The Siggraph professional graphics conference is in full swing in Anaheim, California. Nvidia is there, and it's taken the opportunity to spill some details about the graphics built into Project Logan, the successor to its Tegra 4 system-on-a-chip.
Project Logan will be the first SoC to feature graphics based on Nvidia's Kepler architecture. Nvidia claims that's "as big a milestone for mobile" as the release of the original GeForce GPU was for the PC in 1999. Thanks to Kepler, Project Logan will be able to serve up the same kind of visual goodness as desktop GPUs, including tessellation and hardware-accelerated physics. DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.4, and OpenGL ES 3.0 will all be supported.
At the same time, Nvidia says it's tuned Kepler for mobile applications by adding a "new low-power inter-unit interconnect and extensive new optimizations." As a result, mobile Kepler will use much less power than its desktop cousin. In fact, Nvidia claims mobile Kepler will draw "less than one third" as much power as the graphics hardware inside the latest iPad, even when "performing the same rendering."
The first Project Logan silicon came back from the fab a couple weeks ago, and it's already capable of churning out some high-class eye candy. Here's a version of the "Ira" facial simulation demo running on a Project Logan reference tablet platform:
Nvidia quotes power consumption of just 2-3W for this demo. It's not clear if that wattage applies just to Project Logan chip or to the entire platform, but the figure is impressive either way.
The other demo video in the announcement shows Project Logan cranking out tessellated water:
Last we heard, Project Logan was scheduled to enter mass production early next year, presumably in preparation for a launch later in 2014. We may see other vendors deliver Kepler-powered SoCs in the not-too-distant future, too. Last month, Nvidia announced that it would start licensing its Kepler GPU core and graphics patents to "device manufacturers."