We’ve known about Nvidia’s follow up to the Tegra 2 chip since last February, but the company has only now unveiled full details on the quad-core system-on-chip (SoC) for smartphones and tablets.
Formerly known as Kal-El, Tegra 3 will first ship in the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, also announced today, and promises to give five times the performance of its predecessor. It will have a four-core Cortex A9 configuration sitting alongside a new 12-core graphics processor – which promises three times the graphical grunt of Tegra 2.
Of course, one of the most important things we will want from Tegra 3, is improved battery performance and Nvidia is indeed promising great things. For example it says that Tegra 3 will play 720p video using 61 per cent less power than Tegra 2 giving us the possibility of 12 hours video playback on a smartphone or tablet.
One of the most interesting things about Tegra 3 is the inclusion of a fifth “companion core” which takes some of the everyday low-intensity duties off the main cores. However it will be able to handle audio streaming and video playback and will run at a maximum speed of 500MHz.
Speaking of speed, once one of the Cortex A9 cores kicks in, it will chug along at 1.4GHz while in dual- and quad-core modes, Tegra 3 will top out at 1.3GHz. Depending on how much the SoC is being asked to do, single-, dual- or quad-core modes will be chosen automatically.
As you can see in the video below, Tegra 3 is certainly a beast when it comes to games but we’ll have to wait for developers to push those boundaries before we fully see the capabilities of the new chip. They should be showing up in the Tegra Zone app first we imagine.
With the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime launching next month, Nvidia has said it wants to distribute Tegra 3 to as many smartphone and tablet manufacturers as possible and quad-core phones, such as the much-rumoured HTC Edge, are already on the horizon.