Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang debuted new and upcoming graphics technology on Tuesday including the $3,000 high-end Titan Z graphics card, the next generation Pascal GPU and a cloud-computing partnership with VMWare.
During a keynote speech at Nvidia's annual GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, Calif., NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang updated the company's public GPU roadmap with the announcement of Pascal, the GPU family that will follow this year’s Maxwell GPUs.
Named for 17th century French mathematician Blaise Pascal, Nvidia's next-generation family of GPUs will include three key new features: stacked DRAM, unified memory, and NVLink.
- 3D Memory: Stacks DRAM chips into dense modules with wide interfaces, and brings them inside the same package as the GPU. This lets GPUs get data from memory more quickly – boosting throughput and efficiency – allowing us to build more compact GPUs that put more power into smaller devices. The result: several times greater bandwidth, more than twice the memory capacity and quadrupled energy efficiency.
- Unified Memory: This will make building applications that take advantage of what both GPUs and CPUs can do quicker and easier by allowing the CPU to access the GPU’s memory, and the GPU to access the CPU’s memory, so developers don’t have to allocate resources between the two.
- NVLink: Today’s computers are constrained by the speed at which data can move between the CPU and GPU. NVLink puts a fatter pipe between the CPU and GPU, allowing data to flow at more than 80GB per second, compared to the 16GB per second available now.
- Pascal Module: NVIDIA has designed a module to house Pascal GPUs with NVLink. At one-third the size of the standard boards used today, they’ll put the power of GPUs into more compact form factors than ever before.
Pascal is due in 2016.
Interestingly, Nvidia's roadmap GPU roadmap does not include the previously announced "Volta" GPU, which was set to succeed the Maxwell chips. Volta was to have 3D memory stacking and unified memory. Nvidia said that Volta would follow Pascal.
On the Tegra side, Parker, which was supposed to feature a Project Dever CPU, a Maxwell GPU and the FinFET process also did not appear in the company's roadmaps. Instead, Nvidia introduced a mobile processor code-named Erista, which is due out next year. It will succeed the upcoming Tegra K1 chip and be based on the Maxwell graphics processor. The K1 chip will be in mobile devices later this year.
Today a typical system has one or more GPUs connected to a CPU using PCI Express. Even at the fastest PCIe 3.0 speeds (8 Giga-transfers per second per lane) and with the widest supported links (16 lanes) the bandwidth provided over this link pales in comparison to the bandwidth available between the CPU and its system memory. In a multi-GPU system, the problem is compounded if a PCIe switch is used. With a switch, the limited PCIe bandwidth to the CPU memory is shared between the GPUs. The resource contention gets even worse when peer-to-peer GPU traffic is factored in.
NVLink addresses this problem by providing a more energy-efficient, high-bandwidth path between the GPU and the CPU at data rates 5 to 12 times that of the current PCIe Gen3. NVLink will provide between 80 and 200 GB/s of bandwidth, allowing the GPU full-bandwidth access to the CPU’s memory system.
The basic building block for NVLink is a high-speed, 8-lane, differential, dual simplex bidirectional link. Our Pascal GPUs will support a number of these links, providing configuration flexibility. The links can be ganged together to form a single GPU↔CPU connection or used individually to create a network of GPU↔CPU and GPU↔GPU connections allowing for fast, efficient data sharing between the compute elements.
When connected to a CPU that does not support NVLink, the interconnect can be wholly devoted to peer GPU-to-GPU connections enabling previously unavailable opportunities for GPU clustering.
Moving data takes energy, which is why we are focusing on making NVLink a very energy efficient interconnect. NVLink is more than twice as efficient as a PCIe 3.0 connection, balancing connectivity and energy efficiency.
Understanding the value of the current ecosystem, in an NVLink-enabled system, CPU-initiated transactions such as control and configuration are still directed over a PCIe connection, while any GPU-initiated transactions use NVLink. This allows us to preserve the PCIe programming model while presenting a huge upside in connection bandwidth.
NVLink and stacked memory enable acceleration of a whole new class of applications. The large increase in GPU memory size and bandwidth provided by stacked memory will enable GPU applications to access a much larger working set of data at higher bandwidth, improving efficiency and computational throughput, and reducing the frequency of off-GPU transfers. Crafting and optimizing applications that can exploit the massive GPU memory bandwidth as well as the CPU↔GPU and GPU↔GPU bandwidth provided by NVLink will allow you to take the next steps towards exascale computing.
NVIDIA CEO also unveiled the $3,000 GeForce GTX TITAN Z. Built around two Kepler GPUs and 12GB of dedicated frame buffer memory, TITAN Z is engineered for next-generation 5K and multi-monitor gaming. With two GK110 chips, TITAN Z is powered by a total of 5,760 processing cores, or 2,880 cores per GPU.
Unlike traditional dual-GPU cards, Titan Z’s twin GPUs are tuned to run at the same clock speed, and with dynamic power balancing. So neither GPU creates a performance bottleneck.
And that performance is delivered in a card that is cool and quiet, rather than hot and loud. Low-profile components and ducted baseplate channels minimize turbulence and improves acoustic quality.
In addition, Nvidia is teaming up with Valve to bring the Portal to SHIELD.
Portal is a hybrid of FPS and puzzle style gaming that creates a a new genre of spatial brain teasers, offering hours of totally unique gameplay.The game requires player to solve puzzles and challenges by opening portals, maneuvering objects, and moving themselves through space in ways that used to be impossible.
Coming soon, Portal will be joining over 300 SHIELD-supported Android games currently available.
In addition, NVIDIA opened the door to the development of a new generation of applications that employ computer vision, image processing and real-time data processing -- with the launch of a developer platform based on the first "mobile supercomputer" for embedded systems.
The NVIDIA Jetson TK1 Development Kit harnesses Tegra K1's compute capabilities to enable new computer-vision applications for robotics, medical, avionics and auto Industries
The NVIDIA Jetson TK1 Developer Kit provides developers with the tools to create systems and applications that can enable robots to navigate, physicians to perform mobile ultrasound scans, drones to avoid moving objects and cars to detect pedestrians.
With performance of 326 gigaflops, the Jetson TK1 Developer Kit includes a full C/C++ toolkit based on NVIDIA CUDA architecture.
At the heart of the Jetson TK1 Developer Kit is the Tegra K1 mobile processor, NVIDIA's 192-core chip built on the NVIDIA Kepler architecture.
The Jetson TK1 Developer Kit comes with the full support of the CUDA 6.0 developer tool suite, including debuggers and profilers to develop parallel applications. CUDA 6 also brings to the ARM platform NVIDIA's accelerated libraries for FFTs, linear algebra, sparse matrix, plus image and video processing.
The Jetson TK1 developer platform includes 2GB memory and input/output connectors for USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4, Gigabit Ethernet, audio, SATA, miniPCIe and an SD card slot. I t comes with a board support package and software stack, including OpenGL 4.4, as well as CUDA and the VisionWorks toolkit. It also includes a complete suite of development and profiling tools, out-of-the-box support for cameras and other peripherals, and NVIDIA's partner support networking including Avionic Design, GE Intelligent Platforms, ICD, SECO and Toshiba DME.
The NVIDIA Jetson TK1 Development Kit can be preordered starting today for $192, in the U.S., from NVIDIA, Microcenter and Newegg.
NVIDIA is also offering a "limited time" price cut for SHLIELD to $199. The original price was $299, which then dropped to $249.
There are additional incentives to go along with the April price cut, of course.
First, in the way of software updates NVIDIA will be providing both a welcome update to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and there will be other enhancements including modifications to the Gamepad Mapper, Bluetooth mouse and keyboard support in Console Mode, and other tweaks and changes.
NVIDIA will be also updating the GameStream client with a new addition: Remote GameStream. The current GameStream is designed to work over your local WiFi network, which limits its use to within your own home. In addition, the GRID Streaming Beta was running for a while with remote access to games rendered on a GRID computing farm and streamed to your SHIELD device. Now theese are being combined with remote streaming from your home PC to your SHIELD device, anywhere you have a WiFi connection – or if you have an LTE connection on your smartphone.
Giving gamers even more ways to play PC games on SHIELD, new Bluetooth keyboard and mouse support lets them pair their SHIELD with an HDTV in console mode and play their favorite keyboard and mouse PC games on their big screens.
And notebook support – also in beta – lets gamers stream to SHIELD from a GeForce GTX-powered notebook PC, including all GeForce GTX 800M, GTX 700M and select GTX 600M GPUs.
Beyond GameStream, a new user interface on our TegraZone app lets you find games with just a touch of the NVIDIA button built into every SHIELD. Nvidia is also making it easier to play more Android games the way you want, by adding a new user interface to SHIELD’s Gamepad Mapper, which lets you play games built for touch on SHIELD’s console-grade controls.
The software release will be hitting devices next week on April 2.