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Quad-core NVIDIA Kal-El chipset turns out penta-core, one more for the lazy jobs

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Quad-core NVIDIA Kal-El chipset turns out penta-core, one more for the lazy jobs
We knew that NVIDIA's Kal-El project of building what might turn out the first commercially available mobile quad-core ARM chipset is a performance beast compared to the current dual-core crop. What will probably land as Tegra 3 has four ARM Cortex-A9 cores, at least that's what we thought until now, which made it oh so special compared to the two such processor cores in the current NVIDIA Tegra 2 that is found in the vast majority of Android tablets.

NVIDIA, however, just unveiled a fifth, hitherto stealth "companion" core, which is still based on ARM's Cortex-A9 architecture, but hums at 500MHz, instead of 1GHz. It's no fifth wheel, though, as the extra core is meant to be active with tasks that can be done in a low-power state, like standby, music playback, and even some video playback, thus saving a great deal on battery life. why not just throttle down one of the existing 1GHz cores is beyond us, and in the competency of NVIDIA engineers, but this is hardly a new design decision.

Marvell's Armada 628 ARM-based chipset has two cores that run at 1.5GHz, and a third one clocked at 624MHz for the mundane tasks, so this "companion core" design has probably proved more effective or easier to implement than dynamically underclocking one of the existing powerful cores.

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posted on 21 Sep 2011, 03:42

1. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 466; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)


that's crazy cant wait to see smart phones using this!

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 04:55 1

2. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


wow it seams nvideas chips are not as good as other chips in the same catigory but they come out with them so much sooner it is making that company huge with nillions of chips sold before the compitition even comes out with its first chip. Such as the tegra 2 duel core. It is in most all the tablits out right now. well atliest the ones that are not apple wich apple probably has over half the market in tablets

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 06:57 2

7. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


nvidia was first out of the gate but it was still stronger than the snapdragon S3 chip and nearly as good as the late arriving Omap chip.

Nvidia makes some pretty solid equipment.

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 05:12

3. Leodrade (Posts: 87; Member since: 26 Aug 2011)


Finally someone is caring about battery
Way to go Nvidia! and please release a Kal-El phone for this holidays

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 08:38 1

11. protozeloz (Posts: 5374; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


-Superamoled aimed for low consumption
-multiple processor architecture for less over consumption
-under clocking processors when on ide

everyone seems to care to me.... its just not so easy to deal with such limited resources found on a smartphone

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 06:06

4. PeterIfromsweden (Posts: 1230; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


So this is 5 cores ?

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 08:35

10. protozeloz (Posts: 5374; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


yes 4 cores for regular usage and an extra clock for small background task under clocked to save battery

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 06:37

5. bigeyes0x0 (unregistered)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI_OMAP#OMAP_4 nvidia isn't the first one doing this.

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 06:56 2

6. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


that says the next omap is going to be a dual core with 2 secondary processors.. a fake quad core? the tegra is a quad core with 1 extra secondary processor, hence the pentacore.

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 06:59

8. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


Yes but you'd have to be crazy to choose an OMAP chipset over an NVIDIA one.

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 07:52 1

9. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


current gen, id choose the omap. next gen, who knows.

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 15:38

13. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Wait a min...the OMAP is a nice chip now...lol. It might not have a catchy name like Snapdragon or be well known as Nvidia but it is nice.

Ever wonder why Motorola switched back to OMAP for the Bionic instead of using Tegra 2 like all their recent phones? Something had to happen, they just didnt wake up one day and say "yea lets just not use Tegra 2 for our next phone..."

posted on 21 Sep 2011, 08:50

12. bigeyes0x0 (unregistered)


. OMAP4 is on the LG Optimus 3d and Playbook so they're not next gen.
. Cortex-M3 is a better low power ARMv7 processor than the A9.
. They made a separate low power core instead of downclocking a normal core is because they can make this core on a lower power leakage process. This process has smaller yield so if you makes all the chip with this process, you'll have less working chip. This is true for any ARM vendor that uses this design.
. nvidia likes to do PR to regular customers than TI, it's like how AMD/Intel always has new and cool CPU that you hear about but FWIW have never touched the technological wonder of IBM CPU.

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