NVIDIA's New Processor, Tegra 3

New Processor from NVIDIA

NVIDIA has come up with a new processor based on System-On-Chip technology specially designed for smartphones tablets and other hand held devices. The new NVIDIA tegra 3 is given the codename "Kal El". NVIDIA said the processor would be quad-core in the beginning stages but they denied revealing any of the finer details of the processor. A couple of days back NVIDIA published white papers pertaining to the architecture of the processor. The papers reveal that the processor actually has a fifth core running parallel with the other four cores. The secret fifth core is called "companion core". All the five processor are ARM Cortex A9 processors and can be separately activated or deactivated based on work load. NVIDIA designed a special circuitry called Tegra 3 logic controller to do this task.

Technology in tegra 3

In the paper NVIDIA mentions that the new processor, Tegra 3 is going to work on Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP). vSMP technology can be used for optimising the CPU in multi-threading scenario and also introduce multi-tasking functions for efficient performance and better power utilisation. The companion core ie., the fifth secret core is built transparent to the OS which means that the OS and the applications running will not be aware if the fifth core but can take advantage of it during run time.

More on companion core

The operating frequency of companion core is limited to 500MHz while all other four main cores are left to function at their full throttle of 1.5GHz. The companion core is mainly meant for less demanding applications that run in the background like animated background, twitter app, Facebook, push mail service, background apps etc. Thus the architecture leaves the four main cores to do their work at full potential for maximum results while doing system heavy tasks like gaming, video editing, image processing etc.

Test results of Tegra 3 performance

The new technology has been shown to perform more efficiently with less power consumption than Tegra 2. Results show that Tegra 3 utilises 61% less power during video play and 34% less during gaming functions. NVIDIA expects the new Tegra 3 to astonish smartphone and tablet manufacturers with its incredible performance. ZTE T98 is the first tablet which is running on NVIDIA Tegra 3 and is is produced by a Chinese company ZTE. The tablet with 7-inch screen would run android 3.2 HoneyComb.