Another year, another leap forward for NVIDIA's ubiquitous Tegra mobile processor. A favorite among Android manufacturers -- and also found in Microsoft's Surface tablet -- the Tegra SoC has become synonymous with high-end devices and fast performance.
The big change this year is that there's no increase in the number of CPU cores -- NVIDIA is sticking with the quad-core, 4+1 set-up of the Tegra 3, utilizing 4 main processor cores and one low-power core for efficiency. What's changed is the architecture of the CPU, which now has Cortex A15 cores, much like Samsung's latest Exynos SoC, with a 28nm construction process. It's the GPU that has received the bulk of the updates this time around, with it now containing a staggering 72 GeForce GPU cores, which should bring a six-fold increase in visual performance compared to the Tegra 3. NVIDIA claim it to be the world's fastest mobile processor, but also claim a 45 percent reduction in power consumption compared to last year's chip, achieved through more efficient manufacturing techniques, power management, and better backlight management in mobile devices.
Photography also recieved a lot of attention, with NVIDIA making it clear that the Tegra 4 chip is designed to allow smartphones to rival DSLRs in terms of their image processing capabilities. Tegra 4 is capable of performing the mathematics of image processing up to 10 times faster than current systems, and NVIDIA demonstrated live HDR rendering in video, with the chip also supporting HDR in burst shots and those taken with LED flash.
As a further slight against chip rival Samsung, whose flagship smartphones typically forego Tegra SoCs in favor of Samsung's own -- in many ways superior -- processors, NVIDIA put a Tegra 4 reference device head-to-head with Samsung's Nexus 10 tablet. The Tegra 4 slate loaded 25 unique websites in half the time of its Exynos powered rival, though NVIDIA failed to mention that. And while built on the same Cortex A15 platform, the Exynos chip in the Nexus 10 is only dual-core.
NVIDIA refrained from stating release dates or availability, but it's a safe bet we'll start to see devices carrying the chip announced in the upcoming months.
Foodwise: New blog. New program. Coming in January 2013.