NVIDIA talks up the Tegra 3 chip quad-core performance versus the competition
The big news inside the Transformer Prime tablet is its processor - NVIDIA said that the quad-core Tegra 3 is desktop-class, with 5x the general Tegra 2 performance, and 3x better in the graphics department. The four ARM Cortex-A9 cores can be actively managed to rev up or calm down when needed, and a "fifth wheel" core clocked lower is taking care of mundane tasks like standby or video/audio playback to save on battery.
Matthew Wuebbling, the director of Product Marketing, clarified that we can have two of the cores, which can go up to 1.3GHz, taking care of Flash content, while the 500MHz fifth "companion" core might kick in when we watch HD video stored locally, for example. These power-optimization scenarios give us the quoted 12 hours of video playback time from the battery of the Transformer Prime. Have a look at how the workload gets distributed among the powerful cores and their modest 500MHz "companion" in the video below.
Since all this will fully manifest itself mainly in 3D gaming scenarios on your Transformer Prime tablet, NVIDIA talked up the mobile GeForce GPU as well. It now has 12 cores, compared to the eight in Tegra 2, and supports higher resolutions, more realistic effects and elaborate dynamic lighting scenarios. It supports 3D stereoscopic imagery, with up to 3x better performance than Tegra 2, and can automatically convert 2D WebGL games to 3D.
There are now 15 games in development that are done specifically with the quad-core Tegra 3 in mind, but Tegra 2 games will be backwards compatible, and run even better, promises NVIDIA. What's more, developers don't have to do anything to optimize for the battery-sipping performance of Tegra 3, if their apps are running fine on Tegra 2 - the quad-core silicon's new patented Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) architecture will take care of distributing the workload in the most efficient manner itself.
Have a look at the video below, where NVIDIA details the Tegra 3 performance against the competition, which, just as with the dual-core Tegra 2, is probably six months behind outing a quad-core device. That is why, besides the already leaked HTC Edge Tegra 3 superphone, rumors are that we also have Samsung, LG and Motorola onboard, and already testing the quad-core chip from NVIDIA.