Nvidia, a household name in the gaming industry, and a fairly new entrant into the SoC market, has just unveiled its latest offering in the form of Tegra 4 at the press conference at the international CES. This chip is touted to the world’s fastest mobile processor, packing in a phenomenal punch in performance while keeping the battery life long. The Tegra 4 is meant to power smartphones, tablets, gaming devices, auto infotainment and navigation and PCs.
The Tegra 4, like its predecessor, Tegra 3, features a quad core processor along with a fifth, low power, ninja core. Although it retains the 4 plus 1 configuration of its predecessor, the Tegra 4 is built on an all new architecture. Four of ARM’s most advanced CPU core, the Cortex-A15, are included in this SoC. Although the clock speed hasn’t been disclosed yet, it is touted to run up to 1.9 GHz. The Tegra 4 has 72 custom Nvidia GeForce GPU cores, a staggering six times that of Tegra 3. It is also produced using the 28mm manufacturing process, an improvement from Tegra 3′s 40 mm, which would explain the improvement in battery life, despite the more powerful processor.
Previously codenamed “Wayne“, the Tegra 4 is expected to deliver more realistic gaming experience and higher resolution displays. The faster processor is said to give a 2.6x improvement in web browsing and a better performance for apps. In addition, this also brings in the capability of playing 4k content, a first for a mobile processor. It also enables worldwide LTE voice and data support through an optional chipset, the fifth generation Nvidia Icera i500 processor, which delivers four times the processing power of its predecessor. Unfortunately, this also means that the Tegra 4 does not have an integrated LTE modem and will need to rely on external modems.
The Tegra 4 includes something they call Computational Photography Architecture, designed to significantly reduce the time for camera related functionalities, such as in the case of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos, where multiple images are to be taken in quick succession. This is achieved by fusing together the processing capability of the CPU, GPU and the camera’s image signal processor. Tegra 4 works to reduce the time duration of these shots, including the ones taken with flash, to display images the way they are seen by the human eye, with detail both in the light and dark areas.
The previous generation Tegra 3 was infamous for its poor battery life, but with the Tegra 4, Nvidia hopes to make up for this disparity. It includes a second generation battery saver core and a PRISM 2 display technology to reduce backlight power. Although the 28mm manufacturing process will help a lot with the battery life, the absence of an integrated LTE on-chip feature might be a deterrent for some. The Tegra 4 enables up to 14 hours of HD video play back oh phones and promises to consume up to 45 per cent less power than the Tegra 3.
The year ahead promises to be a boon for all hard core gamers with Sony and Microsoft rumoured to bring out newer versions of their gaming consoles. Nvidia is a major contributor to this trend, but the success of the Tegra 4 will depend heavily on its battery life as manufacturers are a little averse to using Nvidia chipsets after the debacle of Tegra 3. But one thing is for sure that the Tegra 4 will be a step up for all gaming enthusiasts and a plethora of games expected to make use of its phenomenal powers is expected to hit the market soon.
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