Nvidia accelerates gaming in the cloud

The GPU company is putting some serious horsepower in the data center to power gaming on the go.

Nvidia announced graphics-chip based cloud tech today, claiming to deliver fast gaming to almost any device.

"GeForce GRID represents a massive disruption in how games are delivered and played," said Phil Eisler, general manager of cloud gaming at Nvidia, in a statement.

The trick is to power the games remotely with brawny servers that tap into Nvidia's new Kepler graphics processing units (GPUs).

Each Kepler chip has 3,072 Nvidia "CUDA" processor cores and packs 4.7 teraflops (trillion floating point operations per second) of 3D shader performance. Shaders are instrumental in rendering realistic effects in games.

All of this horsepower will allow gaming-as-a-service providers to render complex games in the cloud and encode them on the GPU so servers can simultaneously run more game streams, according to Nvidia. GPUs are more adept at rendering gaming effects than traditional CPUs, or central processing units, provided by chipmakers such as Intel.

The net effect for gamers is playing higher-end games on an iPad or Android device that wouldn't ordinarily support that level of game play.

Nvidia is hooking up with Gaikai, which has about two dozen data centers in the U.S., and OnLive, among other companies.

Nvidia also made a broader announcement today about its new Kepler technology, which is designed for use in large-scale data centers. Like the gaming experience described above, Kepler GPUs deliver faster streaming "making a remote data center feel like it's just next door," the company said.

GPU-assisted data centers can also be more energy efficient since GPUs are inherently more efficient at processing certain types of data.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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