What is dual-core Tegra 2 and will it matter in my phone: gaming demo by NVIDIA

What is dual-core Tegra 2 and will it matter in my phone: gaming demo by NVIDIA
Last summer, when we were preparing our extensive coverage of the upcoming dual-core smartphone chipsets, NVIDIA's Tegra 2 seemed positioned best to surprise, but compared to the other underdogs, like Marvell and Freescale. Let's get this out of the way right now - Tegra 2 is not better than the upcoming dual-core SoCs from Qualcomm (Snapdragon), Samsung (Orion), or Texas Instruments (OMAP4).

When we dove in the white papers about the platform, we found out that despite all the technical hype about eight independent processors or offloading tasks to the second core, Tegra 2 was capable of achieving 140 hours of continuous audio on a standard 2000mAh battery, while the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragons and Samsung Orion, as well as OMAP4 are achieving 120 hours, but from a 1000mAh battery. Not to mention the graphics department, where the upcoming Samsung Orion whoops Tegra 2 five times in terms of pure triangles per second count - theoretical 450 million for Orion, versus 90 million for Tegra 2.

Still, despite not being the most powerful dual-core chipset by design, NVIDIA had one huge advantage before the competition - its ARM-based silicon with two cores was ready maybe a year before the others started sampling or shipping to manufacturers. This enabled them to sell around Tegra 2, until they attracted the attention of Motorola, LG, and, ultimately, Google. Becoming the reference platform for Android 3.0 Honeycomb on the Motorola XOOM allowed NVIDIA to leapfrog Samsung and Qualcomm, and there is barely a high-end Android tablet now that won't be having Tegra 2 inside, with the notable exception of the 7" Asus MeMO, which, however, is not coming until June.

What's more, the reference platform status trickled NVIDIA's chipset into the most-advanced phones announced in the last two days as well. The LG Optimus 2X, Motorola ATRIX 4G, and Motorola DROID BIONIC all share the common Tegra 2 platform. The LG Optimus 2X was announced last month in Korea, which makes it the first modern dual-core phone to hit the market (Nokia had some dual-CPU phones before), while the Motorola ATRIX 4G for AT&T and Motorola DROID BIONIC for Verizon will be close second.

So what can dual-core do for you? Well, two cores have the power to process the huge amount of information coming from larger camera sensors than what we have now, up to 18MP. Not that you will need as many, but the additional horsepower also makes full HD video recording and playback in 1080p now possible with ease. However, if you ask us, HD video recording is already more than enough for everyday usage, and we have seen some pretty blurry videos, due to crappy camera sensors (cough, Acer Liquid Metal, cough), be they HD or not. Not to mention full HD will eat your internal or added storage in no time.

The added benefit will come when the software starts getting written from the ground up for fully utilizing two cores, especially for gaming and other intensive tasks. NVIDIA demoed yesterday for Engadget the gaming capabilities of Tegra 2 on an LG Optimus 2X and a Motorola ATRIX 4G (segway: is 3G becoming a dirty word?), and things look pretty smooth, although these games look smooth on the single-core iPhone 4 as well, for example. Watch the video demo below.

What do you think - will the lack of dual-core prevent you from buying an otherwise perfectly capable device, or are you more inclined to wait and see what software and games get written for the two-core crowd, before you jump in?



1. ap unregistered

as long as it works smooth and perfect a single core processor is fine by me....i won't judge a device by how many cores the processor has or if it churns out 1080p video (720p is good enough for a mobile device) Right now a dual core processor doesn't bring about a lot of difference.

2. shayan

Posts: 159; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

well, I don't know the real benefits of a dual core processor. i defenetly going to buy a highend phone. but before, Ill search a bit to find answers. better if phone arena answer them hear, to get a better " what do you think " feed back. there are four highend cpus ( as far as I know. ) in android devices. ( well Im going for android, so my only concern is here.) : 1- first generation snapdragon. 2- 2nd gen snapdragon. 3- tegra2 4- humingbird. I want to see a benchmark of all of them, like OS aside benchmark. theyr raw power. how many floating poins they can operate in one second. and I want to know how power efficient are they. and ofcourse, I want to know how are they doing in graphics. then, I ( and many others.) can decide that dual core matters or not. I mean, humingbird is doing very well on graphics, the only dual core in the market has just reached it...

3. twashington4

Posts: 81; Member since: May 24, 2010

For the average consumer, a dual core phone isn't going to matter when a single core snapdragon or hummingbird is just as fine for normal use. Now, if you're so geeky that you must play the equivalent of World of Warcraft on your phone with it's 6 hour battery life then have at it. Most people are just going to be blown away by the demo of the phone when they go to the store to buy a phone, pay gobs of money for the phone, and never use any of the features. It will be interesting how they decide to price these phones...are they all going to be $199 after a $100 mail-in rebate? Some just plain aren't going to sell because problems will arise with the hardware or software. It's going to happen. Over the next few months, watch and see how the inventory of Droid Incredibles and Droid Xs (and maybe Droid 2s) magically drops. And those are pretty decent phones in their own right. When 4G becomes the norm then things will even out, but for now, it's just hype and most will be paying extra for something they can't use (i can't stand the idea of that) as yet. Will Verizon charge a premium for 4G phone like Sprint? I wouldn't put it past them. I mean, how much better can phones get than they are now as far as hardware? What they need to do is focus on batter life.

4. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

Lol, iphone users have been enjoying this smoothness on games for a while now. The iphone obviously doesn't need it, while the others do in order to achieve the iphone's performance. I'm not saying that Apple will not go for dual core chips in the future, but Apple could focus on other improvements for the iphone and don't have to worry about dual core chips. Apple is really ahead of the game.

5. maccmill

Posts: 67; Member since: Oct 29, 2010

the reason they brought about dual cores is to BEAT apple. The droid x can already play madden 11, apple isn't ahead, they're just on par, and about to get whooped on by nvidia and motorola.

9. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

The iphone4 has been getting rave reviews as a gaming device, not your slow droid x. It's silly to say that the others are on par with the iphone4. These dual core devices has not even been released yet, while the iphone4 is already over 6 months old. The rest will eat the iphone's duat again when the iphone5 gets released :)

17. boriqua2000

Posts: 260; Member since: Mar 11, 2009

hopefully apple will focus on other things,like fixing the jacked up antenna.they can fix the proximity sensor while they're at it and the drop calls.maybe focus on stopping all of the random rebooting and freezing up.hey,at least you can play games.

6. Itzatlas

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 05, 2011

Lol Lady Gaga in the background. :D

7. Robes unregistered

@macmill LMAO!!! you're so funny! I use a Droid so dont dare call me an apple fanboy when I tell you the truth. In the smartphone world apple is God! Your agreeing with that is not required. No amount of processors will change that. IPhone 4 battery life is AMAZING!!! NOTHING COMES CLOSE! Nothing is as smooth as their interface. Their games are silky smooth. If the software isnt as good a core i7 in your phone wont beat it. Don't be a hater. The truth is the truth.

8. Nickmfnjackson

Posts: 101; Member since: Jan 21, 2010

Sounds like u need a new phone...

10. monsterboi unregistered

Android FTW. for all you fanboys out there, don't be dicks. Don't go spraying your "Apple iz teh beeeest" shit everywhere. Keep it to APPLE websites and forums. Better yet, don't go spraying that shit ANYWHERE. Its f*kin annoying. We chose Android over iOS, with no regrets. @Robes My freind has to charge his iPhone 4 everyday, same as me and my Galaxy S. In fact, I doubt that you even own a Droid, and probably just said you own a Droid coz macmill mentioned the droid x in his comment. And I do believe that promoting Apple and Loving everything about their products makes you a fanboy. Yep, i just called you a fanboy. Watcha gonna do? Oh yeah, and hopefully, with these new cpu's developers will be more inclined to make graphically intensive/PROPER games for android.

12. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

the funniest thing about android users is there is much more of you bashing on apple than there are apple fan boys. Most of the time you guys just argue with yourselves. I definitely respect apple for what they have done but they need widgets. Dont get it twisted though, there is still no touch screen as fluid as the iphone-maybe because of widgets. Complaints about apple fan boys is a thing of the past. All i see is android fan boys bashing all over the place. sry for the rant but its quite annoying.

18. yaybucky unregistered

Thank you, I feel exactly the same way. All I see is android fanboys just bashing apple fanboys, it's so fucking hypocritical.

11. donpeppino9

Posts: 67; Member since: Jan 24, 2010

i dont think anyone should talk as if they know everything without out using both ios and android. the iphone comes in one flavor only, and therefore when games get created, a lot of detail gets put into enhancing the visuals. thats why they do a good job with having just one core and a gig of processing speed. some of these apple dbags act as if their device is the device of god. theres is nothign special about the iphone. when developers make games that fully utilize the dual cores, it will rape the iphone performance wise... thats reality. in the end, who cares. to each to their own. pick a phone, an os, a carrier that works best with you... and get a life.

13. xtremesv unregistered

As with desktop computing, multicore technology at software level took at least 2 years to be considered seriously by developers. Even now with lots of 4 and 6 cores cpu's, most of the software use only two cores. For me there are things that are more important to address asap like battery improvements.

14. kioskmaker unregistered

wait.hahahahahahahaha..iphone is smartphone god!!!!!!!!!!...a..so many itools in here they listen to whatever steven b jobs will them,to pathetic..better check your facts boy.or girl.iphone stole so many ideas its beyond belief..hey wait...you can tell me 1 thing thats true...they gots more apps..and itunes.but then again,i could care less..i think it sucks anyway.i have amazon or whatever else and it works for what i need.okok they have a leg up on the gaming side..but if you havent heard developers are craving to make games for android.since apple is little are close minded in a way.and that is a fact knowing a few to speak.you know nothing about the industry and any facts so tell me who and what phone is god...and most people know thats false and know what is top dog atleast so to be...look at numbers numbers are shrinking on apple ,you lame itools. you just talking blindly as much like your phone..behind the game already..and still thinking your ahead...hahah dumb people are that...dumb.

15. android user unregistered

most of you are missing the most important features of android, and apple will never allow these. The first is true multitasking, then customization (My dinc can make most iphone users drool at the animations) lastly for the ones that actually use there phones there is the open source part (i love and use that to my advantage). I mean really the list goes on and on, and yes shut it, i have used both devices! I chose android becase it has a ton more capabilities! oooh retnia display, who cares 854x480 works just fine! even 800x480 amoled looks great! front camera, yea android does that.

16. Some guy unregistered

Lol, I'm some outside guy w/o an android or iphone, but reading these comments are really funny. iPhones may beat android in things such as games and battery life, but it kinda fails as a phone. Dropped calls and bad quality ftl. If you want to play games buy a DS, it has a better selection and now 3D. I like the first three comments, buy a phone that is usable or check the specs before you say that something is better cuz its branded. There's a reason why they call them fanboys, men don't do this.

19. Abdul Wahid unregistered

I think it’s a great idea. It’s a nice way for nVidia to spotlight games optimized for the Tegra, and I’m happy that they just link through to the marketplace, and not on a proprietary nVidia market. Below link is very useful about this Tegra dual Core phone! Tegra dual core phone mean? All Detail!

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