First Stats to Substantiate Nvidia’s Tegra K1 ‘Super’Chip Appear – Wattage finally revealed

Usman Pirzada
Posted Apr 30, 2014
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The issue of Tegra K1’s draw raised alot of voices in the past few months. Many people speculated on the same and a famous website even ”revealed” it to be somewhere around 45-60 Watts ‘of the whole package’. Well, we finally have the official stats of the K1 with us and it does not consume anything anywhere near 45 Watts. The actual wattage consumption is <11 Watts with very high clocks and 100% loads. However mobile devices very rarely utilize super-high clocks, preferring power saving over performance. Therefore, with low clocks the wattage should be somewhere around anywhere around 5-8 Watts depending on the exact configuration. Tegra K1

Performance Numbers to Substantiate the ‘Super’ Prefix Appear – Tegra K1 Jetson Chip Wattage Finally Revealed

Now on to the actual stats revealed. The Tegra K1 Jetson Development Kit was actually pit against Nvidia’s high end Teskla K40 GPU in a battle of efficiency  (a single K40 will of course absolutely destroy a K1 in terms of 1 on 1 performance). Now here’s the catch, the K40 draws a massive number of watts and also requires a CPU to function while the Tegra K1 naturally houses all the required components on die. In terms of super computing and number crunching this is quite an advantage to be had. Especially if you are talking about integration into future vehicles where housing full fledged dGPUs would be unpractical and unwieldy. Without further ado, the numbers of the Tegra K1 Jetson Development kit:

WCCFTech.com  Tesla K40 + CPU  Nvidia Tegra K21
Single Precision Peak  4.2 TeraFlops  326 GFlops
Single Precision SGEMM  3.8 TeraFlops  290 GFlops
Memory  12GB @ 288GB/s  2GB @ 14.9GB/s
Power (CPU + GPU) ~ 385Watt  <11Watts
Performance Per Watt  10SP GFlops Per Watt  26SP GFlops Per Watt

As you can see, 1 on 1 the Tegra K1 is no match for the K40. However when we start talking about Performance per Watt, which is very important to a niche market, the  K1 SoC really shines. It almost triples (x2.6) the single precision per watt of the Teska K40 which is an impressive feat. For the power consumption of the K40 + CPU you could have 10+ TFlops SP, 70Gb DRAM @500+ GB/s and that is nothing short of absolutely remarkable. If the VCM (Tegra K1 vehicle module ) is  to really be implemented in future cars then the package needs to be very rugged and compact, namely an SoC.

Ideally it would be passively cooled to minimize any moving parts that could break after extended use. And of course the vehicle industry is one thing. A super computer could utilize the Tegra K1 SoC to achieve very high efficiency rates, but at that count, Nvidia will have to wait. In the HPC sector, SoCs are still not completely trusted. The reason being that an HPC cluster might have a very custom instruction set, it might not even be x86. Intel’s Co-processors had difficulty breaching the entry barrier even though Intel is one of the most reliable companies around. So bottom line, this is certainly a brilliant achievement, but the only realistic potential it currently has is the vehicle sector, HPC is definitely possible, but would take time before it comes to pass.If the VCM (Tegra K1 vehicle module ) is  to really be implemented in future cars then the package needs to be very rugged and compact, namely an SoC.

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