Custom PC, Issue 115

Custom PC Issue 115This month’s interview column for Dennis Publishing’s Custom PC talks to Nvidia’s Jason Paul about his company’s latest surprise hardware launch: the Project Shield hand-held gaming console.

Based around Nvidia’s Tegra 4 system-on-chip processor, which combines four ARM Cortex-A15 general-purpose processing cores with GeForce graphics processing technology and a power-saving Cortex-A9 core for background tasks, Project Shield is a departure for the company. Rather than a reference design or OEM offering, Project Shield is to be launched – first in the US, with the UK to follow later in the year – as a full retail offering.

It’s certainly a novel device: looking like a small TFT glued to an Xbox controller, it provides access to Android games and apps while also connecting to desktop PCs running Nvidia GeForce graphics cards and streaming full-fat PC games – cloud gaming minus the cloud, in other words. Fog gaming? Mist gaming? Whatever.

Paul was full of interesting anecdotes about the project, including the fact that the original prototype of the device – which has been dreamed up, designed, developed and produced in under a year – was little more than a smartphone and a game controller screwed together with a plank of wood.

“I don’t think I would be quite as able to express the pain and agony of cramming all this into a device as well as our engineering team! It was pretty challenging. To give you one anecdote, we got a lot of the device designed and laid out and then realised that we had these amazing speakers that were larger than we had allocated in the device. So, we had to go back and redesign a bit of the area around the speakers to be able to cram in the bass reflex quad speaker audio.”

This interview was actually something of a last-minute change to the planned schedule. A previous interview with open-source engineer Andrew Back, originally due to appear in this issue, will now appear in Custom PC Issue 116.

The rest of the interview appears in Custom PC Issue 115, available in stores now and digitally through the Zinio service.

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