 4i, which integrates an LTE modem on the same silicon as the processor.

Importantly for ARM, Nvidia is also helping to drive the platform into the enterprise space, applying its graphics expertise to business as well as more traditional technical applications. It rolled out its Grid Enterprise initiative, a new layer of systems and software to provide business users with access to apps running on Nvidia GPUs. Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM have all signed up to make Grid Enterprise servers and appliances for large and small businesses, and Citrix, Microsoft and VMWare are among those contributing the software.

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