Feeds

Nvidia outs five-core ARM chip

Tegra 3 has one core for general stuff, four more for games

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Nvidia has formally launched the quad-core ARM system-on-a-chip formerly known as 'Kal-El' and now unsurprisingly named 'Tegra 3', a processor originally scheduled to launch this past summer.

The company pledged the part will offer three times the graphics performance of the Tegra 2 despite consuming just over a third of the power.

The secret is a separate fifth core which handles the work when the number-crunching abilities of the four main cores are not required. So for probably 95 per cent of a tablet's operational life, it's this fifth core that will be running, the others being powered off.

The four-core cluster kicks in when the device is handling what Nvidia called "high-performance tasks": web browsing and gaming, primarily.

Web browsing? You don't get Adobe Flash support for nothing, folks…

Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core-plus-one ARM processor

The extra core is a "patent pending" trick Nvidia calls "Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP)".

And you might well ask why Nvidia hasn't simply used one of the four main cores for the kind of tasks the fifth core will run. Presumably that's because it hasn't been able to implement core gating, allowing Tegra 3 to switch off three cores without hindering the fourth.

The fifth core can run at up to 1.4GHz, the four-core cluster at up to 1.3GHz. The chip supports up to 2GB of 1066MHz DDR 3 memory.

Still, Tegra 3 should impress gamers, and it's telling that Nvidia trotted out dozens of mobile gaming companies to praise its product. Nvidia promised 15 Tegra 3 games are currently in development.

Together with Nvidia, Asus confirmed the follow-up to its impressive Eee Pad Transformer tablet - the Transformer Prime - will be based on the Tegra 3, which has now gone into production.

However it's put together, the Tegra 3 certainly raises the tablet processor bar. Apple's upcoming A6 is going to have to jump that bit higher if it wants to stay ahead. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Dragon Age Inquisition: Our chief weapons are...
Bioware's fantasy forces in fine fettle
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.