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NVIDIA officially unveils quad-core Tegra 3 chip [video]

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:35PM EST

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NVIDIA has finally announced its quad-core ARM Cortex A9 Tegra 3 processor, previously codenamed “Kal-El,” that will deliver “PC-class performance” for tablets and smartphones. NVIDIA said the new chip will offer 3 times the graphics performance of its dual-core Tegra 2 chip and it will consume up to 61% less power. If a user is listening to music or using a phone in a way that does not demand a lot of power, the new chip will automatically throttle down to use a companion core. Once a user fires up a game, browses the Web, or performs a task that needs the extra power, the Tegra 3 processor disables the companion core and activates all four processing cores. In addition to the four cores and the companion core, Tegra 3 also has a 12-core GeForce graphics processing unit with support for stereoscopic 3D, new video engines for playing 1080p HD video and more. NVIDIA said Tegra 3 is in production now and one of the first products to ship with it will be the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. Read on for the full press release and a video that shows off the chip’s gaming capabilities.

NVIDIA Quad-Core Tegra 3 Chip Sets New Standards of Mobile Computing Performance, Energy Efficiency

 Tegra 3’s fifth ‘companion’ core enables ultra-low power consumption, while advanced quad-core processors drive record-breaking performance

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Nov. 8, 2011— NVIDIA today ushered in the era of quad-core mobile computing with the introduction of the NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 processor, bringing PC-class performance levels, better battery life and improved mobile experiences to tablets and phones.  The world’s first quad-core tablet with the Tegra 3 processor is the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

Known previously by the codename “Project Kal-El,” the Tegra 3 processor provides up to 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2, and up to 61 percent lower power consumption. This translates into an industry-leading 12 hours of battery life for HD video playback.

The Tegra 3 processor implements a new, patent-pending technology known as Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP). vSMP includes a fifth CPU “companion”, specifically designed for work requiring little power. The four main cores are specifically designed for work requiring high performance, and generally consume less power than dual-core processors.

During tasks that require less power consumption – like listening to music, playing back video or updating background data – the Tegra 3 processor completely shuts down its four performance-tuned cores and, instead, uses its companion core. For high-performance tasks – like web browsing, multitasking and gaming – the Tegra 3 processor disables the companion.

“NVIDIA’s fifth core is ingenious,” said Nathan Brookwood, Research Fellow at Insight 64. “Tegra 3’s vSMP technology extends the battery life of next-generation mobile devices by using less power when they’re handling undemanding tasks and then ratcheting up performance when it’s really needed.”

The Tegra 3 quad-core CPUs are complemented with a new 12-core NVIDIA GeForce® GPU, which delivers more realism with dynamic lighting, physical effects and high resolution environments, plus support for 3D stereo, giving developers the means to bring the next generation of mobile games to life.

For the millions who play games on mobile devices, the Tegra 3 processor provides an experience comparable to that of a game console. It offers full game-controller support, enabling consumers to play games on their tablet or super phone, or connect to big screen HDTVs for a truly immersive experience. It also leverages NVIDIA’s award-winning 3D Vision technology and automatically converts OpenGL applications to stereo 3D, so consumers can experience 3D on a big screen 3D TV (via HDMI™ 1.4 technology).

The Tegra 3 processor provides the industry’s….

·         Fastest web experience – with accelerated Adobe Flash  Player 11, HTML5 and WebGL browsing, and an optimized Javascript engine

·         Fastest applications – with blazing performance for multimedia apps, such as photo and video editing

·         Fastest multitasking – for switching between common uses, such as playing music and games, and background tasks

·         Fastest, highest-quality gaming – including new Tegra 3 processor-optimized NVIDIA Tegra Zone™ app  games such as Shadowgun, Riptide GP, Sprinkle, Big Top THD, Bladeslinger, DaVinci THD and Chidori.

Highlights / Key Facts:

·         The Tegra 3 processor redefines power consumption and mobile-computing performance with:

o    The world’s first quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU

o    New patent-pending vSMP technology, including a fifth CPU core that runs at a lower frequency and operates at exceptionally low power

o    12-core GeForce GPU, with 3x the graphics performance of the Tegra 2 processor, including support for stereoscopic 3D

o    New video engines with support for 1080p high profile video at 40 Mbps

o    Up to 3x higher memory bandwidth

o    Up to 2x faster Image Signal Processor

·         40 games are expected to be available by the end of 2011, and over 15 Tegra 3 games are under development for Tegra Zone, NVIDIA’s free Android Market app that showcases the best games optimized for the Tegra processor.

·         The Tegra 3 processor is in production. Developers can order the Tegra 3 Developer Kit to create applications for devices with Tegra such as tablets and super phones, at