Nvidia has officially introduced its Tegra 3 mobile processor, which it says will bring PC-class performance levels, better battery life as well as improved mobile experiences to tablets and smartphones.
Previously known by the codename Project Kal-El
, the Tegra 3 processor provides up to three times the graphics performance of Tegra 2
and up to 61% lower power consumption. According to Nvidia, this will translate into an industry-leading 12 hours of battery life for HD video playback.
The Tegra 3 processor implements a new patent-pending technology known as Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP). vSMP includes a fifth CPU companion core
, specifically designed for work requiring little power. The four main cores are designed for tasks requiring high performance, the likes of playing games, and generally consume less power than dual-core processors.
Whilst the device
that the Tegra 3 is powering is performing tasks that require less power consumption like playing back video or updating background data, the Tegra 3 processor completely shuts down its four performance-tuned cores and makes use of its companion core. For high-performance tasks including web browsing, games and multitasking, the Tegra 3 processor disables the companion and employs its performance cores.
Graphics are handled via the Tegra 3’s new 12-core Nvidia GeForce GPU, which delivers more realism with dynamic lighting, physical effects and high resolution environments, and also supports stereoscopic 3D.
Nvidia stated that the Tegra 3 processor delivers an “experience comparable to that of a game console”, offering full game-controller support, enabling users to play games on their tablet or smartphone, or connect their mobile device to their HDTVs or 3D monitor. According to Nvidia the Tegra 3 system-on-chip (SoC) provides:
- Fastest applications with speedy performance for multimedia apps, such as photo and video editing.
- Fastest multitasking for switching between common uses, the likes of playing music and games, as well as background tasks.
- Fastest, highest-quality gaming including new Tegra 3 processor-optimised Nvidia Tegra Zone app games such as Shadowgun.
- The world’s first quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU.
- New patent-pending vSMP technology, including a fifth CPU core that runs at a lower frequency and operates at exceptionally low power.
- 12-core GeForce GPU, with three times the graphics performance of the Tegra 2 processor, including support for stereoscopic 3D.
- New video engines with support for full HD (1080p) high profile video at 40 Mbps.
- Up to three times higher memory bandwidth.
- Up to two times faster Image Signal Processor.
- 40 games are expected to be available by the end of 2011 and more than 15 Tegra 3 games are under development for Tegra Zone, which is Nvidia’s free Android Market app that showcases the best games optimised for the Tegra processor.