Nvidia has just unveiled the Tegra 4i chip, a mass market solution with LTE on board and packing the graphical punch Nvidia takes pride in with a 60-core graphics. Tegra 4i is what was formerly known as Project Grey.
The Nvidia Tegra 4i boasts about being half the size of comparisons quad-core LTE chips (read Qualcomm chips), yet it features a quad-core A9 R4 processor that can be clocked at up to 2.3GHz. Nvidia using an A9 processor instead of the new A7 might come as a surprise, but the important thing here is that it is the R4 modification of the A9 coming with a 15% to 30% better performance than standard A9. Having the A9 as a base actually makes this much more similar to last year's Tegra 3 rather than the new Tegra 4.
Nvidia brags about ‘always-on HDR’ and other features made possible by the brilliant graphics on this new Tegra 4i chip.
In terms of power efficiency, there is the quad-core processor helped by a fifth companion core for mundane less intensive tasks. Add to that the smaller size, and you get significant battery savings and possibilities for thinner and lighter devices.
When it comes to release date, Nvidia expects the first Tegra 4i based devices to arrive on the market around the first quarter of 2014 as the chip design samples will start sampling in Q3 2013.
Along with the new chip, Nvidia is also announcing the Phoenix reference smartphone design. It's basically a Tegra 4i device in a very slim 8mm shell, a 5-inch 1080p display and with LTE. Take a look at all the new features of the Tegra 4i and at the Phoenix reference platform right below.
NVIDIA Introduces Its First Integrated Tegra LTE Processor Tegra 4i Delivers Highest Performance of Any Single-Chip Smartphone Processor
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—February 19, 2013— NVIDIA today introduced its first fully integrated 4G LTE mobile processor, the NVIDIA® Tegra® 4i, which is significantly faster yet half the size of its nearest competitor.
Previously codenamed “Project Grey,” the Tegra 4i processor features 60 custom NVIDIA GPU cores; a quad-core CPU based on ARM’s newest and most efficient core— the R4 Cortex-A9 CPU— plus a fifth battery saver core; and a version of the NVIDIA i500 LTE modem optimized for integration. The result: an extremely power efficient, compact, high- performance mobile processor that enables smartphone performance and capability previously available only in expensive super phones.
“NVIDIA is delivering for the first time a single, integrated processor that powers all the major functions of a smartphone,” said Phil Carmack, senior vice president of the Mobile business at NVIDIA. “Tegra 4i phones will provide amazing computing power, world-class phone capabilities, and exceptionally long battery life.”
Tegra 4i’s new 2.3 GHz CPU was jointly designed by NVIDIA and ARM, and is the most efficient, highest performance CPU core on the market.
“Tegra 4i is the very latest SoC solution based on the ARM Cortex-A9 processor and demonstrates the ability of ARM and our partners to continue to push the performance of technology and create exciting user experiences,” says Tom Cronk, executive vice president and general manager, processor division, ARM. “ARM and NVIDIA worked closely to further optimize the Cortex-A9 processor to drive performance and efficiency in areas such as streaming and responsiveness. This is an example of the collaboration and innovation that enables ARM technology-based solutions to be market drivers through multiple generations of SoC solutions.”
Utilizing the same architecture as Tegra 4’s GPU, Tegra 4i features five times the number of GPU cores of Tegra 3 for high-quality, console-quality gaming experiences and full 1080p HD displays. It also integrates an optimized version of the NVIDIA i500 software-defined radio modem which provides LTE capabilities, and makes networking upgradability and scalability fast and easy.
''NVIDIA’s Tegra 4i appears to outperform the leading integrated LTE chip significantly, and also benefits from an integrated ‘soft-modem’ that can be re-programmed over-the-air to support new frequencies and air interfaces – something other modem vendors can only dream of,” said Stuart Robinson, director, Handset Component Technologies Program at Strategy Analytics.”
Tegra 4i mobile processor’s camera capabilities include the NVIDIA Chimera™ Computational Photography Architecture recently announced in Tegra 4. This delivers many advanced features, including the world’s first always-on high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities, first tap to track functionality and first panoramic photos with HDR.
NVIDIA also introduced its reference smartphone platform code-named “Phoenix” for the Tegra 4i processor to demonstrate its unique mobile technologies. Phoenix is a blueprint that phone makers can reference in designing and building future Tegra 4i smartphones to help get them to market quicker.
The Tegra 4i mobile processor will be demonstrated in the NVIDIA booth in Hall 7, Stand #C110, at the 2013 Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 25-28.
As a recap, the Tegra 4 family includes: Tegra 4 Tegra 4i
Quad-Core CPU Cortex-A15, plus battery saver core R4 Cortex-A9, plus battery saver core
Tegra 4 GPU Cores 72 60
LTE Optional via NVIDIA i500 Integrated NVIDIA i500 core
About NVIDIA NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) awakened the world to computer graphics when it invented the GPU in 1999. Today, its processors power a broad range of products from smartphones to supercomputers. NVIDIA’s mobile processors are used in cell phones, tablets and auto infotainment systems. PC gamers rely on GPUs to enjoy spectacularly immersive worlds. Professionals use them to create 3D graphics and visual effects in movies and to design everything from golf clubs to jumbo jets. And researchers utilize GPUs to advance the frontiers of science with high performance computing. The company has more than 5,000 patents issued, allowed or filed, including ones covering ideas essential to modern computing. For more information, see www.nvidia.com.