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Tegra 4 leaks with quad core CPU, 72 graphics core GPU

Ardjuna Seghers by

Tegra 4

Confirming many details rumoured previously, an Nvidia Tegra 4 specs leak has today detailed just what we can expect from the new mobile device chipset.

The mobile chip, codenamed Wayne, is the sequel to the monumentally successful Tegra 3 SoC, which can be found in most half-decent Android tablets and many phones – including the popular Google Nexus 7, Asus Transformer Infinity, Microsoft Surface RT and HTC One X.

Tegra 4 Specs

Tegra 4 is still a quad-core CPU design with a unique fifth companion core, but it uses next generation CPU cores and there are now a whopping 72 graphics cores – more than any other chip currently on the market. Considering Tegra 3 already performed well enough to make for an excellent all-purpose mobile solution, this may well put it at the head of the class. Indeed, Nvidia claims six times the performance in Tegra 3 vs Tegra 4 comparisons.

According to the leaked Tegra 4 slide on ChipHell, Nvidia’s new 28nm ‘Wayne’ chip uses ARM’s Cortex A15 design as also found in the Samsung Exynos 5440 that’s rumoured to be the heart of the Galaxy S4, and similar to the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU architecture which powers the Google Nexus 4.

So all four of these cores ought to rip through pretty much anything you’d care to throw at them. One of the things that will set Nvidia’s Tegra 4 quad-core above rivals on the processor side of things is a unique fifth ‘companion core’, which can run background tasks and play HD video without taxing your device’s battery life too much. This means potential battery life on Tegra 4 tablets and smartphones should be at least as good as (if not better than) the best of the rest.

Tegra 4

Tegra 4 Graphics

To further boost all this processing grunt, Nvidia has added dual-channel DDR3 memory support to its Tegra 4 quad-core SoC, along with other niceties like native support for USB 3.0.

Where Nvidia’s latest ARM chip really has the potential to stand out though is on the graphics side of things. There are now a whopping 72 graphics cores, six times as many as Tegra 3. This means that Tegra 4 should give even the mighty 32nm Apple A6X a run for its graphical money, which in turn means prettier mobile games – especially since Nvidia can use its gaming clout from the PC graphics card industry to aid developers in programming titles to take full advantage of its Tegra 4 chip.

Tegra 4 Video

Thanks to all this extra power, Tegra 4 can handle resolutions of up to 2,560 x 1,440 (or 1440p) for encode and decode, which is the resolution found on 27-inch monitors like the ViewSonic VP2770-LED. It can also play 1080p video at 120Hz, meaning proper stereoscopic Full HD 3D is also on the cards.

Tegra 4 Launch

Roadmaps for Wayne indicated that Nvidia’s Tegra 4 chip would have a release date early next year. We expect that we’ll see Tegra 4 launch at MWC, where we might also see some of the new tablets and smartphones using it.

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December 18, 2012, 6:00 pm

Nvidia has done a great job with the Tegra line and there are a lot of excellent Tegra devices out there. However device providers definitely have more than one device each in a different product cycles. The likelihood that the performance tuning and optimizations and then rinse and start over that Apple used to be able to make having less devices isn't really possible at the others companies. It's neither good nor bad but its an obvious trade-off.

Apple now has more devices and more releases and they are definitely struggling to master these kind of launch and maintenance cycles. Thus, although its sheer laziness that makes one think that all you need for great performance is a great chip like the Tegra. It's also true that the level of competition out there doesn't allow for the kind of time it takes to optimize code and get the best possible performance. Good job Nvidia.

John Andrews

December 18, 2012, 6:13 pm

That's a lot of graphics power for a mobile chipset. Right on!


December 18, 2012, 6:34 pm

It's gonna be needed - Retina-class displays that are gaining ground in mobile have far more pixels to fill than your desktop monitor...


December 19, 2012, 10:06 am

Indeed, high-resolution displays and games will be the main driving forces behind ever more powerful mobile graphics.


December 19, 2012, 10:18 am

Yep Tegra 2 was a bit rubbish but Tegra 3 was (and still is) a great chip.

Good point about Apple, though its latest chips are nicely ahead of the curve (for now). Mind you, S4 Pro with Adreno 320 is a heavy-weight contender too :)

Mark Colit

January 1, 2013, 12:19 pm

lol@a bit rubbish. I think you'll find there isn't much of a difference between tegra 2 and 3 when it comes to doing everyday tasks.

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