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NVIDIA Tegra K1: First Mobile Chip With Hardware-Accelerated OpenCL 52

Posted by timothy
from the bragging-rights dept.
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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NVIDIA Tegra K1: First Mobile Chip With Hardware-Accelerated OpenCL

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  • 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.

    • 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).

      • 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.

        • by Vastad (1299101)

          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!

          • 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.

    • by jandrese (485)
      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.
    • by marsu_k (701360)
      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.
  • 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.
    • by WilyCoder (736280)

      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 b

      • by pla (258480)
        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 certa
  • False. (Score:5, Informative)

    by WilyCoder (736280) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @03:10PM (#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. (Score:5, Informative)

      by shervinemami (1270718) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @03:26PM (#47643081) Homepage

      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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by WilyCoder (736280)

        "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.

      • by Vincent77 (660967)
        False. Sony Xperia has it officially supported since a year. http://developer.sonymobile.co... [sonymobile.com] For the current state of OpenCL on smartphones, see: http://streamcomputing.eu/blog... [streamcomputing.eu]
    • by Calibax (151875) *

      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 prod

    • 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.
  • by awb131 (159522) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @05:26PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shervinemami (1270718)

      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.

      • by WilyCoder (736280)

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

        • 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

  • by goruka (1721094) on Monday August 11, 2014 @06:07AM (#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.

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