Nvidia Creates Crop Circle to Introduce Tegra K1 Chip

Cabe Atwell

January 21, 2014

3 Min Read
Nvidia Creates Crop Circle to Introduce Tegra K1 Chip

The local community was in an uproar earlier this month when a new crop circle was discovered in a field 11 miles south of Salinas, Calif. Crop circle researchers stated some outright otherworldly possibilities for the creation, including that it might be a diagram detailing how comet ISON was/is actually a space transportation system, that it stood for iridium-192 (a radioactive element aliens desperately need), and even that it might be a warning from aliens that Fukushima's nuclear reactor #3 is beginning to melt down and will contaminate the northern hemisphere.

Others were more on target, stating it looked more like a PC motherboard or computer chip, which in reality it was. Soon after its discovery, it was plowed under, which was like pouring gasoline on a conspiracy fire. The local community was once again in frenzy of speculation regarding UFOs and aliens. All speculations seemingly stopped overnight when it was announced that it was a marketing stunt from tech giant Nvidia, who used little money to promote its new mobile chip Tegra K1, which was unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The chip brings console-quality graphics to mobile devices on par with the PS4 and Xbox One. The Tegra K1 features 192 GPU cores and is outfitted with the same Kepler architecture found in its flagship Titan and GTX 780 series video cards, which feature full DirectX 11 support along with OpenGL 4.4 and Tessellation, as well. The chip also fully supports Nvidia's CUDA computer language.

Audi is reportedly outfitting its new autos with three new in-vehicle systems powered by Nvidia's Tegra visual computing module, which features the K1 GPU, a 4-plus-1 CPU, and dedicated audio, image, and video processors. To put it simply, its VCMs are on the same level as today's high-end mobile devices in terms of processing, but with greater visuals due in part to the incorporation of the K1 chip into the system.

Nvidia's VCMs are the perfect choices for auto manufacturers as the systems are fully modular, allowing them to integrate with the vehicles electrical systems with little to no modification.

Nvidia also unveiled its monster 12K PC gaming set-up at CES that dwarfs any console (and most PCs) currently on the market in terms of raw pixel-pushing power. Its booth consisted of three Panasonic TC-L65WT600 65-inch 4K displays that feature a combined 12,000 pixels (12K) of ultra-HD greatness. Powering those displays is a custom-made Origin PC that features 64GB of DDR3, an Intel Ivy Bridge-E processor, and no less than four Nvidia Titan video cards. Why use the Titan instead of the more affordable and sometimes faster GTX 780 Ti? Simple, because each Titan offers 6GB of onboard memory, which acts as a frame buffer that's capable of efficiently pushing a massive 1.5 billion pixels per-second. This powerful system was demonstrated by running Project Cars across the three massive displays. Sadly, the set-up is relatively too expensive for most gamers to get their hands on. The three displays alone will set you back around $15,000, and another $10,000 to $15,000 for the PC outfitted with four Titans, which is out of the ballpark for most gamers.

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About the Author(s)

Cabe Atwell

Cabe is an electrical engineer, machinist, maker, cartoonist, and author with 25 years’ experience. When not designing/building, he creates a steady stream of projects and content in the media world at element14, Hackster.io, MAKE ─ among others. His most recent book is “Essential 555 IC: Design, Configure, and Create Clever Circuits.

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