Nvidia shows tech demo of quad-core "Kal-El" tablet chip

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Nvidia has begun showing off the very first tech demo for their upcoming 'Kal-El' quad core Tegra processor, which will be available for Android mobile devices before the end of 2011. Dubbed Glowball, the video posted below shows the output from a prototype Honeycomb device, with a ball illuminated from the inside rolling around a dark room as the user tilts the tablet, while shadows and lighting effects are rendered in real time at over 30 frames per second.

The result is quite impressive -- as usual with tech demos. Looking to highlight the difference in power between this and existing dual-core chips on the market, Nvidia then switches off a couple of cores and the game becomes unplayable as it starts to lag noticeably. This is still pre-production silicon, Nvidia says the final chip will perform 25-30% faster.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the Computex trade show in Taipei, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said Kal-El would provide better graphics for gamers and for non-gamers with greater energy-efficiency. According to the executive, a the tablet could run the Glowball game for four to six hours on a single charge with all four cores running.

Billed as world's first quad-core mobile solution, Tegra 3 will feature four Cortex-A9 cores clocked at up to 1.5 GHz and twelve graphics cores, promising to double its predecessor's CPU performance and triple its graphics performance. Products based on the new chip will reportedly go on sale starting in September, and will be offered at a "huge" range of prices. Qualcomm has also announced a quad-core CPU, but doesn't plan any retail products until 2012.

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