Nvidia intros quad-core Tegra, shares roadmap through 2014

By on February 15, 2011, 8:02 PM
Nvidia has dropped some impressive news during this year's Mobile World Congress, unveiling a quad-core Tegra processor and a three-year roadmap for its speedy SoC. Codenamed "Kal-El," the new Tegra chip is already sampling and could land in products as early as August. Nvidia hasn't shared the chip's official name, but the company supposedly views it as the third-gen Tegra and has referred to it as the Tegra 3.

Kal-El packs four processing cores and twelve graphics cores that promise to double the Tegra 2's CPU performance and triple its graphics performance. Those increases are at least partially supported by the Coremark 1.0 results Nvidia shared. Kal-El scored 11,354 in in the benchmark, which is nearly double the Tegra 2's 5,840 points. The new Tegra also outscored Intel's dual-core Core 2 Duo T7200 mobile processor.

Demonstrating the chip's power, Nvidia fired up a 1440p (2560x1600) video and streamed it from an unreleased tablet to a 30-inch monitor. "[Kal-El is] able to do extreme high-definition video, the likes of which has never been seen in a mobile device, or for that matter, on any consume product," said Nvidia's Phil Carmack. That speed comes without raising the TDP as Kal-El is more efficient than the Tegra 2.

As impressive as the next-gen Tegra processor is, it's only the start of what's to come. According to Nvidia's roadmap, the company plans to launch an updated Tegra architecture every year through 2014. "Wayne" will follow Kal-El in 2012, "Logan" is due in 2013, and by 2014 Nvidia plans to unleash its "Stark" processor, which will bring nearly a 100-fold increase in computational power from 2010's Tegra 2.

User Comments: 20

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dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Superhero themed naming......why so shy Nvidia?

Guest said:

wow they are getting very aggressive in the mobile chip market. its good to see, competition is good for us consumers. now if they would just put that kind of fire back into their desktop gpu development engine.

DokkRokken said:

Pfft, Wayne never gets the respect he deserves.

Guest said:

Why so slow release if they already have the technology?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Looks like a good time to buy nVidia stock.

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

Wow they sure aren't very creative about their code names.

I wonder if Kal-El is the same as what's going to be in the NGP

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

sarcasm said:

Wow they sure aren't very creative about their code names.

I wonder if Kal-El is the same as what's going to be in the NGP

Nope. The NPG has a PowerVR GPU in it, which is obviously not NVIDIA's.

The day that a Tegra 3 tablet comes out, is the day that I buy one! Here's to hoping that the Adam 2 has one!

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

What a turn of events, although much of these plans have yet to unfold, who would have thought Nvidia could turn itself into a processing powerhouse. Moreover, how will the traditional chipmakers respond (AMD and Intel) to these potential threats and others from major mobile players like Arm.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

In the HPC arena, things will sure rattle up a bit, especially if nVidia is able to deliver the promised performance leaps. As it probably would make them (Intel/AMD/Arm) innovate as well, and come up with competing products.

On the mobile side of things, Intel is already poised to enter the mobile market; so it leaves AMD out of this equation for now. I remember reading somewhere how SGSII gets hot after some time, so I think with multicore CPUs one need to address heat issues as well along with power.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

Interesting code name indeed. While "Fermi" alluded to atomic bomb-sized impact on the world of desktop graphics, "Kal-El" might point to mobile performance potential that's out of this world.

LauRoman said:

I'm just nitpicking here but Kal-El and Wayne are DC superheroes and Logan and Stark are from the Marvel universe. So it is obvious that the person who came up with the names isn't all that geeky.

princeton princeton said:

I love the nitpicking about the names. Funny how these same people haven't noticed naming your releases after desserts isn't exactly original either.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I expect the "Stark" Processor to run the onboard computer in my Ironman suit in 2014.

Also, nitpicking is lame... though I suppose it takes your geekdom to a new level, if that's what you want.. =p

Jibberish18 said:

Nvidia is exciting. I'm going to take a guess and say that the next hardware requirements of WinPhone7 phones will require a Tegra2 chip. Maybe I'm wrong.

MrAnderson said:

I think the Superhero code names are a cool way to generate mainstream interest. But they pulled the Superman card pretty quick; I like that.

I hope battery life can cope with these improvements in performance and processing power.

Although they are making these improvements with greater efficiency, I imagine at some point they will approach laptop or desktop power usage. Something has to give...

The manufacturing companies are having trouble bring the smaller processes to market in time, so I hope things run smoothly for Nvidia, as I would like to see them bring ARM to greater places, continue to show their engineering prowise, and contine to be competitive with the other ARM component developers.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Would not mind having a 1+ Ghz cell carrying Tegra 2 But I wonder what will be battery life with these new beasts.

Jibberish18 said:

Apparently they run efficiently. I was reading Anantech's review of the Tegra 2 and being as damn thorough and technical as he is, it seems that Nvidia included everything you needed for efficiency. You'll have to read the review but it explains a lot.

MrAnderson said:

Yes the Tegra 2 is supposed to be more efficient than the Tegra, and more powerful performance wise so great. But something will give since battery improvements are not moving at the same rate.

Nvidia's ability to create updated Graphics designs on older designs will pay off if the wish to adopt the iterative ARM product road map. I think it is smart and fresh way to keep the mobile market vital with agile hardware design and development. I would however, like to see better ways to protect the data on my mobile devices wistle making the switch to a newer model easier.

Will I be storing all my important data on a removeable storage device... oh and do I have that option on Andriod phones. Yeah not bothering to say Apple because well we know that has a lock on the box.

Zeromus said:

Oh sony should just drop the stupid powerVR and use this for NGP! I'm sure this has better performance than the Graphics synthesizer on the ps3.

siiix siiix said:

i dont think any game will need the performance , even crysis2 runs max resolution/setting on several year old hardware, unless your in to professorial development its irrelevant how fast your GPU is this days.. why would i upgrade just to get 3000FPS instead of 1000FPS , its waste of money with out software that would benefit from the GPU performance ... well except bragging rights witch i dont care about

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