At the SIGGRAPH conference going on this week, Nvidia has made a potentially huge announcement regarding the future of mobile gaming: the company is bringing its Kepler graphics architecture to mobile devices via its Project Logan next-gen mobile processor. Nvidia compares this development to the rollout of the first GPU, the GeForce 256, 14 years ago. Logan as a platform, with its Kepler GPU, jumps mobile computing ahead by the equivalent of seven years’ worth of advancement, says Nvidia.
Mobile devices haven’t had GPUs available with true, full desktop feature set support before now, Nvidia says. That includes things like better rendering and simulation techniques, like tessellation, advanced physics and anti-aliasing and the ability to calculate lighting effect rendering in a single pass. All of which is pretty technical, but ultimately means that a lot of the tricks and capabilities available to console gaming will now be brought to mobile devices.
Kepler is already in use in desktop GPUs, and in Nvidia’s desktop designs it can take on general purpose computing as well to help with the processing workload even when you’re not playing Call of Duty. Kepler on mobile can also offer this, which means that mobile apps featuring things like computational imaging, computer vision, AR or speech recognition would be able to benefit from the Kepler GPU and take advantage not only of its processing power, but also its power efficiency.
To demonstrate Kepler’s power, Nvidia released a video which showed a realistic human head model being generated in real-time. The demo itself isn’t new – it was shown off earlier this year on a desktop PC using Kepler. But this time around, the mobile Logan processor with Kepler is powering the rendering, which makes this a pretty stark proof of the kind of effect that Kepler could have on the state of mobile gaming, and mobile computing overall.
Many believe that mobile and desktop gaming are not on a collision course – each will have its place, and serve different functions owing to different graphics capabilities, control schemes and more. But with Kepler, Nvidia is showing that it’s delivering the technology to enable a further blurring of the line between desktop and mobile, and delivering it well ahead of when some people thought that might happen.