Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core chip stokes tablet wars

Nov 10, 2011 by Nancy Owano report

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nvidia has launched its Tegra 3, the quad-core chip designed for mobile devices. Tech and investor blogs were busy yesterday assessing what this means for upcoming tablets and smartphones as to performance and power efficiency. The Tegra 3 processor provides up to three times the graphics performance of Tegra 2, and up to 61 percent lower power consumption, according to the Santa Clara-based company.

Its design is based on the ARM Cortex-A9 processor, an that addresses the need for better control over power consumption in . As ARM has said in its A-9 white paper, "Consumers don’t just expect their products to do more; they also expect longer battery life for portable products. To achieve all-day use, which is now a minimum requirement, phone, smart phone and PDA manufacturers must deliver extra performance and features more efficiently than before."

Similarly, while there is good reason to be enthusiastic about the performance features of the Tegra 3, a potentially attractive feature for mobile business users of tablets and smartphones will most likely center on what Tegra 3 can promise in battery savings.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The Tegra 3 uses what Nvidia calls “Variable SMP” (Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing) for low power and high performance. All five CPU cores are individually enabled and disabled based on the work load. Nvidia in its press release refers to its “aggressive power-gating.”

The four main cores are specifically designed for work requiring high performance, During tasks that require less power consumption -- listening to music or playing back video-- the Tegra 3 processor shuts down its four performance-tuned cores and instead uses the companion core. This adds up to the big battery savings, up to 61 percent. The Tegra 3 also has a 12-core GeForce graphics processing unit, for enhanced multimedia performance.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

First to the plate for the Tegra 3 is Asus, which has announced its new tablet that will use the quad-core Tegra 3 chip. This is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, a device with a pricetag of $499 for the 32GB version and $599 for 64GB. An optional keyboard is priced at $149.

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the first quad-core tablet with Tegra 3.

The Asus tablet, with Tegra 3 processor’s power-management features combined with its own optimizations, Is reported to have a battery life of up to 12 hours. This 10.1-inch tablet will appear in stores by the end of the year.

As exceptional as both the Nvidia and Asus debuts are, observers note the competitiveness of the tablet market. Nvidia will not be the one and only player in the quad-core arena for a very long time. Reports point to Qualcomm, an competitor, which is expected to bring out its quad-core processors early next year.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Explore further: Intel takes aim at the mobile market — again

More information: Nvidia press release, Asus press release

Related Stories

Nvidia says Kal-El chip will have five cores

Sep 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nvidia says its upcoming Kal-El chip (Tegra 3) will have five cores, not four. The news appeared this week when the Santa Clara company announced a white paper describing the architecture of this system-on-a-chip for mobile computing. ...

ASUS unveils Eee Pad Transformer Prime at AsiaD

Oct 21, 2011

ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih introduced the Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet at the AsiaD: All Things Digital in Hong Kong. The event, featuring Wall Street Journal journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, ...

Nvidia releases the Kal-El quad-core mobile chip

Feb 16, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nvidia has announced their brand new quad-core mobile processor at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The new processor was given the interestingly superheroic name Kal-El. Just in ...

LG Optimus 2X -- world's first dual-core smartphone

Dec 16, 2010

LG Electronics today unveiled the LG Optimus 2X, the world’s first smartphone with a dual-core processor. Along with more powerful multimedia features, the LG Optimus 2X’s high-performance Tegra ...

Rumor: Asus to make Eee Pad Transformer 2 with Windows 8

Jun 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Asus Eee Pad Transformer is one of the most popular models of tablet PCs on the market. The Android Honeycomb-based tablet is expected to become the second most popular tablet on the market, ...

Recommended for you

Latin America divided between oil and green energy

2 hours ago

Latin America spends billions of dollars subsidizing fossil fuels each year, but also has some of the world's largest renewable power programs, highlighting the energy-hungry region's divisions as it charts ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4.8 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2011
Can't wait to have a smartphone with that king of power inside
not rated yet Nov 11, 2011
I've been desperately needing to trade out my Droid 1 as it and its battery has been heat-damaged (not from overclocking, thank you, but from the freakin' hot Texas summer and forced to use it during limo runs), but I'm gonna wait for this to come out. I can limp along until then, and it'll be well worth the wait. Hopefully they'll be out before Hanuchrismaquanzakah.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.