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Leak shows NVIDIA Tegra 3 first with quad-core in tablets

updated 10:15 am EST, Mon January 24, 2011

NVIDIA Tegra 3 leaks with late 2011 ship date

NVIDIA may be first to have a shipping quad-core processor in a tablet. A new copy of the same slide that showed the Tegra 2 3D has listed the Tegra 3. The design would closely follow Qualcomm's own ambitions and see a 1.5GHz, quad-core design that would be more than twice as fast as any Tegra 2. BSON heard that triple the graphics power would be onboard to decode Blu-ray video and to power a 1920x1200 main display.

To keep the power draw reasonable, it would have an ULP (ultra low power) processor mode to presumably cut back on the clock speed or number of active cores to save on battery life. As with earlier Tegras, NVIDIA would have both the full-power tablet version, the T30, and a smartphone-optimized AP30 that would be limited to a 1366x768 main display but still have the option of quad-core in a large design.

Test samples of the Tegra 3 may have already started leaving the factory at the end of last year, but NVIDIA isn't expected to ship the new components until fall this year. The timing is such that it's more likely Tegra 3 won't be in stores until early 2012 for most devices.

The chip could make for the second major leap in mobile performance in a single year as dual-core tablets and smartphones will finally ship on a wide scale in the first few months of the year. Tegra 2 hardware will ship in the Motorola Atrix 4G and Xoom as well as many other Android-powered hardware. Apple is expected to answer back with dual-core iPads and iPhones using custom chips of its own, but its once a year update cycle makes it unlikely that it will have quad-core designs until mid-2012.

by MacNN Staff



  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    multi-core, what applications use it?

    I know very few OSX applications actually benefit from multi-processors. OSX has been re-written so all applications can benefit from multi-processors but I'm not sure iOS has been. Is Android written to allow applications to use all cores without the software explicitly been coded for them? Will the Tegra 3 be running on a single core most of the time anyway? I understand most advertisers demands for showing multiple applications running at the same time but are there any legitimate applications for any smartphone or tablet that would really make use of all this power (other than games)?

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    patently ridiculous assertion

    To write an article claiming Nvidia is the "first with quad-core chips in a tablet" is ridiculous when it's based on a leaked slide that merely states their *intention* to do so in a years time. This is shabby reporting at best.

  1. jfgilbert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I will wait

    No point in getting the quad-core processor when we know the eight-core will not be far behind. The extra threads will be useful when running multiple compilers in the background while rendering 2 or 3 HD videos streams and driving my four 30" displays. Because thats what tablets are good for.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    nVidia Trust Issues?

    It seems that with the erosion of trust in nVidia that came from a number of reliability and secrecy debacles, nVidia is now going out of its way to appear "open and transparent" with its roadmaps to the point of it all looking like Kurzweil futurist vapour nonsense! People don't care about future products, they want assurances that existing products will work as promised for a reasonable amount of time.

  1. mjtomlin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too much

    Google has definitely become the new Microsoft. Their crappy, inefficient OS is pushing the adoption of faster and more powerful CPUs and GPUs. Rather than take the time to develop (optimize) the OS to take full advantage of hardware, they're just waiting around for better hardware. It amazes me how "great" people think Android 3.0 is, when its minimum requirement is a dual-core 1GHz CPU! WTF? What's the cause of needing all the power... animating the UI to the levels of iOS. This is an OS that needs twice the computing power to do what iOS has been doing with half!

    Developing on iOS and OS X encourages using threads as the main application loop is responsible for all interface drawing and interaction. So when your application needs to do something that may stall the main loop, you should kick that task into its own thread. In Mac OS X you can tell when the main loop has stalled for an application... you get the spinning rainbow ball. The kernel throws that ball up as an indication that the process is not responding.

    The reported next version of the A4 (A5?) will contain a GPU that is OpenCL compliant as well. This will further performance without the need of these uber-powerful CPU's.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tegra cpus are overrated

    Everytime I see news about Tegra processor they fail to show real product and feel kind of vaporware.

    Sure specs are looking amazing, but they fail to publish specs that really matter in mobile solution like the TDP. This is where the Apple A4 blow all the competition away, By merging the already low power ARM design with the PWRficient technology, they achieved a maximum TDP of 1 watt and a average much below that while is in use.

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