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Mobes with monster 72-core GPU to debut in China

ZTE says handsets packing Tegra 4 system-on-chip will land before July

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Nvidia’s supercharged quad-core Tegra 4 SoC, which packs a mighty 72 GPU cores, has finally found a mobile home after handset maker ZTE announced new smartphones featuring the chip will debut in China in the first half of 2013.

The Tegra 4 was unveiled last month at CES but has so far been left to stand at the altar by the smartphone makers, like the intimidatingly powerful bride it is.

That’s set to change now and could bring smartphone users significant leaps in graphics capability courtesy of those 72 custom GeForce cores. This will obviously make for smoother, more realistic gaming on the mobile but also, as The Reg pointed out at CES, improved photos with High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging support.

The quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU is not a huge performance leap up from Tegra 3 by comparison but the SoC apparently manages to consume 45 per cent less power than its predecessor, thanks in part to a “second-generation battery-saver core”.

As per Tegra 3, this extra (fifth) CPU core runs the phone during normal operation, allowing the A15s to take over when some serious processing power is needed.

Improved web browsing and app download times are also promised by Nvidia.

There’s no detail yet on which handset models will sport the new chips, although one of them will be an LTE version featuring Nvidia’s i500 chipset, ZTE said. That chipset has been crammed inside a new smaller SoC, the 4i, which was announced on Tuesday.

Nvidia explains its performance efficiency benefits and why the i500 is likely to be around for a while to come, in a blog post here.

Sadly ZTE was unable to confirm if or when the upcoming Tegra 4 handsets would make it out of the People’s Republic.

Nvidia isn’t the only chip firm looking to set its stall out ahead of MWC next week, however. STEricsson announced on Wednesday what it claims to be the world’s fastest smartphone processor – the gargantuan 3Ghz NovaThor L8580.

The 28nm, Cortex-A9 chip is being touted by ST as a disruptor in the wireless space, although it remains a prototype so won’t be in devices for some time yet. ®

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