If you've been pining for a high-end Android gaming tablet with a high resolution screen then you might want to hold off on buying a new gadget until a tablet with the new Nvidia Tegra K1 chip hits the market.
Tom's Hardware and WCCFTech spent some time with a few of the prototypes running on the Tegra K1 chip, and earlier today they posted the benchmarks. If you're looking for a powerful work tablet then this chip might not be worth the wait, but if you're into hard-core gaming or you want the best hardware on the market, read on.
Nvidia’s new Tegra K1 chips will be the first to bring better-than laptop-class Kepler graphics to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. The chips have 192 graphics cores paired with some of the fastest ARM-based processor cores available, making them potentially the fastest chips on the market.
WCCFTech ran a GFX benchmark test and they report that the Tegra K1 chip outperformed the iPad Air, the Galaxy Note 3 (with a SnapDragon 800 CPU), and even a couple PCs. The Tegra K1 chip managed a frame rate nearly 4 times higher than last year's amazingly wonderful Tegra 4 chip:
But it's not the only yardstick, and that's why I'm glad that Tom's Hardware posted other benchmark results. On one test (Futuremark 3DMark) the Tegra K1 was easily the fastest chip, but the results for a couple other test were more ambiguous. They showed that the Tegra K1 chip was much more capable in theoretical terms (the offscreen tests) than in practical terms (when it was driving the 3840 x 2160 resolution screen on the Lenovo ThinkVision 28" Android-based monitor).
I'm still trying to decide if those results mean that this chip is really as powerful as they say. Yes, the theoretical results show that this chip is much better, but if you can't see a similar performance when using the actual device then it doesn't really matter.
At this point I think the offscreen tests are probably the better yardstick. The devices used for these tests are not the polished and finished designs that will hit the market later this year, and that means that the practical scores for the commercially released hardware should be higher than what we see here.
But I would not expect all of the future benchmark test to show a better result For example, the Antutu benchmark shows that while the Tegra K1 chip is a great graphics chip, it's not all that well-rounded. This test measures all the basic abilities of a chip, and not just the graphics abilities, and it shows that the Tegra K1 was out pointed by the Tegra 4 chip running the Tegra Note 7. The Tegra K1 did outscore in a couple areas but it's not a clear winner overall.
But no matter how much the scores improve, I don't think I will be getting one of these tablets. I'm not into heavy duty gaming, and I'm not expecting to want a tablet with a super-high resolution screen like the Lenovo ThinkVision mentioned above. My purposes are well-served by tablets based on much cheaper quad-core and dual-core chips.