CES 2013: NVIDIA Launches Tegra 4 Mobile Processor: 72 GPU Cores, 4G LTE

The processor opens new doors for tablet, smartphone and game console makers

The Consumer Electronics Show will only start tomorrow, but NVIDIA's booth is all set and prepared, and its CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has already gotten the big announcements out of the way.

The Tegra 4 SoC (system-on-chip) device marks, in a way, a new beginning for NVIDIA's mobile processor division.

It will be the core component of not just new tablets and phones (superphones as it were), but also for a new type of game console.

Mobile device makers will reveal their projects on their own though, and we will talk at length about the game console initiative later (NVIDIA Project SHIELD).

Here, we will take a look at the bare facts about the new ARM CPU-NVIDIA GPU fusion. Then again, this is more than just a fusion between those two types of chips. SoCs always are.

The four ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores run at a clock speed of up to 1.9 GHz. The 28nm GPU has 72 cores of its own.

There is, of course, a so-called fifth core. This is, after all, a 4-PLUS-1 chip, like Tegra 3, which means that low-load tasks shut down the four main cores and are run by the fifth, low-energy core instead. It is the secret behind the long battery lifespans of Tegra-based portable consumer electronics devices.

The graphics chip frequency hasn't been specified, but NVIDIA's CEO did clearly state that the 4K ultra high-definition video playback was supported, so it stands to reason that it is on the high side, as far as mobile GPUs go at any rate.

For extra perspective, NVIDIA gave, during the CES 2013 press conference, the load time for 25 unique, high-traffic sites: 27 seconds, almost half compared to other slates. That means about one second per site.

The last major asset of the Tegra 4 is the support for 4G LTE broadband.

Obviously, NVIDIA put a lot of work in its new processor. The expansion of Tegra's usability from mobile devices to gaming gadgets is both a consequence and a cause of the design thoroughness.

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