You might think yourself too grown-up to be wowed by shiny, glittery things, but we doubt many will be able to watch NVIDIA’s new Glow Ball tech demo without a smidgen of childlike glee. Built to run on the company’s quad-core Kal-El processor, it shows us the first example of true dynamic lighting on mobile devices and also throws in some impressive physics calculations like fully modeled cloth motion. Instead of the pre-canned, static lights that we see on mobile games today, NVIDIA’s new hardware will make it possible to create lighting that moves, fluctuates in intensity, and responds realistically to its environment — all rendered in real time. The titular glow ball can be skinned with different textures, each one allowing a different amount and hue of illumination to escape to surrounding objects, and is directed around the screen using the accelerometer in your tablet or smartphone.
NVIDIA demoed the new goodness on a Honeycomb slate with 1280 x 800 resolution and the frame rates remained smooth throughout. In order to emphasize the generational leap that we can expect with Kal-El, the company switched off two of the four cores momentarily, which plunged performance down to less than 10fps. That means the simulations we’re watching require a full quartet of processing cores on top of the 12-core GPU NVIDIA has in Kal-El. Mind-boggling stuff. Glow Ball will be available as a game on Android tablets once this crazy new chip makes its way into retail devices — which are still expected in the latter half of this year, August if everything goes perfectly to plan. One final note if you’re still feeling jaded: NVIDIA promises the production chip will be 25 to 30 percent faster than the one on display today. Full video demo follows after the break.
If you’ve enjoyed NVIDIA’s fine tradition of merely bumping along its GPUs time and again and affixing a new badge, you’ll like the GeForce GTX 560M — it’s much like last year’s GTX 460M, but with more bang for the buck than ever. ASUS, MSI, Alienware, Toshiba and Clevo have all committed to new notebooks bearing the graphics processor in light of the potent performance NVIDIA claims it will bring: Namely, those same 192 CUDA cores (now clocked at 1550MHz) and up to 3GB of GDDR5 memory (now clocked at 1250MHz, with a 192-bit bus) should enable the latest games to run at playable framerates on a 1080p screen with maximum detail — save antialiasing. Of course, that assumes you’ve also got a recent quad-core Sandy Bridge processor and gobs upon gobs of RAM, but NVIDIA also says that with the built-in Optimus switchable graphics, those same potent laptops should be able to manage five hours of battery life while idling.
If you’re looking for some inexpensive discrete graphics, however, NVIDIA’s also got a refresh there, as the new GeForce GT 520MX bumps up all the clock speeds of the GT 520M. When can you expect a mobile GPU to knock the GTX 485M off its silicon throne, though? Glad you asked: a chart shows a “Next-gen GTX” coming late this year. Meanwhile, see what NVIDIA says the GTX 560M’s capable of in the gallery below and a video after the break.