Nvidia targets laptops with Tegra 3
By Mike Jennings
Posted on 9 Nov 2011 at 10:27
Nvidia has detailed its new quad-core Tegra 3 chipset, confirming plans to target the laptop market.
Nvidia said the new chipset offers five times the processing power and three times the graphics performance of its predecessors.
As well as its obvious uses in tablets and smartphones, Nvidia also confirmed its plans to introduce laptops using the new chipset.
The chipset, which Nvidia says is the world's first mobile quad-core part, is built on ARM's Cortex A9 architecture - the same design used in Tegra 2, Apple's A5 and the Samsung Galaxy S II - with each core capable of a top speed of 1.4GHz.
As well as improving performance across phones and tablets, Nvidia’s director of product marketing for Tegra, Matt Wuebbling, confirmed that "you'll see clamshells on Tegra 3" - although he didn't specify any details or release dates.
Nevertheless, with Windows 8 set to run on ARM processors, it's a move that will give Intel and AMD cause for concern.
Nvidia's chip is set to make its debut in the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which will be released in January for £449.
While it will arrive running Honeycomb, Asus promised an upgrade to the latest Android version, Ice Cream Sandwich.
Nvidia is partnering its four cores with a low-power A9-based chip it dubs a "companion core", which is reined in to 500MHz and is designed to handle low-power tasks such as video and audio playback.
Nvidia claims this core helps web browsing consume 30% less power than Tegra 2, with audio playback requiring 61% less juice.
Each of Tegra 3's four main cores, as well as the companion chip, can be activated or deactivated depending on the intensity of the task being carried out, with Nvidia confirming that the OS won't be affected by switching between cores.
The updated graphics processing unit, meanwhile, has been designed to provide additional physics realism, dynamic lighting and particle effects, with Nvidia demonstrations illustrating improved water effects, sharper textures and more detail throughout.
The introduction of a fifth core invites comparisons to ARM's big.LITTLE scheme, which partners a powerful Cortex A15 MPCore processor with an entry-level A7 chip that’s used for less intensive tasks.
First quad core mobile?
Intel have have quad code chips in its Core i M and U Mobile processor ranges for a couple of years...
The extra A9 core for lower power tasks certainly looks interesting.
By big_D on 9 Nov 2011
I assume mobile meaning phone rather than laptop.
Partner this with an HD screen & deep sleep and that's my next phone.
By dubiou on 10 Nov 2011
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