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NVIDIA "Glowball" demo
NVIDIA's Kal-El features quad CPU cores, and 12 GPU cores

We first brought you news of NVIDIA's superhero-esque Kal-El processor back in February. Now, NVIDIA is showcasing some demo footage of what this new mobile processor can actually achieve.

Kal-El is powerful enough to allow real-time dynamic lighting in mobile games and applications which is something that today's mobile GPUs either struggle with or simply are not capable of delivering.

The "Glowball" demo [YouTube video] shows a ball rolling through a room casting light over all of the objects in the room. Real-time physics are on display, which are made possible by using Kal-El's four processing cores. The person running the demo showed that running with two cores disabled, but it's is nearly unplayable in that configuration. 

If "Glowball" is an indication of where future smartphone and tablet games are headed with regards to art direction and real-time effects, it appears that we are in good hands with the new hardware that is coming out this fall. Just as we saw with games like Infinity Blade which push current dual-core tablet hardware to the max, Kal-El will once again raise the bar for developers. 

For those that are keeping score, Kal-El features four CPU cores and 12 GPU cores. It will have five times the performance and lower power consumption than Tegra 2 (which is used in today's Honeycomb tablets).



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From a gaming perspective ...
By 2ManyOptions on 5/30/2011 9:56:36 AM , Rating: 2
While this sounds good, I can't but think if gaming on a 4-5" inch display will be that thrilling. Also, are there any console/PC like games available which can run on any of the tablet OS which this is targeted at? This is not going to targeted at Angry Birds Extreme or something like that in future, so there should be games/apps which can utilize the power of these many cores.




RE: From a gaming perspective ...
By tviceman on 5/30/2011 10:01:13 AM , Rating: 2
If you build it, they will come. ...or something...


RE: From a gaming perspective ...
By Ushio01 on 5/30/2011 10:03:43 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah I mean it's not like the gameboy with it's 2.6" screen was a success ... Oh wait.


RE: From a gaming perspective ...
By Da W on 5/30/2011 10:20:36 AM , Rating: 2
Not to forget that non-apple tablets will be fragmented like crazy with all sorts of models having all sort of GPU power. Like the PC, but on a MUCH smaller scale. Why would you develop a game that max-out Kal-El performance if you have only a 3-5 million user market? Games run on the lowest common denominator.


RE: From a gaming perspective ...
By andre-bch on 5/30/2011 10:28:08 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe they can develop the game with different graphical levels and then put a mechanism in it to detect the SOC it's running on and then select the appropriate level automatically.


RE: From a gaming perspective ...
By 2ManyOptions on 5/30/2011 10:32:06 AM , Rating: 2
Something like Optimus for a smartphone/tablet? It might be in the making already!


RE: From a gaming perspective ...
By andre-bch on 5/30/2011 11:56:16 AM , Rating: 2
I'm talking about games, not hardware. Imagine "Glow Ball" with three different graphical settings: low, medium, high.
Low for Tegra 2, medium for a possible dual-core Kal-El, high for quad-core Kal-El.
You install the game, it detects the processor, and automatically selects the right setting.


RE: From a gaming perspective ...
By 2ManyOptions on 5/30/2011 10:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would you develop a game that max-out Kal-El performance if you have only a 3-5 million user market?

I hope NVidia might have an answer, a very compelling answer :) . A fantastic piece of hardware is overkill if there is no software to utilize it. If the same work can be done by Tegra 2/Snapdragon etc. then why even bother?
There aren't many softwares (excluding games) out there that the "regular/casual desktop user" has, which extracts all the juice out of a Core i5/7 for that matter.


RE: From a gaming perspective ...
By Da W on 5/30/2011 11:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, and sales of Core i5/i7 is not as good as intel would like it to be.

As far as gaming goes, the industry toke a major shift to console games years ago. The key: common, long lasting architecture. And even if Crysis 2 on Xbox looks nothing like the PC version, i'm sure they get a whole lot more cash from the Xbox version.

I think one solution from Nvidia might be Microsoft. They seem to have adopted tegra 2 for their windows 8 tablets. And if Windows phone are any indication, the strategy seems to adopt a new hardware upgrade once per year and have every devices to run on the same format. Something Android cannot do because of its open source nature.


By Subzero0000 on 5/30/2011 9:48:08 PM , Rating: 2
@2ManyOptions

You are looking at the wrong direction.
Think about PSP/NDS in the form of a tablet.


Near console level power in a phone
By B3an on 5/30/2011 7:47:50 AM , Rating: 1
From everything i know about Kal-El it looks roughly equal to a Nvidia 6600 in terms of 3D graphics performance. Which isn't too far off from 360/PS3 level graphics. The next update after Kal-El (named: Wayne) will probably match these consoles.

For CPU power it's meant to already be faster than a Core 2 Duo, but Nvidia dont say which one (i'm guessing the slowest model).




RE: Near console level power in a phone
By dagamer34 on 5/30/2011 8:21:15 AM , Rating: 2
T7200 (Core 2 Duo 2.0 Ghz) was first released July 2006. It was a 35W chip.


By corduroygt on 5/30/2011 11:05:03 AM , Rating: 2
Those were cooked benchmarks though, old version of gcc and a worthless coremark numbers which scale linearly with number of cores, whereas in the real world nothing scales 1:1 with number of cores.


Mistakes
By dananski on 5/30/2011 9:11:41 AM , Rating: 2
1st paragraph: "...can actually do achieve." Should be "do" or "achieve" - you can't have both.

2nd paragraph: "or simply not capable" should be "or are simply not capable".

Anyway.. I'm hugely impressed that smartphones are embracing multiple cores like this. Hopefully developers will make use of the cores for their programs. As far as graphics goes I'm not too bothered on a mobile device - more of a desktop gamer myself.




RE: Mistakes
By drewidgho5t on 5/30/2011 4:53:41 PM , Rating: 2
Remember when editors were people not software. Provided they (the editor) were educated properly (ie. corporal punishment for typos and improper grammar structure) the media source would be considered not only credible, but would be used as a reference source.
Now? People in glass houses throwing bricks. Wtf??? "As far as graphics goes..." that pesky double negative applies or in this case double plural >>"As far as graphic design() go(es)..." OR "As far as graphic(s) go()..."
Where's the english teacher when you need her?
For what its worth, I would rather enjoy dailytech as a science/technology site, than an english lit site. Having grown up in an immigrant neighbourhood, the 2nd born of first generation Canadians, the rebuttal I commonly heard was, "If their (Italian, German, Swedish, Spanish, Japanese, Polish, Korean) is better than my english, than I welcome their input. If not..." NOT ONCE was the input welcome. Perhaps because people who spoke multiple languages would seldom be so critical.

I DO ACKNOWLEDGE that often people who are trying to learn english openly invite commentary such as been put forth by Dananski. I most certainly am not saying that Dananski has been rude. I'm just sayin that I hope Dananski works @ a glass factory ;-)


Besides Gaming...
By Ramstark on 5/30/2011 11:56:33 AM , Rating: 2
Leaving the gaming aside, this kind of power in a portable device is one of the wet dreams of graphical designers. Much of the work when doing "in site" jobs can be done in a powerful "macbook pro-esque" Laptop, now, using the touch capabilities of the tablet devices, designers could do the "last time" modifications in site, quickly and never sending another 50MB email...leaving the net bandwidth to us ;)




By 3minence on 5/31/2011 9:32:51 AM , Rating: 2
nVidia's future was looking tough as both Intel and AMD started integrated the GPU with the x86 CPU. nVidia responded by finding a different CPU (ARM) to integrate with. I don't know which one will "win" the tablet/smartphone CPU war, but it is nice to have a imaginative and innovate company like nVidia competing with Intel and AMD. When Intel doesn't have competition, it stops trying. This should keep them on their toes with us consumers being the winners.




Better then the ipad
By Applesux on 6/1/2011 4:07:52 AM , Rating: 2
Nvidia quad core will have flash, upgradeable storage, 1440P resolution and suppose to be 3D glassless viewing. I tried using a few tech sites that I look at on friends ipad and I couldn't...Legoblock..... So, I am waiting for this to come out.




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