The Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, formerly known as Kal-El, has been officially unveiled by the company and will be the world’s first quad-core processor designed for mobile devices.
The chip has ARM A9-based architecture and has a 12-core GeForce GPU, offering three times the overall performance of the Tegra 2, according to Nvidia. It will also feature improved multitasking, browsing, and app performance, and the first device that it will power is the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which is due out in December of this year for $500 for the 32 GB model.
While one would think that having four cores in a mobile device’s processor is a surefire way to sap battery life blisteringly fast, this is not the case with the Tegra 3 thanks to a technology called Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP). vSMP is made possible by the presence of a fifth “companion” processor in the Tegra 3 that gets used during times of low processing activity. When you switch to more intense processes like gaming, multitasking, or actively browsing through web pages, the chip’s other four cores will fire up. Otherwise, if your tablet is idle or only being used for something minor like reading a document or a static webpage, the four primary processing cores of the Tegra 3 shut down completely to spare your battery. Nvidia is claiming that vSMP will grant the Tegra 3 61% lower power consumption than its predecessor.
And before the year’s end, Nvidia expects to release around 40 games specifically designed to capitalize on the processing abilities of the Tegra 3, 15 of which will be available in the Android Tegra Zone app, which showcases Tegra-optimized games.