First Tegra K1 benchmarks appear, courtesy of the Lenovo ThinkVision 28

by: Robert TriggsJanuary 13, 2014

Tegra K1

Nvidia’s Tegra K1 SoC was one of the biggest hardware announcements from this year’s CES, and thanks to Tom’s Hardware we already have an idea of its rough performance level.

As a quick reminder, the Tegra K1 features a quad-core Cortex A15 CPU and 192 GPU cores based on Nvidia’s premium range of Kepler desktop GPUs. One of the first products to feature the Tegra K1 was also demoed at CES 2014, the Lenovo ThinkVision 28, which is the device being used for these benchmarks. The ThinkVision is a 4K resolution (3840×2160) 28” LCD monitor, but unlike a traditional monitor it comes packed with loads of tech inside.

The display houses a Tegra K1 clocked at 2Ghz, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD slot, 3 USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, speakers, a microphone, webcam, 3 HDMI ports, and a range of connectivity options including WiFi and Bluetooth.

It’s very nice, but I’m more interested to see how the Tegra K1 performs and whether or not the graphics chip lives up to expectations.

Tom’s Hardware has kindly put together a collection of benchmark results, pitting the major competitors against each other. The first challenger comes from Android’s largest chip manufacturer, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 as found in the Nexus 5. Then there’s Apple’s A7 powered iPhone 5S, and a Tegra 4 EVGA Note 7 thrown in for generational comparisons.

The first test was conducting using 3DMark, which stresses both GPU and CPU performance.

Tegra K1 3DMark benchmark

The Tegra K1 clearly comes out on top in this test, producing an impressive 25% performance gain over its rivals in the graphics department. The CPU limited physics test produces a result much closer to the other chips, but this is to be expected as the K1 is based on the older Tegra 4 CPU design. Perhaps Nvidia’s upcoming Denver CPU will boost performance here.

Now for a test where the Tegra K1’s Kepler GPU should really shine, GFX Bench v2.7.

Tegra K1 GFXBench

In the off-screen test, conducted at 1920×1080, the K1’s Kepler GPU wipes the floor with the opposition, almost doubling the GPU performance of Apple’s impressive A7 chip. The on-screen test may appear to show a poor result for the K1, but remember that the Lenovo’s display has an Ultra HD resolution of 2160p whilst the other devices are 1080p or less. 4K rendering is beyond the scope of most fully fledged desktop GPUs. The K1, or any other mobile GPU, doesn’t stand a chance of pulling off a decent frame rate.

The Tegra K1 outshines the current generation of smartphone processors by a decent margin, at least in the graphics department. Of course the real competition starts when we can compare the K1 to the new Snapdragon 805.

Even though this is an impressive performance, Nvidia has a history of showing promise with its new chips, only to delay the actual products so long as to be overtaken by other manufacturers. The Tegra 3 and 4 were both behind the competition by the time they actually reached consumers. Also don’t forget the delayed introduction of LTE (Tegra 4i) which left the processors undesirable for top-of-the-line smartphones.

The K1 looks to be a great piece of technology on paper, but until there’s a tablet in my hand I’ll reserve my final judgement.

  • Ivan Myring

    Thing is, tegra 4 devices benchmarked really the time, as did tetra 3, but they both had performance issues. Let’s just hope they optimise the software.

    • renz

      performance wise tegra 4 is fine unlike T2 and T3. even dev said this. beach buggy blitz dev Vector Unit said that they were disappointed with T3 but with T4 the performance really fly.

  • Jusephe

    It’s amazing how well a chip in a very thin 4″ phone compares to a 28″ computer.

    • MrMagoo

      HUH? You do realize what’s being tested here right?

    • MasterMuffin


  • MasterMuffin

    This will never be in any popular devices :/

    • Srinivas Rajkumar

      Too soon to tell. This is monster of a processor and supports open source and is also tied up with unreal engine.
      I doubt this will be used in phones most probably in tablets and phablets.

      • MasterMuffin

        And not in any popular phones. It’s highly unlikely that Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony or Motorola will use this

        • Leonardo Rojas

          Would you be bothered to say why?

          • MasterMuffin

            Because Qualcomm (+ Exynos for Samsung). And no phones had Tegra 4, why would this be any different?

          • renz

            to be honest i prefer for nvidia to make their own device

  • B3nlok

    16 fps at 3840×2160(dat performance regression). Suddenly 4k on 5″ smartphones makes even more sense now (s).

  • Brandon Miranda

    The 5S though. Bet that makes you android guys unhappy.

    • Guest123

      Not at all, we like competition. Apple and apple fans tend to really dislike competition — we just dislike smug apple trolls on android sites saying stupid shit all the time.

      If apple pushes forward in any area we know it won’t be long before other hardware manufactures out pace what they did, and we all benefit.

      • Brandon Miranda

        Well said. My biggest beef is that we Apple folk could live perfectly fine with you android folk but not vice versa. Android folk seem to hate Apple with a true passion for reasons unknown. Almost as if Apple murdered there parents or bullied them while they were young. That type of hatred.

        • apianist16

          Some anyway. I have respect for Apple’s innovations.

          Just because it is Apple doesn’t mean it’s junk. It may not be what you prefer, but it still has it’s advantages. Credit where credit is due, people.

          • Jsilvermist

            Apple? Innovations? Those 2 words really don’t fit well together.

          • Brandon Miranda

            Explain. Seeing as if it were not for the Apple computers, phones, music players, many things would not be as they are today. Apple basically made the computer. ( Not invented but made it in a way where it became mainstream. Had it not been for Apple people would still think computers are robots that are going to take over the world )

          • Guest123

            Oh boy. I take it you really don’t know apple’s history? To young to have lived through it? I lived through it, apple, mainly Steve Jobs, stole many of their successful ideas. The GUI came directly from Xerox. The iPod was also a rather blatant ripoff direct form the original patent holder’s patent. The iphone and ipad were largely inspired by Microsoft’s lame attempts mixed with Nokia & BB. . . etc. Everyone copies, and like Steve Jobs said, “great artists steal.”

            Whether or not tech would be similar, worse or better with or without apple’s influence is impossible to say. We are where we are due to all the tech innovators over the past 100 years.

            You come to an Android centric blog to troll Android users? Convince us of apple’s superiority? Or to read about Android and join in constructive discussions, because the past few comments you have made support only your avatar.

          • Brandon Miranda

            I know allll about Apple’s history. Yes they stole it from Xerox but that was their fault for making the deal. Also. When Xerox PARC released there computer it failed miserably. Correction the iPad was inspired Microsofts failures. The iPad was delayed due to the creation of the iPhone. That is where they derived their multitouch technology. I know plenty of stuff. We have strayed from my point though. My point was. Nothing that makes Apple sound good can be posted on this website without senseless backlash.

          • Guest123

            Sure, you will have one or a few idiots say stupid stuff all the time. That also goes for every single apple oriented site if an Android fan posted stuff.

            That doesn’t mean all fans of X are ____ . . .

          • Brandon Miranda

            Oh I give credit alright. I completely love the Nexus line and the G2 is amazing.

        • Guest123

          I disagree. It all started with Steve Jobs thermonuclear warfare rant that made apple zealots attack anything and everything Android and google, which of course meant attacking the user base, etc. . . now they have the back lash. Android “folk” really had no problems with apple until Jobs got his legions attacking.

          People need to realize all companies are in it for profit, and non of them are worth fighting over.

          • Brandon Miranda

            That there is what I’m talking about. I call you folk which angers you and in return you resort to zealots. iPhone made the smartphone whether you like it. Or not.

          • Guest123

            I’m not angry at all, not even a little :)

            There are many “zealots” in tech land, I didn’t call you one.

            The iPhone did NOT create the smartphone, please study Symbian. The iPhone was a great evolutionary leap of the smartphone, and computer.

            You are sounding more and more like your avatar with each comment you make. Maybe take a breath and realize most people reading Android blogs really don’t care one way or the other about apple and their products, but we generally don’t like instigators — this comment of your is so far off from my comment and negative in spirit.

          • Brandon Miranda

            Oh I know my fair share of symbian but if it not for Apple, we wouldn’t our nexus or our G2 as we know it today.

  • Leonardo Rojas

    Overkill. No game nor app in Android will use this power in years, as well as no one is using Adreno 320 GPU capabilities (Open GL 3.0) in devices stuck in 4.2.