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NVIDIA Tegra K1: First Mobile Chip With Hardware-Accelerated OpenCL

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the bragging-rights dept.

Graphics 52

New submitter shervinemami writes (starting with a pretty big disclaimer: "I'm an Engineer at NVIDIA.") The latest CompuBench GPU benchmarks show NVIDIA's Tegra K1 running whole OpenCL algorithms around 5x faster than any other mobile device, and individual instructions around 20x faster! This huge jump is because mobile companies have been saying they support OpenCL on mobile devices since early 2013, but what they don't mention is that they only have software API support, not hardware-accelerated OpenCL running faster on their GPUs than CPUs. Now that NVIDIA's Tegra-K1 chip has started shipping in devices and thus is available for full benchmarking, it is clearly the only mobile chip that actually gives you proper hardware-accelerated OpenCL (and CUDA of course!). The K1 is also what's in Google's Project Tango 3-D mapping tablet.

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I have K-9 9th generation K-1 (2)

deysOfBits (2198798) | about 3 months ago | (#47642897)

ALL it does is bark WTF?

Re:I have K-9 9th generation K-1 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643069)

ALL it does is bark WTF?

You must have a defective version. Maybe you should take it to see a doctor. [wikipedia.org]

I've been watching this (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 3 months ago | (#47642947)

I have the Asus Transformer Prime 201 with the Tegra 3 and it is/was a pretty damn good CPU. The tablet is still quite useful despite being a few years old. I skipped the Tegra 4s and have been waiting for K1 powered tablets. I do a fair bit of gaming on my tablet and I can't wait to see what developers do with the K1.

Re:I've been watching this (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | about 3 months ago | (#47643297)

I have the Asus Transformer Prime 201 with the Tegra 3 and it is/was a pretty damn good CPU. The tablet is still quite useful despite being a few years old. I skipped the Tegra 4s and have been waiting for K1 powered tablets. I do a fair bit of gaming on my tablet and I can't wait to see what developers do with the K1.

Then I assume you know NVIDIA just came out with their K1-powered SHIELD tablet that is focused on gaming and also has a decent stylus. 8 inches, 16GB wifi only version is $300. It's the first tablet to check all of the boxes for me so I ordered one last week (though it's still not here).

Re:I've been watching this (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 3 months ago | (#47643317)

I have the Asus Transformer Prime 201 with the Tegra 3 and it is/was a pretty damn good CPU. The tablet is still quite useful despite being a few years old. I skipped the Tegra 4s and have been waiting for K1 powered tablets. I do a fair bit of gaming on my tablet and I can't wait to see what developers do with the K1.

Then I assume you know NVIDIA just came out with their K1-powered SHIELD tablet that is focused on gaming and also has a decent stylus. 8 inches, 16GB wifi only version is $300. It's the first tablet to check all of the boxes for me so I ordered one last week (though it's still not here).

Yes, I do. I'm waiting for a few other options to come out. I really prefer the 10" format of my Asus so I'm hoping they announce a new Transformer powered by the K1 soon. I have been considering the Shield though.

Re:I've been watching this (1)

Vastad (1299101) | about 3 months ago | (#47650137)

Funnily enough, the Shield's size was a deal breaker for me too. I have the Nexus 10 and I'm still very happy with it and its screen real estate. I had zero desire to get any other tablet until I saw and read about the shield. Expecially for that price point. But I just can't see the point of dropping 2" in screen size when I'm an avid digital comic/manga reader.

I'm not even that keen on the gaming, I'm just blown away by all that processing power for less than the price of my Nexus 10 from two years ago!

Re:I've been watching this (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 3 months ago | (#47652231)

I love my Transformer for a number of reasons. It's really a tiny laptop, for one. I don't do a lot of document editing on it but I can and have. I can plug a USB->Serial cable into it and console into firewalls, routers, etc. I can VPN in to either work or home then use RDP to do real work if I have to. The gaming part is just icing on the cake. I sometimes travel a lot and having a lightweight Netflix/Gaming device is a huge boon to me.

Re:I've been watching this (1)

jandrese (485) | about 3 months ago | (#47644875)

I have a Iconia Tab with a Tegra 2, and am pretty pissed at how fast nVidia dropped driver support for the chip. I'm stuck on an ancient version of Android because of it.

Re:I've been watching this (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 months ago | (#47645239)

of course, they totally learned their lesson and won't be making that mistake again!

Re:I've been watching this (1)

marsu_k (701360) | about 3 months ago | (#47645433)

I had a Transformer Infinity (TF700 is the official moniker, I think), also powered by a Tegra 3. Combined with a 1920x1200 display (that was great though) the results were not good. This is due to memory bandwidth on a Tegra 3, which is simply not enough for that resolution. I'm not saying they haven't improved since - I certainly hope so - but I'll wait for actual reviews (not just a few benchmarks) before getting excited. That, and my 2013 Nexus 7 will probably serve me well for a year or two.

Re:I've been watching this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651775)

That's odd, I have a B&N Nook HD+ powered by some random PowerVR GPU. It has no problem driving the 1920x1280 display, which is slightly higher resolution than your tablet.

Tools available? (2)

Vincent77 (660967) | about 3 months ago | (#47642951)

Does it have tools support for OpenCL? For Geforce there is no tools support and without it, and I've found out the hard way that it's too difficult to make it perform without proper insights that tools can give.

Re:Tools available? (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 3 months ago | (#47644505)

There is currently no published dev tools for OpenCL for the tegrak1. If you want to do development for a *specific* device that has a k1 (such as the shield tablet) you need to use the tegra android development pack, and guess what, it does NOT support CL yet. The OP is reporting on something that is not even out yet.

https://developer.nvidia.com/t... [nvidia.com]

Since google has not put their weight behind OpenCL any CL development you do for android will be very device specific. So the fragmentation issue that Apple bashes Android for is very real if you want to use CL...

Google should do something (and soon) because Apple's metal API supports GPU compute workloads. Sure you can do GPGPU using OpenGL ES but that is more limited in scope than a full CL implementation...

Re:Tools available? (1)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#47645873)

Google should do something (and soon) because Apple's metal API supports GPU compute workloads. Sure you can do GPGPU using OpenGL ES but that is more limited in scope than a full CL implementation...

First, I consider this a very cool development, that a major GPU manufacturer actually caught on that people use their hardware for more than just gaming. That said...

Be careful what you wish for. Offloading work from a CPU to a power-hungry GPU makes tons of sense in a desktop, or even server (for certain workloads) environment - ie, "plugged in". Doing the same on a mobile device, not so much. On IOS, people have consistently reported drastically reduced runtimes per battery charge when running "hardware accelerated" apps. And don't take that as a rant against Apple - I have no doubt we'll see the exact same problem when Android finally standardizes similar support.

False. (5, Informative)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 3 months ago | (#47643003)

The Nexus 10 I purchased on launch day had a working OpenCL implementation. I ran some kernels on it and it was definitely GPU accelerated. A software update actually removed the CL driver later on as Google backtracked on CL support and began promoting their Renderscript instead.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/... [anandtech.com]

Also, the nVidia jetson-tk1 that I purchased does NOT have a working OpenCL implementation.

Look at the comments from the nvidia employee: http://devblogs.nvidia.com/par... [nvidia.com]

This article is just free advertising for nVidia, and its false information too!

They make great hardware, why do they have to be so damn dishonest all the time?

Re:False. (5, Informative)

shervinemami (1270718) | about 3 months ago | (#47643081)

The Anandtech article clearly mentions that OpenCL in Nexus 10 was an unsupported feature that hackers figured out how to use but it wasn't actually intended for developers to use officially, hence why it disappeared soon after an update. So I guess you are right that Tegra K1 is perhaps not the first mobile chip to do GPU accelerated OpenCL, but it is the first one to officially offer it and provide full support to ensure it runs well without bugs and without high power draw, etc.

And yes it's true that the Jetson TK1 embedded Linux board doesn't support OpenCL at all, but that is due to Linux OS related issues. There are only OpenCL drivers for Tegra K1 on Android, not Linux (unfortunately!). That doesn't change the fact that the Tegra K1 chip supports hardware-accelerated OpenCL on Android.

So I don't see either of those 2 points as being false information or dishonest.

Re:False. (2, Insightful)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 3 months ago | (#47643371)

"Tegra K1 ... is the first one to officially offer it (OpenCL)"
"TK1 embedded Linux board doesn't support OpenCL at all"

^^^That's some fine nVidia double-think right there ^^^

"Tegra K1 chip supports hardware-accelerated OpenCL on Android."

Ahh there it is, finally the cold hard truth. Took us a little bit of time to get to the truth now, hmmm?

"but that is due to Linux OS related issues"

Oh we are back to playing loose with the truth now!

So we have Cuda on TK1 but not CL because of Linux OS issues. Yeah, right. This site is the PERFECT place to finger-point at Linux so thank you for providing us with some weekend entertainment!

Re:False. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643821)

Your comprehension skills are shit, aspie.

Re:False. (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 3 months ago | (#47644549)

If I really wanted to bash the jetson TK1 I would probably talk about how it lacks any kind of official wifi support...you have to use a community created kernel to get wifi support, because nVidia punted on the issue for whatever reason. buyer beware! Meanwhile the $35 raspberry pi (and its official raspbian linux) has supported wifi for a long time now. For the price nVidia is charging they really need to increase their support/maintenance of Jetson tk1. Its a shame because the cuda samples for Jetson really show that the GPU is quite capable.

Re:False. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643383)

Even that isn't true. GPU vendors support OpenCL on their chips, and hardware accelerated (whatever that really means, given that OpenCL is really a software standard with little fixed function). Whether mobile phone vendors expose that is a different question. Sony is a good example of one mobile phone vendor that very openly does support it.

Linux issues??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47645815)

You say that with a straight face? Nvidia is trying to promote CUDA and only reluctantly ever "does" OpenCL. So for Linux they don't even make drivers for OpenCL, only CUDA. How is that a "Linux OS related issue" and not an Nvidia not playing nice with OpenCL issue?

Re:False. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643085)

I know my nexus 7 with tegra 3, they advertised profiling tools and such. They weren't released/supported on my nexus 7 until tegra 4 was already starting to ship. I wouldn't doubt the device has Cuda cores, just there isn't the software to run it yet.

Re:False. (1)

Calibax (151875) | about 3 months ago | (#47643095)

nVidia makes the chips and very recently a couple of reference designs and retail tablets. They don't make the OS and other software.

As you pointed out, Google (not nVidia) removed support for CL rendering to push their own product. I'm sure nVidia was unhappy about that as it removed one of their competitive advantages.

With the Tegra K1, nVidia is pointing out (quite rightly) that their hardware supports a bunch of new things. nVidia's literature describes the Jetson-TK1 as a development kit, not a product. It is made available so that people can write software that supports the features in the hardware

I completely fail to see where nVidia has been dishonest in this.

Re:False. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643269)

> As you pointed out, Google (not nVidia) removed support for CL rendering to push their own product.

I.e. exactly the same situation as with the Nexus 10, which originally supported OpenCL and was released ages ago.
The are not only not the first, they are a long way after the first. Probably they are not even second, I believe quite a few mobile devices are OpenCL-conformant (and yes, of course running things on the GPU).

Re:False. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643613)

off topic, but gotta say im excited for NVidia's next couple generations of GPUs. stacked dram!!!

if ati/amd used stacked dram too (likely) I may make the switch... as long as I can reliably force different flavors of AA (NVidia used to be the undisputed king at this)

Re: False. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643723)

NVIDIA's stacked dram is going to be delivered by Hynix/AMD, so check your sources.

Re:False. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 months ago | (#47645677)

ARM's Mali has supported OpenCL (not just the mobile subset) for a couple of generations too. The problem is that Google hates OpenCL and tries hard to make sure that it doesn't work on Android. I don't know what makes nVidia think that they're different in this regard.

WOW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643029)

Just like the iPhone 5s...

Re:WOW (1)

shervinemami (1270718) | about 3 months ago | (#47643149)

Recent iPhones certainly have very powerful PowerVR GPUs, and Apple was the original creator of OpenCL. But can you show any benchmarks or proof that iPhone 5S allows GPU-accelerated OpenCL apps?

Re:WOW (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 3 months ago | (#47643693)

OpenCL is not available on iOS. Nor does it look like it ever will be. Apple still promotes the OpenCL project, but for GPU compute on iOS devices they have indicated that they are putting their efforts behind their new Metal API, which is generic enough that it can be used for graphics or compute.

Why another crappy wide-screen table NVIDIA??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643063)

I really wanted to buy the Shield Tablet from you guys. It would be nice to have the play store built in and an actual warranty and support from an American company. But no, I had to order a Xiaomi MiPad from China just to get a usable aspect ratio. Can't wait for mine to come in the mail. I really didn't want to have to order an unsupported/semi-warrantied product from china with a 3rd party rom without full English support, but you guys just had to release another crappy, long, skinny oversized phone of a tablet.

When will you guys realize that nobody wants an oversized phone for a tablet? It's too short to use in landscape mode, especially with the on screen nav-keys and notification bar. Makes it unusable to use the web. And in portrait mode its just freaking awkward and not wide enough to show websites and articles well.

Yeah, widescreen works for phone. I hate Apple and would never buy an Apple product, but just admit they got the form factor for tablets right and bite off their swag.

At least the Chinese companies aren't afraid to say "if you can't beat em, join em". At least Xiaomi got it right.... Hopefully they can get the software hacked together so its usable at some point...
 

Re:Why another crappy wide-screen table NVIDIA??? (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 3 months ago | (#47643817)

Xiaomi MiPad

Wow. A 4:3 aspect ratio?

Do they per chance also have matte/non-glossy screens?

Re:Why another crappy wide-screen table NVIDIA??? (1)

jandrese (485) | about 3 months ago | (#47644869)

Matte screens and touchscreens are not a great combo. They're too hard to clean fingerprints off of.

and nobody bought one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643285)

Look as much as I like the idea of competition. The "competion" is basically
Microsoft Surface, using an x86 Intel part and terrible battery life/touch screen, it's selling point is "it's still windows"
Android, which uses weak Mali cores or sometimes better Adreno (which were developed by ATI, before AMD bought them out) GPU cores. Android vendors only care about shipping quantity not quality.
Apple uses PowerVR cores which are at the top of all benchmarks, and still last half a day on a battery.

So along comes nVidia with this Tegra chip that nobody is using, so they put out their own game console that nobody wants. Everyone needs to learn the lesson of the Ouya, nobody will develop for devices that are easily hacked to play pirated software. Considering how difficult it is to develop for Android, may as well just develop for Apple, and only backport software after you've made enough money on the Apple site to warrant it. If there's no interest, don't bother. Nobody will develop for Android first because they need to make the software assets 3 times larger just to cover the different GPU types.

PC abandoned? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47643531)

Everyone needs to learn the lesson of the Ouya, nobody will develop for devices that are easily hacked to play pirated software.

Your claim means nobody will develop for PCs. Yet developers do in fact develop for PCs.

What's the point of OpenCL on mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643405)

Serious question here, what is the point of OpenCL on mobile devices? Can websites use it? If apps can use it, what is it good for?

Re:What's the point of OpenCL on mobile (2)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 3 months ago | (#47644525)

image processing of the device's camera output would be one such use...

NVIDIA Tegra K1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643441)

Does this mean that games will run faster than the gtx 790? Cool! now I just need an HD widescreen monitor.

Re:NVIDIA Tegra K1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643465)

scratch that. I missed the phrase "mobile device"... ah, I'm too sleepy to read anything. lol

Very misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643565)

A number of mobile IHVs have had conformant OpenCL implementations for quite a while now. If your HW has back-end support for compute shaders then writing an OpenCL front-end for it isn't a big deal.

http://www.khronos.org/conformance/adopters/conformant-products

Re:Very misleading (2)

shervinemami (1270718) | about 3 months ago | (#47643893)

"Conformant" does not mean it is actually running faster due to GPU hardware acceleration. On mobile, "conformant" OpenCL usually just means it runs on the CPU or runs on the GPU at a very slow speed, as opposed to Tega K1 that is giving clear GPU speedups.

Re:Very misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644019)

Completely agree that conformant != performant, but disagree than OpenCL on mobile means usually running on the CPU. Adreno, Mali and Rogue were delivering similar relative speed-ups (vs the CPU) over a year ago.

http://leapconf.com/tag/opencl-2/

Re:Very misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47644183)

While I know that you must know this, for the benefit of everyone else conformance is linked to a specific device. If a vendor says they are conformant on a particular GPU then that is what they are running on. OpenCL doesn't have to run faster on the GPU than the CPU, there's no intrinsic reason to imagine that it should.

value to phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47643573)

What is the benefit of OpenCL on my phone? I can mine some bitcoins if I want to warm my pocket for an hour before the battery is dead?

TBH on the PC the only notable game with GPCPU was Civ5 for some insignificant texture compression thing AFAICT.

I love the tech, but in practice this isn't going to mean anything for nVidia.

sorry, but this is BS (4, Informative)

awb131 (159522) | about 3 months ago | (#47643593)

NVIDIA is not supplying a proper OpenCL toolchain for the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS-based developer's kit for the Jetson Tegra TK1 hardware. As a result, it is effectively not possible to develop OpenCL applications for the chip, unless you are a big enough operator to develop your own OpenCL compiler. If you click through to TFA, you will note that I pointed this out months ago. Claiming that OpenCL is properly supported for this hardware by NVIDIA is simply not true.

Re:sorry, but this is BS (3, Insightful)

shervinemami (1270718) | about 3 months ago | (#47643873)

OpenCL isn't supported by Tegra K1 on Linux4Tegra (ie: Jetson TK1 embedded board) but it is clearly supported on Android, hence why this benchmark was able to execute and post results.

Re:sorry, but this is BS (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 3 months ago | (#47644783)

and where is the sdk/tools needed to run CL kernels on the shield tablet so your results can be recreated?

Re:sorry, but this is BS (1)

shervinemami (1270718) | about 3 months ago | (#47644961)

I haven't used the Shield Tablet so I'm not sure (I only have a Jetson TK1, that uses CUDA on Linux). It isn't possible to directly compare CUDA on Tegra K1 versus CUDA on any other mobile device, whereas there are obviously many competing devices supporting OpenCL, so the linked benchmark results are probably the closest thing there is to an apples-to-apples comparison of GPGPU compute performance on Tegra K1 versus all the competition. If a marketing slide on the NVIDIA website said Tegra K1 gets 5x boost in OpenCL compared to the next contendor then I'd understand the skepticism, but the linked results are for the industry-wide standard benchmark used for GPGPU comparisons.

Benchmarks should always be taken with some skepticism, but as an Engineer (not a Marketer) I know that Tegra K1's GPU really does optimize many whole algorithms by around 5x compared to competing mobile devices, so this isn't BS.

Re:sorry, but this is BS (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 3 months ago | (#47646561)

I just LOVE the part where you didn't even answer my fucking question!

Pointless because Android will not support it. (2)

goruka (1721094) | about 3 months ago | (#47645679)

Google "do not be evil" single handedly decided that OpenCL will never run on Android and instead is pushing for their crappy alternative, RenderScript:

https://code.google.com/p/andr... [google.com]

No matter how valid the arguments of those who favor OpenCL are, Google just answers with FUD.

Proof by contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47656311)

http://shop.intrinsyc.com/collections/qualcomm/products/mdp-tablet-powered-by-snapdragon-805-processor
http://shop.intrinsyc.com/products/snapdragon-800-series-apq8074-based-dragonboard-development-kit-1

All of these support OpenCL execution on the GPU (as does the older 8064 MDP tablet which is over two years old and isn't sold anymore). Note that the 8064 and 8074/8974 are not just available as a development boards - they have actually been in real non-development consumer devices for quite some time.

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