Nvidia unveils Tegra 4 and Project Shield games console

New smartphone and tablet chip unveiled, plus Nvidia's first gaming handheld

David Bayon
7 Jan 2013

Nvidia has unveiled its highly anticipated Tegra 4 mobile chip at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, along with an Android gaming handheld - called Project Shield - powered by it.

Tegra 4, which has been known until now by the codename Wayne, is claimed to offer six times the graphical power of Tegra 3 and consume 45% less power.

It uses the first ever quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor, 72 custom Nvidia GeForce graphics cores, and an additional second-generation battery-saver core for handling low-intensity tasks. 4G capability can be added via the optional Icera i500 chipset.

Nvidia is claiming a breakthrough with its Computational Photography Architecture, which uses the CPU and GPU along with the image-signal processor in a device's camera to automatically produce HDR photos and videos.

Although no release dates were discussed, Tegra 4 will eventually make its way into smartphones and tablets, among other devices.

Project Shield

One of those devices is Nvidia's own handheld gaming device, unveiled at CES as Project Shield.

Nvidia Project Shield

Project Shield is a clamshell device with a full-sized console controller on the base, and a 5in 720p multitouch display in the lid.

It runs Android 4.1, so can be used to play existing Google Play titles, but thanks to 802.11n MIMO Wi-Fi, it can also stream desktop games directly from a Windows PC.

The catch? It only works with top-end Nvidia graphics cards: you'll need a GeForce GTX 650 or faster, or GeForce GTX 660M or faster on a laptop.

"We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen," said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO at Nvidia. "We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way."

Project Shield is expected to ship in the second quarter of this year. No pricing details have been announced.

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