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NVIDIA shows off Project Shield, a new handheld games console

by Mark Tyson on 7 January 2013, 10:15

Tags: NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabqyv

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NVIDIA revealed a new handheld game console last night, to be sold under its own branding; the NVIDIA Project Shield. The portable console looks like an oversized console control pad, however a lid flips up on the top to reveal a 5-inch HD ready screen. The new handheld is powered by NVIDIA’s new Tegra 4 SoC which is based upon ARM’s latest Cortex-A15 design complemented by 72 GPU cores. The new portable gaming device runs “pure Android” and has standard ports and connectors including a MicroSD card slot.

PC games too

An important extra feature of the NVIDIA Project Shield console is that it’s not just designed for playing Android games. NVIDIA explains: “as a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games from a PC powered by NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX GPUs, accessing titles on its STEAM game library from anywhere in the home.” You’ll need a GTX 600 series card in your PC to use this games streaming facility because it uses the Video Codec Engine video encoder built in to these graphics cards. Pocket-Lint went so far as saying “Think of it like a Wii U for the PC gamer, making it finally possible to easily hook your PC up to your big screen TV in the living room.”

Look at the pictures above and you can come up with your own ideas about the influences that have gone into the design of Project Shield. NVIDIA calls its arrangement of buttons and joysticks a “full-sized console-grade game controller.” With the weight of the screen furthest from the player it looks like NVIDIA have tried to create handling balance by placing the twin analogue control sticks near the front.

NVIDIA Project Shield specs

CPU

NVIDIA Tegra 4 (4+1 Cortex-A15)

GPU

NVIDIA Tegra 4 (72 GPU cores)

Display

5-inch 1280x720 pixels “retinal” touchscreen

OS

Android Jelly Bean, TegraZone

Controller

Ergonomically designed for comfort and precision, including 4 shoulder buttons you can’t see in the pictures above.

Sound

Bass reflex tuned port speaker system

Ports/Connectors

Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI (supports 4K), MicroSD, 3.5mm audio out, Wi-Fi

Battery

38Wh

 

There was no pricing or availability mentioned for this new handheld Android console in the press release but Anandtech reports that “Shield will launch in Q2 at a price competitive with other mobile gaming systems and tablets.” Which means it will cost about US$200, hopefully less. There are quite a few Android powered consoles in the works including the OUYA ($99) and highly portable GameStick ($79).



HEXUS Forums :: 43 Comments

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I like the form factor, with the screen being protected when it's closed. A major advantage over the Wii U controller.

This will be an absolute beast when it comes to portable gaming. It's probably more powerful than the Wii U, quad A15s at ~1.7GHz will beat a tri-core PowerPC at 1.2GHz. Can't comment on the GPU however - 72 mobile geforce cores (relatively unknown quantity) versus whatever the Wii U incorporates.
I'm not sure 72 GPU cores is particularly amazing amongst the technology Hexus is familiar with day in, day out. Pocket-lint's comments about using this device to bridge your PC and your TV are more interesting - I presume this is the kind of thing Valve were also looking at creating.
Borderlands 2 on it? hows that work then?
Not sure I understand the idea behind playing your pc games in the living room... worse in every way, surely?
sykobee
I like the form factor, with the screen being protected when it's closed. A major advantage over the Wii U controller.

This will be an absolute beast when it comes to portable gaming. It's probably more powerful than the Wii U, quad A15s at ~1.7GHz will beat a tri-core PowerPC at 1.2GHz. Can't comment on the GPU however - 72 mobile geforce cores (relatively unknown quantity) versus whatever the Wii U incorporates.

It's not all about clock speed, and that's especially true when you're comparing CPUs built around completely different ISA. And we're comparing a mobile-aimed SoC GPU against what's effectively a desktop part.

There are so many consoles being released lately, it seems to defeat the purpose of their standardised nature. And Nvidia seem to be competing with some of the customers too...

@Platinum, read the article. ;)