Why is Android's first 64-bit ARM chip with 192-cores so important?
Nvidia has unveiled details on the world's first Android 64-bit ARM processor in its Tegra K1 Denver. This is going to change the way Android mobiles work.
Apple already has a 64-bit chip in its iPhone 5S with A7 processor. This should prove helpful when moving gaming onto tablets as well as making iOS and Mac OS X more compatible. Where Nvidia is different is that 192-core Kepler GPU.
To get an idea of the power of this processor we had a play with Nvidia's Shield Tablet which features the first Tegra K1 with a 32-bit architecture and we were blown away.
It's like console quality graphics and is rated as two to four times faster than the iPad Air or Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4. It's so powerful gamers will even be able to play Steam PC titles over their local network.
Now we jump forward to the Nvidia Tegra K1 Denver with enhanced 64-bit architecture. This should be even more powerful. The difference between 32-bit and 64-bit is like a library assistant with 32 hands or 64 hands. If you ask it to retrieve 256 books it would take the 64-bit assistant half the number of trips, making it twice as fast.
In gaming that should translate to great data delivery and smoother, more life-like graphics.
Taking on PC-level power
On mobiles this 64-bit architecture and 192-core GPU should mean superfast processing that's also efficient on power consumption. Nvidia says the chip will compete on a performance level with Intel's latest Broadwell chips, which are designed for full-power PCs.
And despite being dual-core Denver will achieve significantly higher performance than current quad and octa-core CPUs. With Tegra K1 processors in Chromebooks these processors could make Android to Chrome a far smoother experience.
Smart adaptive power
The Denver processor also features something Nvidia calls Dynamic Code Optimisation. This optimises frequently used routines so they run more efficiently. On a more technical level it does this by doubling "the performance of its raw hardware resources by converting ARM-based software code to optimised microcode routines".
This could mean background data tasks finally can be left on without worrying as much about data and as they will be done twice as efficiently.
Battery life is an area where the K1 Denver will make a big difference. Google has announced that the next major update to Android, dubbed Android L for now, will be focused on conserving power.
This is being called Project Volta and in testing is already showing a 36 per cent battery increase over Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Combine that with the more efficient Tegra K1 Denver CPU and we could be looking at Android devices that last far longer than current smartphones can manage.
Nvidia's Tegra K1 Denver processor will be appearing later this year in Android phones.