NVidia has announced the latest edition of its popular tablet/smartphone microprocessor, NVidia Tegra 4. Amongst tablet and smartphone microprocessors, NVidia Tegra 4 will prove to be the next-generation tablet SoC due to the support for upgraded ARM architecture, ARM Cortex-A15. NVidia Tegra 4 is not the first ever microprocessor to use ARM Cortex-A15 architecture. There are others from Samsung (Exynos 5), Texas Instruments (TI OMAP 5430), etc., that will utilize ARM Cortex-A15 processor architecture.
NVidia has made the claim that Tegra 4 is the fastest mobile processor in the market today, thanks to 72 graphics cores based on GeForce engine. This, according to the company, makes the processor about six times faster than the existing Tegra 3 processor, which is found on popular smartphones like HTC One X+ (select versions) and Android tablets like Acer Iconia series and Asus Transformer Pad.
Not only that, NVidia has debuted its own gaming gadget known as Project Shield, which is the first ever device to be powered by Tegra 4 processor. In the event in Consumer Electronics Show, NVidia chief executive, Jen-Hsun Huang showcased the Shield gaming device. The system runs on Android and has a 5-inch display. Shield has a dedicated ‘Shield button’ that takes you to the game store of Valve Steam.
Tegra 4 processor is quad-core and is the first quad-core processor to be based on Cortex-A15 architecture. The specialty of the multi-core structure of Tegra 4 is that it has a hidden fifth core that consumes extremely low amounts of battery while on idle use. This crucial design strategy makes the devices save a lot of battery. It has been proclaimed that the Tegra 4 processor will consume almost 45 per cent less power than its predecessor.
Also, due to the presence of an extreme graphics engine with 72 graphics processors in place, advanced HDR imaging is perfectly feasible with this processor. This is an imaging technology, in which multiple images (of different times) of the same location are combined together to form a richer image.
Another important feature of Tegra 4 is the advanced support for mobile communication technologies, such as 3G HSPA+ and 4G LTE. NVidia had acquired a softmodem company called Icera in 2011, and this subsidiary company manufactures an LTE & 3G chip to be packaged within the Tegra 4 System-on-Chip.
The LTE implementation will simplify the tablet and smartphone hardware, while not compromising in speed. Icera 410 LTE platform is said to provide peak data rates of up to 50 Mbps. Tegra 4 features Icera i500 softmodem that takes up 40 per cent less area of a conventional LTE implementation.
Tegra 4’s importance is its extra power-saving core. Cortex-A15 is already a power-saving core design by ARM. This may make the chip much more power-saving. Also, with pretty high processing speeds (of up to 2.5 GHz as given by ARM), the processor will power the next-gen Android tablets and smartphones.
NVidia has given us the performance benchmark of the Tegra 4 processor in MWC, Barcelona. Here is a video from the Verge detailing the results.
Here are the results as per tests conducted by Engadget:
|Benchmark||NVidia 4 equipped||Sony Xperia Tablet S||Asus Transformer Pad Infinity|
|AnTuTu||above 36000||around 11,000||around 12,000|
|Quadrant||above 16000||above 4000||above 4000|
|SunSpider (lower is better)||499||1608||2012|
It shows the amazing performance of the processor. This really is the fastest mobile processor benchmarked to date.