On Sunday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nvidia on unveiled the new Tegra 4 processor, positioning it as the world's fastest mobile processor. According to the company's internal testing, the Tegra 4 has set new records for performance and battery life in smartphones, tablets, gaming devices, auto infotainment and navigation systems, and PCs.
Previously codenamed "Wayne," the Tegra 4 promises fast graphics processing, fast web browsing, and new camera capabilities. The processor features 72 custom Nvidia GeForce GPU cores -- or six times the GPU horsepower of Tegra 3.
Nvidia says the new processor delivers more realistic gaming experiences and higher resolution displays. It includes the first quad-core application of ARM's most advanced CPU core, the Cortex-A15, which offers 2.6 times faster web browsing and faster app performance.
"Tegra 4 provides enormous processing power and efficiency to power smartphones and tablets, gaming devices, auto systems and PCs," said Phil Carmack, senior vice president of the Tegra business at Nvidia. "Its new capabilities, particularly in the area of computational photography, will help improve a whole range of existing products and lead to the creation of exciting new ones."
As Nvidia explains it, the Tegra 4 processor's Computational Photography Architecture makes possible high dynamic range (HDR) photos and video by fusing together the processing power of the GPU, CPU and the camera's image-signal processor. The HDR capability captures images, including those taken with a flash, the way they are seen by the human eye -- with detail in both bright and dark areas.
The Tegra 4 also enables worldwide 4G LTE voice and data support through an optional chipset, the fifth-generation Nvidia Icera i500 processor. NVIDIA says the processor is more efficient, 40 percent the size of conventional modems, and delivers four times the processing capability of its predecessor.
Tegra 4 includes a second-generation battery saver core for low power during standard use, and PRISM 2 Display technology to reduce backlight power while delivering superior visuals. Nvidia says the processor consumes up to 45 percent less power than its predecessor, Tegra 3, in common use cases. And it enables up to 14 hours of HD video playback on phones.
How Fast Is It Really?
We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the Tegra 4. King was at the Consumer Electronics Show last night, where Nvidia introduced the processor. He told us the new technology is impressive.
"The Tegra 4 has an interesting Wi-Fi antenna processor that leverages a software-based Wi-Fi modem technology the company [Nvidia] bought in 2012. It's a processor that allows an OEM or ODM device-maker to configure the Wi-Fi antenna according to what specific sorts of networks the company wants to address," King said.
"Nvidia showed a couple of real-world examples in products they built. In one case, they chose 25 highly-trafficked Web sites that showed how fast the Tegra 4-based tablet loaded the products in comparison to the Google Nexus 10 tablet. The Tegra-based tablet loaded the 25 Web sites in 27 seconds compared to the Google Nexus 10 loading them in a little over 50 seconds."