CES 2014: Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA for the Mobile, Desktop, and Livingroom Gamer
Another year has passed since CES 2013, and what a year it's been! As always, Wccftech is here and providing you with the latest news on the biggest companies in the PC and technology space. Without further ado, here's a brief explanation of each company's offerings this year at CES 2014.
Intel, AMD, NVIDIA , and the gang!
Intel - Bay Trail & Bay Trail devices
Highly competitive with AMD's somewhat recent 28nm Kabini chips, Intel's mobile 22nm Bay Trail ranges from 2W SDP (~3.7W TDP) to 4.5W SDP (7.5W TDP). It's worth mentioning that in comparison to AMD's older Kabini architecture it has healthily lower power figures, but Intel also uses the much smaller SDP measurement. The difference between the new SDP and AMD's TDP measurement could mislead some. When converted to SDP, AMD's smallest and largest Kabini chips respectively sit around 6W and 10W. Several Atom and mobility chips were leaked in an Intel 2014 roadmap which you can see here.
Intel hopes to use the newly refreshed Bay Trail (with more 64-bit options) to lead their next charge into tablets. Since Bay Trail has made healthy progress in many areas over its predecessor, Intel may just have what it needs to help move the tablet market forward and further toward x86-based chips. In addition to their mobile chips, there's also a fair chance that we could see more information on Intel's upcoming 14nm "Broadwell" chips.
AMD - Kaveri APU madness
AMD's next big thing is Kaveri. Kaveri is AMD's latest Steamroller-based 28nm APU architecture for mainstream-enthusiast users that will be replacing the older 32nm Piledriver-based Richland. The chip in itself isn't a tremendous leap ahead of Richland or Haswell, but it packs something under the hood that neither aforementioned products (nor the industry) has ever seen before: HUMA.
Kaveri is AMD's first APU to support HUMA, part of the longtime rumored Heterogeneous Systems Architecture open standards that were first created by the HSA Foundation a couple of years ago. In short, the CPU portion of Kaveri has the ability to share memory addresses with the GPU portion (and vice versa). AMD has more ground to cover before their chip fulfills the ideal vision of HSA, but shared memory is an excellent start.
Among HUMA/HSA, AMD also has added and tweaked a few other low-level features. Kaveri will have Mantle support, lower TDP than past APUs, and "TrueAudio". In addition to Kaveri and its features, AMD may also be spilling the beans on the upcoming low-power APUs that will share Mantle and HUMA support with its bigger brother. The Kaveri APU also packs GCN class Radeon R7 series graphics leveraging its performance to new heights over the VLIW based predecessors. You can check our roundup of the Kaveri APU architecture, SKUs and pricing in the link below:
NVIDIA - Latest in Shield, 64-bit Tegra and Maxwell GPU?
As well as Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, and Broadcom, NVIDIA appears to be preparing to announce a 64-bit ARM-based processor. It's unlikely that the chip in question will be a new variant of the Tegra 4. This doesn't necessarily mean that these 64-bit chips will be released immediately, but an announcement is always nice to see.
NVIDIA has already demonstrated Battlefield 3 running on their Tegra 5 prototype devices so its no doubt that the upcoming Sheild 2 device which may feature on of those cores may end up being on par with current gen of consoles. Codenamed Logan, the chip was also shown running NVIDIA's Ira demo which renders a realistic human face with accurate expressions and high-resolution textures. That shows the power one can expect in upcoming mobile devices power with NVIDIA's SOC.
On the PC side of things, there's a fair chance that NVIDIA will disclose more information on its upcoming "Maxwell" GPU architecture. Aside from overall enhancements, Maxwell will support unified virtual memory. Much like with AMD's Kaveri chips, Maxwell will unify address space between the CPU and GPU. With NVIDIA now aiming for unified memory along with AMD, it's going to be an interesting year for game developers. We have already seen Maxwell GeForce 800M series being listed by manufacturer's for launch in February 2014 while the desktop parts reportedly arrive in March 2014.
Valve - Attacking the living room
Valve will possibly showing off newly-launched Steam Machines. Since the platform is open, other companies may have some Steam Machines to demo as well. You can expect plenty of Steam Machine partnership announcements from Valve this year! Although, it will be up to those companies (not Valve) if they'll be showing them off. As of late, both Intel and AMD are left out of the GPU compatibility list for SteamOS. Fortunately, some Steam Machines that have already been announced by others contain both CPU and GPU components from AMD, so you can expect AMD hardware support very soon. Support for Intel GPUs is unknown at this point, but it would be odd to see Valve leave them out.
For those not in the Valve loop, Valve released 300 Steam Machines to public beta participants earlier this month. Steam Machines run a Linux-based OS developed in-house by Valve called "SteamOS". The OS is free and can be installed on any x86 PC or OEM Steam Machine from Valve's partners. You can see several unboxing videos of the new machines on the net or head over to our article here. OEM Digital Storm and IbuyPower would be one of several other brands who will be showcasing their Steam Machines at the event, you can also check out the hardware configuration for these devices here.
Microsoft unexpectedly announced early last year that it would no longer attend CES. However, it appears that Microsoft will be attending CES 2014 at this point regardless of what they announced. It doesn't appear that Microsoft has any new products in the announcement pipeline with the recent releases of the XBOX One and Surface 2.0, but you never know for certain. They will likely just be promoting and discussing the latest Windows, Surface, and XBOX products.
Additionally, Microsoft has also said that they will be bringing a beloved franchise back to Windows 8 which could mean a major announcement taking place at the CES floor by Microsoft for the PC Gaming community. We will stay sharp to get you the latest details on this as soon as possible.
In addition to likely updates and upcoming titles for their PlayStation 4, Sony may be announcing their own proprietary virtual reality headwear to compete with the Oculus Rift.
LG plans to release a TV using WebOS. As some may not know, LG purchased WebOS from HP last year when HP's tablet based on the OS failed. It's going to be interesting to see what they've done with WebOS all this time behind closed doors. If LG can succeed, it's going to attract a lot more competitive attention from the Android smart-TV creators, which is always a good thing. At this time, it's not known what LG has done with WebOS to make it more friendly with input from the couch rather than the touch input it was traditionally built for.