Nvidia outs five-core ARM chip
Tegra 3 has one core for general stuff, four more for games
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…
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. ®
"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."
actually the fifth core is implemented with different underlying transistor fab technology that consumes less power so it is used when compute power requirements are limited and the four cores are gated off. The implication is that four cores (higher performance, higher power consumption) are required for all that web browsing with Flash and the coloured blob dodging stuff.
www.realworldtech.com has a good article (as usual) if you're interested further ...
LOL, still towing the Jobs "Android == Geek" line.
It must be sounding very tired by now. Android in it's Honeycomb guise is far more intuitive that iOS. You have widgets, rather than just a slab of icons for instance.
Sure there is complexity, but nobody is forced to use any of that to achieve what they need to to, they basics are just as easy to use (if not easier) than iOS. However if you are a geek, you optionally have more toys and settings to play with. The key point that Apple idiots can't fathom out is the OPTIONALLY bit.
By the style of your writing, I am calling out your claims of owning (and crashing) Android as bullshit. I have never heard of Android crashing, sure it might be possible, but it's extremely rare (and rarer than iOS crashes which seem to be quite frequent from a quick scan of the Apple forums)>
That is impressive
Improving the performance contra power consumption equation by a spread of most of an order of magnitude is very impressive. Intel reckons its low power challenge will be available in 2013 according to the roadmap they announced recently - they are going to have to go some to match the accelerating development of the ARM SoCs.
big.LITTLE, done different
A slightly different approach to ARMs big.LITTLE heterogeneous computing multicore effort. Wonder if we're about to see patents collide over parts of this. One things sure, Nvidia don't have this all to themselves, thanks to big.LITTLE every ARM licencee can do something equivalent.
...put the 2 ideas together, simplified core+low power fabrication and... well, nothing really, the damn radio hardware will still dwarf the standby power saving!
You say "user experience"...
...I say "iTunes".