CES 2013: Nvidia unveils Tegra 4, claims world's fastest mobile processor crown

CES 2013: Nvidia unveils Tegra 4, claims world's fastest mobile processor crown

Summary: The Tegra 4 has at its heart 72 custom Nvidia GeForce GPU cores, giving it six-times the graphics processing power of the Tegra 3.


Chip maker Nvidia has formally introduced the Tegra 4 mobile processor, claiming it is the world's fastest mobile chip.

The Tegra 4 -- which was previously known by the codename "Wayne" -- has at its heart 72 custom Nvidia GeForce GPU cores, giving it six-times the graphics processing power of the current Tegra 3. Backing up the GPU is a new quad-core variant of ARM's Cortex-A15 CPU, a chip that Nvidia claims "delivers 2.6x faster web browsing and breakthrough performance for apps."

The Tegra 4 also comes with worldwide support for 4G LTE voice and data by utilizing the optional fifth-generation Nvidia Icera i500 chipset. Not only is this new chip far more power efficient than conventional modems, the i500 is 40 percent smaller than its predecessor, yet delivers four times the processing capability.

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"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."

To allow devices to last longer between charges, the Tegra 4 includes a second-generation battery saver core for low power usage, and PRISM 2 Display technology that reduces backlight power. These, and other improvements means the Tegra 4 consumes up to 45 percent less power than the Tegra 3, allowing for up to 14 hours of HD video playback on devices.

The Tegra 4 also comes equipped with Computational Photography Architecture, which automatically delivers high dynamic range (HDR) photos and video by combining the processing power of the GPU, CPU and the camera's image-signal processor.

Image source: Nvidia.

Topics: Processors, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • Yep

    In other words, Android and Windows RT are about to become the high end of the tablet world with the iPad being the middle of the road.

    This GPU has more juice than a 360 and is pretty much an entry level desktop card for nvidia.
    • Not hard to beat the 360

      "This GPU has more juice than a 360"

      Bah, that means nothing. The 360 is old, outdated technology.

      It's not hard to beat it. Dump a low end nVidia card into any new desktop and you've already beaten it in pretty much every technical aspect.
      • Seriously?

        For Mobile this is a milestone.
    • Sorry

      The Tegra 4 might be faster than the a6x, but I doubt it will be faster than the next A processor that Apple pumps out.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • really?

        A6X was not as strong as desktop GPUs but, this Nvidia is and it is doubtful that the A7x will handle a Desktop GPU!
        • What are you talking about?

          Even ultra book integrated GPUs will be more powerful than that.
          Michael Alan Goff
        • Rogue chip will just kill T4 along with nVidia Tegra business

          Just wait a few months and see some very embarrassing benchmarks for nVidia
      • Tegra 3 was within a hairs breadth of A6x, T4 will be 5x.

        Surely my new amd 7 series graphics card would be similar in performance to T4, 72 cuda cores is a heap, 9 months ago I only had 16. Look at iPad mini, pathetic, iPad 2 performance and more expensive than a Nexus 7, with iPad 3 performance. Granted Googles froyo and ICS had reliability issues, but Gingerbread, the 2 Jelly Beans are fast and reliable especially on Nexus without company skins. Apple spends too little on research, too much on lawyers, that's why their price performance is so bad, already Samsung have beaten them on resolution, their devices have pitiful ram specs.
        • Beaten on performance?

          Is that why their tablets have the best GPUs out there?
          Michael Alan Goff
    • Last year's iPad 4 still beats T4 in graphics power.

      And iPad 5 with Rogue chip will have it for breakfast (literally).

      Sorry dude for your nVidia PR delusions.
      • Apple Fanboys Deal In Emotional Theories Over Cold Hard Facts...

        jasonbay - "Boohooo the "enemy" released something better than my precious Apple gadget. Now I have to pull BS out of thin air to compensate!"

        This is getting extremely dorky. What the heck happened to gadgets in the past 10 years? It used to be everyone was excited about everything that came out. Every single step ahead in the tech industry was considered a leap of greatness. Now you people are getting all emotional and protective over a certain brand of cellphone and trying to ignore a potential milestone?

        Add that to the list of ridiculous things Apple fanboys do. Like make excuses for missing features and pretending they don't need them. Until Apple copies Android and then suddenly that feature becomes the forefront for their every argument. Or defending a painfully obvious fault in the gadget and making up reasons FOR Apple as to why it's like that. Can't forget the infamous "you're holding it wrong" and yet still iPhone 5 still has WiFi issues.

        You're forgetting one BIG factor. No matter what graphics power apple gadgets have it means nothing considering they still haven't implemented native game controller support. So all of those games are crippled by horrible touch controls, especially the FPS games. So have fun with that while I enjoy my PS3 and XBOX 360 controller with games that actually have built in support for them and recognizes them automatically. Allowing me to map controls while you sit there fiddling with some wiimote or third party bluetooth controller that only works with emulators.

        Most importantly you haven't even used the Tegra 4 processor nor held any device that utilizes it to even justify your babyish statement like "iPad 4 beats T4 in graphics power". Let's wait and see and you'll notice that's probably false.

        Also fact is, when iPad 5 comes out the android market will yet again have another processor that beats it. Apple's reign is over and their crown gets snatched over and over again. Galaxy S3 was the first step, Note 2 was the second, and Galaxy S4 is the final nail in the coffin.

        Apple started doing 6 month releases because they can't keep up with Android. Android gets all the coolest and latest tech while Apple is constantly playing catch up. Sorry but every single time Apple releases a new processor they will have their lame marketing as "fastest mobile CPU" for a few months until Android stomps them and is king for an entire year while you wait for your next Apple product.
        Christopher Columbus
        • Except

          6 times 12 Gflops is still inferior to the A6X with 76.8.

          Michael Alan Goff
          • Sigh

            Apple = not the highest rez.
            Apple = not the most powerful CPU
            Apple = not the fastest real-world GPU

          • Biggest gigaflop

            Apple Maps.
  • Progress is great, but still looks like another PR trick, alas

    Tegra-3 GPU power is 12 GFLOPS. So having it sixfold, as NVidia claims for Tegra-4, makes 72 GFLOPS.

    But there is A6X with its 76.8 GFLOPS, and it is available since Ocrober of last year, not like "devices will appear near summer of 2013".
    • Boy you show your ignorance again.

      That 6x was not a quote.

      This Tegra has Unified Shaders and That alone would have put it in the A6X range but having 72 fully programable CUDA cores is more than 6x more powerful.

      On top of that they still have hardware assisted water effects and Ragdoll physics. They add hardware T&L and this game is over.
      • That 6x thing

        was their marketing line.

        So, yeah, it's 6 times more powerful than the Tegra 3.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • Don't let the facts interrupt this debate...

      Yeah, you have to love it when a company makes a big deal of their 6x performance increase without publicly acknowledging just how far behind the curve the Tegra 3 was. Congratulations nVidia you now have a product that is able to compete in 2013's market.
      • Fact: Tegra 3 was ahead of the curve

        Mistake in your comment techconc - the Tegra 3 was ahead of the curve. Other devices with better processors caught up mid year. Now the Tegra 4 jumps ahead again.

        There is also a big difference between the NVIDIA move from Tegra 2 to Tegra 3 compared to Tegra 3 to Tegra 4. T2 to T3 was basically throwing two more cores aboard. T3 to T4 is an upgrade in multiple areas: 1. Current leading A15 cores with smaller process. 2. New hardware design to enable photography (10x the Apple A6X speed) that is separate from simple better and smaller die cores and more difficult for competetors to match - likely 2yr lead here. 3. Integrated LTE enabled with a 40% reduced die and reduced power compared to competitors. 4. 45% power consumption reduction compared to Tegra 3 - this is a new competitive area vs. pure speed and the Tegra 4 takes it here as well.
        Aaron Moore
        • Some wrongs here

          For starters, LTE is not "integrated" in Tegra-4, it is separate chip. As for other features, Tegra-4 is going to be definitely the fastest in CPU (though there are no real serious Android applications that use more than two cores, so it is rather useless), but only catching up with Apple's A6X. And in two months, there will be A7X already, so NVidia (and everyone else) will be dramatically lagging again.