Nvidia Tegra 4 processor details leaked

Nvidia Tegra 4 processor details leaked

Summary: If the leaked details are correct, this new processor will give silicon from Samsung and Qualcomm a serious run for their money.

TOPICS: Processors, Hardware, ARM

Details of Nvidia's upcoming Tegra 4 processor, codenamed "Wayne", have been leaked, and if the details are correct, this will give processors from Samsung and Qualcomm a serious run for their money.

The slide leaked by Chinese tech site Chip Hell details a 28-nanometer part featuring "4-plus-1" quad cores with a fifth battery saver core. It is likely that with this new processor Nvidia will shift to ARM's latest Cortex-A15 design.

Graphics are handled by a 72-core GPU that the slide claims offers 20-times the performance of the Tegra 2 and six-times that of the current-generation Tegra 3. The chip can pump enough pixels to fill a 2,560 x 1600 resolution display -- the same resolution as Google's Nexus 10 tablet -- and 1080p output at 120Hz. There's also mention of 4K support, but no details are provided.

Apple's current A6X processor which powered the iPad 4 is about four times as fast as the Tegra 3, so this could put pressure on the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant to squeeze more power from its A-series parts.

"Wayne" is also Nvidia's first chip to support USB 3.0, along with dual-channel DDR3L memory.

While there's been no official word from Nvidia on when the Tegra 4 will be unveiled, rumor has it that the company will unveil the new chip during CES 2013 in January.

Image source: Chip Hell

Topics: Processors, Hardware, ARM

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  • And

    A6 Raw HP advantage will be gone with the addition of unified shaders in the Tegra 4.

    As for the 72 CUDA cores in the GPU, that is a clear sign that Nvidia isn't playing around as they are approaching entry level gaming GPU technology for a modern desktop.
    • yes but

      don't you think apple knows its GPU advantage is of utmost importance and could always be 1 step ahead for some time? They certainly aren't standing still.
      • really

        You would not know it by the iPhone5.
        • iphone five GPU

          the iphone's gpu is killer compared to most android phones- what are you talking about?
      • Fragile at best

        Sure, Apple hasn't lead often, lately, on new tech (OK, they had the fastest dual-core ARM SOC for what, a month and a half ... yet still no match for even quad Cortex A9 chips). But they always lead on GPU. No accident there, games are big money for Apple, as the #1 handheld gaming platform.

        But they know that's a matter of choice, not technology. For one, Apple uses off-the-shelf PowerVR cores... anyone can license the same or better, if they're willing to spend the power or silicon (in fact, Samsung, TU, and Intel have all used PowerVR cores). And nVidia could crush any PowerVR offering, though not necessarily at their chosen price point (Tegra 3s reportedly start at $15 in high volume... very cheap) or battery life.
  • Nice upgrade

    This is a great upgrade for the Android platform and Win 8 platform devices. I don't think Apple has anything to worry about, though. It's not like they're sitting still on their own chip development. This reminds me of the height of the Intel vs AMD competition. Real competition means consumers win.
  • Pushing pixels

    Will dual channel memory have enough bandwidth to push those pixels? Apple A6X chip has quad channel memory interface. Details here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6426/ipad-4-gpu-performance-analyzed-powervr-sgx-554mp4-under-the-hood
    • Depends

      According to the article, Apple's four x 32 bit memory controller is still using DDR2 DRAM. While nVidia's Tegra 3 is a relative snail vs 2-channel DDR2 systems, it's acceptable once you get some current DDR3 memory behind it. So a fast dual channel DDR3 system might look competitive.

      Or look at Intel. They only use a single core PowerVR SGX545 in their Atom for tablets. But it's also got a desktop class dual 64-bit DDR3 memory controller on it. That beats Apple, though they're also counting on fast memory and hyperthreading dual cores to compete against quad core ARM Cortex A9s. Apple's Swift ARM core ought to beat these Atoms, too, in a fair fight.
  • "... this could put pressure on the Cupertino"? Not really, because "4X"...

    ... is comparison in certain tests, rather than in raw power.

    Just because NVidia powered-up CUDA cores number it does not translate linearly into performance.

    Tegra 3 provides 7.2 GFLOPS@300 MHz (http://www.anandtech.com/show/5072/nvidias-tegra-3-launched-architecture-revealed/2) versus A6X providing 76.8 GFLOPS@300MHz (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6472/ipad-4-late-2012-review/4) -- THEORETICAL peak.

    In some tests the difference is close to be that drastic, while in others it is smaller, like "4X" you cited.

    So while making 6X over Tegra 3 is dramatic increase, it is still only 43.2 GFLOPS @ 300 MHz of theoretical raw power peak, way below A6X capabilities.