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Nvidia: Introduces ARM-Powered Linux RTX demo

Nvidia has introduced RTX graphics running on ARM processors, as a way of highlighting the potential performance that non-x86 processors can offer. The presentation is a warning to both Intel and AMD, but also an opportunity to discover the power of Nvidia graphics.


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Nvidia has introduced a game, the Wolfenstein: Youngblood and a technology demo (Bistro, from the Open Research Content Archive (ORCA). Video released for GDC shows testbed running RTX 3060 on a MediaTek Kompanio 1200, which is based on the MT8195 SoC. MediaTek calls these "chipsets", but this word is commonly used to refer to motherboard control logic and not to SoC.

The CPU contains four cores Cortex-A78 and four cores Cortex-A55 with an AI processing unit, referred to by MediaTek as the "APU". The chip uses a quad-channel LPDDR4x 2133, but we do not know how wide the channels are. Overall it is a mediocre chip, however the MT8195 reaches the maximum default clock speed of 2,2 GHz on the Cortex-A78 cores. SoC is commonly used in Chromebooks.

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The MT8195 is not the kind of CPU we would expect to see in a real ARM gaming system. If RTX games can run well when paired with an RTX 3060, that means good things for products that could appear in the future.

Nvidia has brought five specific features to Linux: DLSS, RTX Direct Illumination, RTX Global Illumination, Nvidia Real-Time Denoisers and the RTX Memory Utility. DLSS is used to improve image quality by upgrading lower resolution output to higher resolutions, Direct Illumination supports dynamic lighting and global illumination is used to calculate rays.

There is Windows support for ARM, but Nvidia has chosen not to display a running system Windows. Linux is not normally considered a gaming operating system, but Valve has announced that the upcoming Steam Deck will be released with SteamOS and will run a range of Windows games via Proton. The Steam Deck is based on an AMD APU, but this is still an interesting demonstration of gaming performance.

See also: Linux 5.13: Notable changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V architectures

Nvidia has more reasons than other companies to look forward to this presentation. If the company's attempt to buy ARM has been approved by regulators, it will have the opportunity to make a game to become the leading provider of GPU and CPU gaming solutions at the same time. Intel is making its own game for this title, with the Xe HPG product line, and AMD already holds this position for console gamers.

But no manufacturer has ever claimed a dominant position in the market for both CPUs and GPUs when it comes to the supply of PC games. There are no plans yet to release this version of Youngblood on the market.

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