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Nvidia unveils new quad-core Tegra 3 processor to challenge Apple's A5

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
Chipmaker Nvidia has taken the wraps off its new Tegra 3 mobile processor, a quad-core chip three times faster than its predecessor, with ASUS' Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet the first device to sport it.

The new chip, code-named Kal-El, features a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU and a 12-core GeForce graphics processor, as well as a fifth "companion" processor for improved power management, as reported by Wired.

Nvidia is touting the chip as "the world's first mobile quad core." The CPU reaches speeds of 1.4GHz in single-core mode and 1.3GHz in quad-core. The companion core runs at 500 megahertz, ready to take over for simple tasks such as light web browsing and music playback.

The company claims that, when matched up against Apple's custom A5 chip, the Tegra 3 is two times faster at video transcoding and photo stitching.

New Tegra chips will arrive at the pace of one per year through 2014. The fourth-generation Tegra, code-named Wayne, will be ten times faster than the Tegra 2, VentureBeat reports.



More than meets the eye

Asus has revealed that its Transformer Prime tablet will be the first to feature the Tegra 3. As an upgraded version of the original Eee Pad Transformer tablet, the device will sport an 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, 1GB of RAM and a 10-inch, 1280 x 800 screen. As for battery life, Asus promises 12 hours of HD video playback on the tablet.

32GB and 64GB versions of the tablets will cost $499 and $599, respectively, when they arrive next month. The device will launch first with Android Honeycomb 3.2, with an over-the-air update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to arrive shortly after launch.

Asus' Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet is the first to feature the Tegra 3.

Leaked reports suggest that HTC will be the first to put the Tegra 3 to use in a smartphone. The so-called HTC Edge is expected to be the first quad-core phone when it arrives in early 2012.

Apples to Apples

For its part, Apple is said to be readying its own quad-core A6 CPU for release early next year. Varying reports have pegged either Samsung or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company as the supplier. The A6 will reportedly be based on 28-nanometer processing technology.

Earlier this year, quad-core ARM CPU support was discovered hidden inside Apple's Xcode developer tool. Apple's current chip, the dual-core A5, which is also based off of ARM's Cortex 9 processor, offers graphics processing up to nine times faster than the A4.

post #2 of 82
ImgTec is on-hand to make a major announcement next week with Khronos on OpenCL, in Tokyo, along with AMD and Nvidia.

http://www.khronos.org/news/events/p...ference-opencl

Nothing Nvidia will present can touch the combination from ImgTec/ARM that Apple licenses and produces their own combined SoC solution(s).

The A6 is obviously targeted at the A-15 processor. The next version of the ImgTec will most likely be 32 cores for GPGPU processing and then their is better OpenGL support along with a newer version of OpenCL--the same technology that Nvidia continues to dream CUDA will become the superior offer.

Apple doesn't even bother with Nvidia anymore.

Desktop is OpenGL/OpenCL with AMD GPGPUs.

Embedded is OpenGL/OpenCL with ARM/ImgTec GPGPUs.

By the time Nvidia's Tegra is ready to be released Apple will be gearing up for the iPad 3 ramp up.
post #3 of 82
12 hours for the ASUS Transformer for HD video gives me hope that the next iPad will also increase its battery usage times. I say this because ASUS has been accurate with their battery ratings and also close, though under, Apple in this category.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For its part, Apple is said to be readying its own quad-core A6 CPU for release early next year. Varying reports have pegged either Samsung or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company as the supplier. The A6 will reportedly be based on 28-nanometer processing technology.

Something to consider about the next iPad release
Looking purely at historical evidence it would seem likely that we'd get a 32nm dual-Cortex A9 design at higher clocks first. If Apple wants to release an iPad update early next year, that's likely what we'll see. That still doesn't preclude a late 2012 release of a dual-Cortex A15 solution, perhaps for use in the next iPhone.
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post #4 of 82
When Apple upgrades a processor, we find out AFTER its introduction in a machine that ships.

Nvidia's Quad Core Tegra has only been announced at this point.

Time will tell...
post #5 of 82
a Quad Core to Challenge a Dual Core LOOL
post #6 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by techpr View Post

a Quad Core to Challenge a Dual Core LOOL

If I am remembering correctly the dual-core Tegra 2 barely beats out the single-core A4 in the first iPad.
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post #7 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

When Apple upgrades a processor, we find out AFTER its introduction in a machine that ships.

Nvidia's Quad Core Tegra has only been announced at this point.

Time will tell...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaporware

Quote:
Vaporware is a term in the computer industry that describes a product, typically computer hardware or software, that is announced to the general public but is never actually released nor officially canceled.

Nope.
Quote:
Vaporware is also a term sometimes used to describe events that are announced or predicted, never officially cancelled, but never intended to happen.

Nope.
Quote:
The term also generally applies to a product that is announced months or years before its release, and for which public development details are lacking.

Nope.

I've never understood the obsession with calling pre-announced products "Vapor". It screams of people with their head in the sand or acting like a child with its eyes shut and fingers in its ears screaming to try to ignore what is happening.

Kal-El is due out in December. It's very much real.
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post #8 of 82
" ... The company claims that, when matched up against Apple's custom A5 chip, the Tegra 3 is two times faster at video transcoding and photo stitching. ..."

But is it faster for games than the A5. So how many polygons per second?

J.
post #9 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

" ... The company claims that, when matched up against Apple's custom A5 chip, the Tegra 3 is two times faster at video transcoding and photo stitching. ..."

But is it faster for games than the A5. So how many polygons per second?

J.

Surely you mean "But is it faster for games than the PowerVR SGX543MP2"? That's what's pushing those polygons.
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post #10 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaporware

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

I've never understood the obsession with calling pre-announced products "Vapor". It screams of people with their head in the sand or acting like a child with its eyes shut and fingers in its ears screaming to try to ignore what is happening.

Kal-El is due out in December. It's very much real.

You are the one who called it vaporware, not him. He makes a good point to question its performance, especially considering how the claims of the Tegra 2 ended up not being as grande as Nvidia claimed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

Surely you mean "But is it faster for games than the PowerVR SGX543MP2"? That's what's pushing those polygons.

Which is part of the A5. There is nothing wrong with his statement.
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post #11 of 82
Just finished reading the review about ASUS Transformer Prime (on another website), a truly fantastic device! I have played with the current Transformer in BestBuy and it was the tablet I enjoyed most. IMO, with the keyboard, the upcoming Prime offers usability somewhere between iPad2 and the Air.

The fifth core in the Kal-El chip is an interesting feature. Reportedly, it will offer great battery savings upon lower usage, including audio (and even video, although I suppose not HD) playback.
post #12 of 82
Hooray! It's the megahertz war all over again!
post #13 of 82
Are Android devices still going to be shit? Plagued by lag and choppiness that comes from using a shitty and inferior OS?

At the end of the day, the specs don't mean much. Quad-core, schmad-core, what matters is how a device actually works and operates. And if a device is not silky smooth, then who gives a crap about how many cores it has?

Fandroid: My new Android tablet is so fucking amazing! I just bought it today!
iPad user: Oh yeah, what's so great about it?
Fandroid: It's much better than your iPad 2!
iPad user: Oh really, why is that?
Fandroid: It has a new octo-core chip, 1.8 Ghz!
iPad user: That's nice, but I notice that the UI on your tablet is still very choppy. Why is that?
Fandroid: Ever since my mother dropped me on my head when I was an infant, I lost the ability to see more than 10 frames per second, so to me, I can't really tell the difference. And besides, did I mention that it has a new octo-core chip, 1.8 Ghz?
iPad user: Yeah, you did. Are you leaving already?
Fandroid: Yep, I have to split. I just got a tweet and I found out that they're releasing a newer model of my tablet in 3 weeks time, 1.9 Ghz! So I'm going to try and sell mine before it becomes obsolete. The new model is going to be running the newest OS, sweet vanilla yogurt muffins mixed with drunken puke, I have to get me that! It's not easy being a Fandroid!
post #14 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

Hooray! It's the megahertz war all over again!

It's not a war, just a very well known trend in the evolution of technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law
post #15 of 82
The A5 is clocked at 800mhz and performs better than dual core 1.4ghz cpus on Android due to the operating system. Android is the weak link making the silicon look bad. Until this is addressed nothing is going to change.
post #16 of 82
Most people can't make use of four cores on a desktop machine -- what are four cores supposed to do in a tablet or phone? I think it's telling that nvidia used "video transcoding" as their benchmark (who doesn't rip DVDs on thei phone?)

I trust that if apple comes out with a quad core chip that it will actually have some practical use/benefit and that otherwise they will come out with a faster dual core chip.
post #17 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Fandroid: My new Android tablet is so fucking amazing! I just bought it today!
iPad user: Oh yeah, what's so great about it?
Fandroid: It's much better than your iPad 2!
iPad user: Oh really, why is that?
Fandroid: It has a new octo-core chip, 1.8 Ghz!
iPad user: That's nice, but I notice that the UI on your tablet is still very choppy. Why is that?
Fandroid: Ever since my mother dropped me on my head when I was an infant, I lost the ability to see more than 10 frames per second, so to me, I can't really tell the difference. And besides, did I mention that it has a new octo-core chip, 1.8 Ghz?
iPad user: Yeah, you did. Are you leaving already?
Fandroid: Yep, I have to split. I just got a tweet and I found out that they're releasing a newer model of my tablet in 3 weeks time, 1.9 Ghz! So I'm going to try and sell mine before it becomes obsolete. The new model is going to be running the newest OS, sweet vanilla yogurt muffins mixed with drunken puke, I have to get me that! It's not easy being a Fandroid!

Not bad
post #18 of 82
Nvidias solution with a companion core is interesting.

Nvidia also finally have included NEON SIMD extensions into their ARM platform. This is the first "good" Tegra chip.

Apples A6 will be much more elegant. At least it will be 28nm. They will probably use ARM 15 cores instead of Cortex9. This means that the raw CPU performance will be 100% more per clock cycle.

Tegra 3 would have been interesting if it had been released on time 3-6 month ago. Now it only have 1-2 month lead before 28 nm ARMS are started to be manufactured.

HIstory also have shown that Android is not good on using the power in their SoCs. Since Google don't control the graphical layer, they can't accelerate the OS with GPU/SIMD. This is why single core A4 was only 3-8% slower then Dual core Tegras.
Maybe Ice cream sandwich will be great, but todays Android 2.3 for example: the default Android browser only support one core.
post #19 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sipadan View Post

Not bad

Jeez, you didn't need to quote the whole thing. Kind of defeats my ignore list...
post #20 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsenka View Post

Hooray! It's the megahertz war all over again!

It almost seems that way...but I think it is just the technology is evolving on get this TABLETS!! Who would have guessed that since the last true megahertz processor war!!!

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post #21 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


The new chip, code-named Kal-El...

Chuckle
post #22 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Are Android devices still going to be shit? Plagued by lag and choppiness that comes from using a shitty and inferior OS?

At the end of the day, the specs don't mean much. Quad-core, schmad-core, what matters is how a device actually works and operates. And if a device is not silky smooth, then who gives a crap about how many cores it has?

Fandroid: My new Android tablet is so fucking amazing! I just bought it today!
iPad user: Oh yeah, what's so great about it?
Fandroid: It's much better than your iPad 2!
iPad user: Oh really, why is that?
Fandroid: It has a new octo-core chip, 1.8 Ghz!
iPad user: That's nice, but I notice that the UI on your tablet is still very choppy. Why is that?
Fandroid: Ever since my mother dropped me on my head when I was an infant, I lost the ability to see more than 10 frames per second, so to me, I can't really tell the difference. And besides, did I mention that it has a new octo-core chip, 1.8 Ghz?
iPad user: Yeah, you did. Are you leaving already?
Fandroid: Yep, I have to split. I just got a tweet and I found out that they're releasing a newer model of my tablet in 3 weeks time, 1.9 Ghz! So I'm going to try and sell mine before it becomes obsolete. The new model is going to be running the newest OS, sweet vanilla yogurt muffins mixed with drunken puke, I have to get me that! It's not easy being a Fandroid!

Hilarious
May I use this mock dialogue? in some other site?

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post #23 of 82
Why some sites says Tegra 3 has 5 cores?

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/09/tegra-3-5-cores/
post #24 of 82
Everyone should have learned by now that higher iPad type device specs do not translate into a better user experience, not by a large margin. The hardware is just part of the equation. The Tegra 2 was a perfect example of that.
post #25 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by techpr View Post

a Quad Core to Challenge a Dual Core LOOL

I'd go for it.

The Cortex A15 dual-core is supposed to be a better performer than a Cortex A9 quad-core -- AND use less power too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_wwgTMcGXI

Then just add PowerVR SGX 600 series (Rogue), and the A5 will be quite the slouch...

http://www.electronista.com/articles...gx600.details/
post #26 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Are Android devices still going to be shit? Plagued by lag and choppiness that comes from using a shitty and inferior OS?

At the end of the day, the specs don't mean much. Quad-core, schmad-core, what matters is how a device actually works and operates. And if a device is not silky smooth, then who gives a crap about how many cores it has?

Fandroid: My new Android tablet is so fucking amazing! I just bought it today!
iPad user: Oh yeah, what's so great about it?
Fandroid: It's much better than your iPad 2!
iPad user: Oh really, why is that?
Fandroid: It has a new octo-core chip, 1.8 Ghz!
iPad user: That's nice, but I notice that the UI on your tablet is still very choppy. Why is that?
Fandroid: Ever since my mother dropped me on my head when I was an infant, I lost the ability to see more than 10 frames per second, so to me, I can't really tell the difference. And besides, did I mention that it has a new octo-core chip, 1.8 Ghz?
iPad user: Yeah, you did. Are you leaving already?
Fandroid: Yep, I have to split. I just got a tweet and I found out that they're releasing a newer model of my tablet in 3 weeks time, 1.9 Ghz! So I'm going to try and sell mine before it becomes obsolete. The new model is going to be running the newest OS, sweet vanilla yogurt muffins mixed with drunken puke, I have to get me that! It's not easy being a Fandroid!

That's pretty accurate... lol Android is one choppy OS. When my finger swipes across the screen, the icons lag behind my finger swiping speed, which grows as my finger swipes. My finger got to the edge of the screen, but the icons my finger was just under when I first touched the screen were only half way across in the animation. They still haven't fixed this issue after all this time? The iPad and iPhone just feel natural to work with.
post #27 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

The A5 is clocked at 800mhz and performs better than dual core 1.4ghz cpus on Android due to the operating system. Android is the weak link making the silicon look bad. Until this is addressed nothing is going to change.

It would be very interesting to see Linux, with a light weight desktop environment, running on this chip.
post #28 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncore View Post

Why some sites says Tegra 3 has 5 cores?

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/09/tegra-3-5-cores/

That seems like a pretty novel approach, on paper. Real world experience will tell whether they succeeded or failed.
post #29 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonimus View Post

I'd go for it.

The Cortex A15 dual-core is supposed to be a better performer than a Cortex A9 quad-core -- AND use less power too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_wwgTMcGXI

Then just add PowerVR SGX 600 series (Rogue), and the A5 will be quite the slouch...

http://www.electronista.com/articles...gx600.details/

That makes a lot of sense to me.
post #30 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

It would be very interesting to see Linux, with a light weight desktop environment, running on this chip.

It'll be a slug and a battery waster. Linux is not optimized to run on battery powered devices and such low resources.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag..._regress&num=1

There will have to be significant work done to Linux to make it viable. Otherwise, it'll be more like a Windows Slate device, where battery runtime is very low and the OS very sluggish. The problem with Linux (and I'm a big fan and user of it and actually writing this from PCLinuxOS right now) is that the kernel is predominately developed by groups whose interest is in the server arena. Groups like Novell, Red Hat, IBM, and HP have very little interest in the desktop. Con Kolivas used to write patches for the Linux Kernel to improve desktop performance, as it was largely ignored by the mainline developers. He quit doing so in frustration in 2007. He later, in 2009, released the BFS Scheduler to improve desktop performance. Google, has undoubtedly, worked the Linux kernel to improve battery life to some degree. I'm not sure how much of that code got sent upstream.
post #31 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

I've never understood the obsession with calling pre-announced products "Vapor". It screams of people with their head in the sand or acting like a child with its eyes shut and fingers in its ears screaming to try to ignore what is happening.

Speaking of obsession, indeed In the future, it would help to remember: such points work much better if you wait until someone actually mentions your pet peeve before you go off on them about it.
post #32 of 82
I noted that they have the half-speed processor in there for regular duty -which is probably why "in average use" they can claim 10 hours of battery life in the Asus tabbie. It will be interesting to see what the wattage is for the quad-core in actual use. Then again given the Android devs "freedom" to do what they want on the platform, I expect that a number of the games will leap immediately to using the full speed cores and graphics processing and erode that battery life to a couple of hours. For the average Android user, this shouldn't be an issue, but for the incessantly self-congratulatory geek users/gamers they will be running the bad boy tethers to power to save battery.

I'm hoping that the Android team is looking this over carefully so that Ice Cream Sandwich, or Cotton Candy, or Cream Puff or whatever the next "dessert" is can provide users with some dedicated core management controls to maintain battery life for the phones and tabbies. The number one complaint from my less rabid Android owning friends is battery life under the current distros (Eclair/Froyo/Gingerbread). Stuttery controls the next favorite is a moot point at best. In fact I have to caution my average user friends to not talk too much about battery life or controls around my phAndroid phriends - or else they will get a 10 minute long tirade about how sweet everything is and how they should be revelling in their "phreedom" and not trapped like all the Apple users. Ironically a recent tirade like that actually caused one of my friends to actually go try out and ultimately purchase an iPad 2. Boy, did that unleash a followup floor-kicking tantrum! Sigh.

Anyway, will Intel be able to drive competition for this level of development with the Atom series?
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post #33 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonimus View Post

I'd go for it.

The Cortex A15 dual-core is supposed to be a better performer than a Cortex A9 quad-core -- AND use less power too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_wwgTMcGXI

...

He was comparing quad core A9 to dual core A9, not to dual core A15. Newer processors will always be better, duh...
post #34 of 82
I'm delighted to see people pushing the ARM forward. I think Apple is pragmatic enough that if nVidia does come up with a really terrific design that blows away Apple's next candidate processor, they could just switch to the nVidia chip. They're all just ARMs, right? From a developer standpoint, nothing would need to change. We wouldn't even need to recompile.

Can someone with knowledge on the matter answer these questions: are these things pin compatible? Do they all have identical instruction sets, or does nVidia or Apple get to add custom instructions without breaking their licenses?
post #35 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruel24 View Post

It'll be a slug and a battery waster. Linux is not optimized to run on battery powered devices and such low resources.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag..._regress&num=1

There will have to be significant work done to Linux to make it viable. Otherwise, it'll be more like a Windows Slate device, where battery runtime is very low and the OS very sluggish. The problem with Linux (and I'm a big fan and user of it and actually writing this from PCLinuxOS right now) is that the kernel is predominately developed by groups whose interest is in the server arena. Groups like Novell, Red Hat, IBM, and HP have very little interest in the desktop. Con Kolivas used to write patches for the Linux Kernel to improve desktop performance, as it was largely ignored by the mainline developers. He quit doing so in frustration in 2007. He later, in 2009, released the BFS Scheduler to improve desktop performance. Google, has undoubtedly, worked the Linux kernel to improve battery life to some degree. I'm not sure how much of that code got sent upstream.

I dunno. Google talked a lot about pushing Google innovations back to Linux, but since the Android team itself is pretty small at Google, I don't think they have the resources, nor that Google would for appearances sake /PR spend the dollars to staff for Linux support. Commentary out there is not promising:

Linus Torvalds via ZDNet: Linus said he thought that Android could be merged back into Linux as a common kernel, but not effectively for 4-5 years.

Linux.com and Greg Kroah-Hartman: Linux kernel maintainers felt that Google did not show any intent to maintain their own code. G K-H also indicated he was concerned that Google was no longer trying to get their code changes included in mainstream Linux.

Computerworld: Android devs have claimed that "the Android team was getting fed up with the process", felt this was a low priority due to more pressing Android core development needs and inadequate staffing to address it.

The Linux teams haven't been sitting still though: last year Raf Wysocki patched the mainline Linux wakeup events framework so that it was easier to merge Android device drivers that use wakelocks into mainline Linux, but recommended that Android's opportunistic suspend should not be included.

So the question is, is Google serious about maintaining compatibility with Linux, or is it just pandering to the Linux community as a PR tool?
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post #36 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaporware
Nope.
Nope.
Nope.
I've never understood the obsession with calling pre-announced products "Vapor". It screams of people with their head in the sand or acting like a child with its eyes shut and fingers in its ears screaming to try to ignore what is happening.

Kal-El is due out in December. It's very much real.

Just to be clear it's "vapor" not "vaporware".

"Vaporware" refers to something that is announced but the commenter presumes won't be released. For example "almost every article predicting what the next iDevice will be like is useless because they are just describing vaporware".

"Vapor" is something that will be released, but the commenter believes it may not live up to the hype. Kind of like saying "I'll believe it when I see it". For example "I know you said your car was that fast, but until I see it on the track it's just vapor".

I'm not sure who coined the term, but they must have been an idiot. It sounds stupid, it doesn't make sense and there was always going to be confusion between "vapor" and "vaporware".
post #37 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Just finished reading the review about ASUS Transformer Prime (on another website), a truly fantastic device! I have played with the current Transformer in BestBuy and it was the tablet I enjoyed most. IMO, with the keyboard, the upcoming Prime offers usability somewhere between iPad2 and the Air.

The fifth core in the Kal-El chip is an interesting feature. Reportedly, it will offer great battery savings upon lower usage, including audio (and even video, although I suppose not HD) playback.

The Kal-El chip is an interesting design. There is a race right now to get the most performance out of a low power ARM design without sacrificing energy consumption metrics. The older Tegra 2 looked good on paper but was absolutely trounced by the A5, especially when it came to graphics, which is (ironically) Nvidia's home turf. Using a 5-core design including one of them being a special low power version has some advantages:

1. Great performance with 4 cores if the application is multithreaded

2. The low power core can extend the battery life considerably. It might be possible to use it exclusively in low battery situations.

Disadvantages:

1. You need to rewrite Android's kernel to prioritize which core system is used for what task.

2. The extra core makes the chip die larger which makes production of the chip more expensive.

It's also unknown if the graphic performance still rivals what Apple has in the A5 (or the upcoming-likely-4-core A6). The only thing about this design is that I doubt that Apple would have solved the performance/power problem the same way. I've been wondering how much Apple's chip making skills/IP they purchased over the last few years was separating themselves from other ARM designs and we're starting to see that, especially in the A5. The A5 in the iPad clocked at 1 Ghz routinely gets the same performance out of rival chips at 1.2-1.3 Ghz and the iPhone 4s is clocked at 800 Mhz and does just fine against other phones. Apple's battery life for iOS is the envy of the tech world (iPhone 4S bugs not withstanding).

It's said that A4s and A5s can dynamically shift their clock speed depending on the task which may make the need for special low power cores like Kal-El unnecessary (and cheaper to build). The A6 would have similar features and the 28 nm design only makes it more power friendly. Still, the A6 is not likely to see the light of day until the iPad 3..whenever that happens. Kal-El will have it's day in the sun for the time being. I also believe that Nvidia likely has other plans for this chip. The embedded market (media streamers, TVs and other devices) might have a good use for this chip, even if the Android tablet market continues to falter.
post #38 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

By the time Nvidia's Tegra is ready to be released Apple will be gearing up for the iPad 3 ramp up.

The Transformer Prime is going to be released next month. It will be running one. How about you wait until you get one in hand before you judge it.
post #39 of 82
Why are they spinning this like Nvidia is catching up? The A5 came out and the Tegra 2 came out at A4 speeds. Now the A6 will be out soon and the Tegra 3 is coming out at A5 speeds. They are not any closer to catching up. Apple always under-clocks their chips for battery savings. If Nvidia does the same, they may actually perform worse then the A5.
post #40 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

I'm delighted to see people pushing the ARM forward. I think Apple is pragmatic enough that if nVidia does come up with a really terrific design that blows away Apple's next candidate processor, they could just switch to the nVidia chip. They're all just ARMs, right? From a developer standpoint, nothing would need to change. We wouldn't even need to recompile.

Can someone with knowledge on the matter answer these questions: are these things pin compatible? Do they all have identical instruction sets, or does nVidia or Apple get to add custom instructions without breaking their licenses?

The problem for NVidia is that the Tegra 2 didn't even even really challenge the A5...it was pretty much dead on arrival in terms of graphics performance, which is Nvidia's strong suit. They say that Kal-El is twice as fast as the A5 in terms of performance like video encoding. Considering they are benchmarking 4 cores against 2 with a test that is easy to split among cores, I would certainly hope so. The real test will be if they can advance the field with single-core performance and especially with graphics performance. Just equaling or nominally improving on the A5 won't cut it...you know Apple's A6 will blow that away. When the benchmarks are finally published, it will be interesting to see what Kal-El is really capable of.

And to answer your question, Apple has invested billions in their own processor designs (acquisitions, research, paying for fabs). It's unlikely they would just dump it now and go to Nvidia...not when they have been the performance/power leader for the last few years.
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  • Nvidia unveils new quad-core Tegra 3 processor to challenge Apple's A5
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