VR World

John Carmack Says to Take Nvidia's K1 Claims with Several Grains of Salt


Overkill VR is a fast paced VR action game

Oculus’s CTO, John Carmack stated on Twitter that people should take Nvidia’s Tegra K1 SoC claims with a grain of salt considering their grandiose claims. He was specifically referring to the company’s claims about the Tegra K1 SoC and how it compared against the current and previous generation consoles. As a refresher, during the CES press conference Nvidia claimed to be far faster than the previous generation Xbox 360 and PS3 while doing it at ‘only’ 5W.

So, John Carmack, the co-founder of ID Software and current CTO of Oculus simply stated that people should, "Take Nvidia’s comparisons between their K1 SoC and consoles with several grains of salt." As to saying that one grain of salt clearly wasn’t enough. And to be honest, it is a somewhat fair assessment as we had made a similar one in our article covering the Tegra K1 announcement. The truth is that all of the performance we’re seeing with the Tegra K1 is in actively cooled environments, nothing like we’d see in most applications of this SoC in tablets and such. Sure, Nvidia is trying to put this SoC in other places like Lenovo’s All-in-One PC, but I think those applications are going to be fairly niche.

What’s more interesting about this statement is that Carmack himself has seemed pretty pro-Nvidia in the past and was even invited to Nvidia’s Montreal developer event to talk about G-Sync and other game development topics. While G-Sync is still quite a promising technology and has very little to do with Tegra K1, it is interesting to see him so vocally talk about Nvidia’s flagship SoC so negatively. Here we have a picture with him (far right) with Tony Tamasi moderating the panel between Tim Sweeney, Johan Andersson and John Carmack.

While Carmack’s statements are a clear backlash to Nvidia’s grandiose statements and claims, I think that we really have to wait and see what Tegra K1 will really have to offer. Sure, it has a powerful GPU, but the idea that it can compete with gaming consoles is hyperbole unless they can actually show it side by side running the same game. Nvidia’s Kepler GPU is incredibly efficient and there is no doubt that they can probably get some mobile games optimized for it to look console-quality or better, but the comparisons are clearly going a bit overboard.