NVIDIA has been in the mobile chipset industry for a couple of years now and with moderate success. Its capabilities were often overshadowed by the competing Samsung alternative which usually launches a few months after NVIDIA announces the Tegra chipset. The same happened last year when NVIDIA announced the quad core Tegra 3 chipset and Samsung followed it up with the Exynos 4412 quad core chipset a few months later.
And it seems like the trend is continuing into 2013 as well with NVIDIA taking the wraps off its new quad core SoC for 2013 mobile devices, just a couple of days before the CES 2013 event. This is dubbed the Tegra 4 as you would expect and is the successor to the Tegra 3 chipset. So what’s different with the new SoC? Well, it’s still quad core and not octa core like a few would have imagined last year. There is a substantial amount of difference however between the Tegra 3 and the Tegra 4 chipsets. For starters, this one here comes with a 72 core GPU compared to the 12 core GPU on the Tegra 3. If that doesn’t paint a picture for you, NVIDIA’s comparison chart shown in the presentation certainly will (as shown in the picture below). The GPU also comes with support for 4K (4,000 pixels) video resolution.
The chipset comes with four ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores made using the 28nm technology, meaning better efficiency compared to the predecessor. NVIDIA claims that this is the world’s fastest mobile processor, and rightly so. But for how long, we can’t quite say. The chipset continues to use the “4+1” architecture with an extra power saving core. Although here, the power saving core is more advanced and is the successor of what we saw in the Tegra 3. The chip also makes use of something known as the PRISM 2 technology, which apparently consumes less power from the device’s display backlight, saving decent amount of power in the process. NVIDIA has tons of more stats lined up for us including a few comparisons with new gen devices, which can be found at their official press release (source link below).
What’s clear from this new announcement is that NVIDIA continues to be a force to reckon with, which as we said is until we learn of Samsung’s intentions. Samsung’s Exynos 5 Dual (5250) is a decent chipset which provides stellar performance despite being only dual core. The reason for this is the 32nm ARM Cortex A15 CPU used in the chipset. So with the Tegra 4’s 28nm quad core ARM Cortex A15 CPU, one can imagine the magnitude of awesomeness that it brings forth. For now, it seems like the Tegra 4 is the true king of the mobile chipset arena and deservingly so. However, as with any ARM Cortex A15 based CPU, these could also be pretty heavy on the battery. So even with the PRISM 2 technology, and the extra battery saving core in the chipset, we would like to see how the chip would perform in day-to-day usage. There’s no word on when we’ll see the chip arrive in smartphones, but it shouldn’t be long now with the CES just around the corner. Barring that, there’s the MWC in Barcelona next month which will give us a fair insight on what OEMs have in store for us. The Tegra 4 can be used in Windows tablet PCs as well as Android devices, so expect to see plenty of these devices rocking the new SoC in the coming months. What are your thoughts on the new Tegra 4 chipset?