AAPL Stock: 117.81 ( -0.22 )

Printed from

NVIDIA Kal-El official as first quad-core mobile chip

updated 07:50 pm EST, Tue February 15, 2011

NVIDIA Kal-El chip does 1440p, Retina Display tech

NVIDIA tonight unveiled Kal-El, a chip it claims is the first quad-core mobile processor. Likely to be called the Tegra 3, its two extra processor cores plus a 12-core graphics engine help it get into greater-than-HD resolutions in mobile. The system on a chip with the Superman-inspired name can smoothly play 1440p (2560x1440) video and has enough power to drive a Retina Display-like 300DPI image on a 10-inch tablet.

The overall performance should be roughly double that of a Tegra 2 in pure processing, reflecting the sheer number of cores, but three times faster for visuals. NVIDIA went so far as to claim that it was catching up to notebook processors and could outperform an old but still capable 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 in some areas.

Despite the extra hardware, NVIDIA claimed Kal-El was more efficient and would use less power when optimized. A tablet with an unnamed capacity could handle 12 hours of regular HD video.

Production should start in August, although NVIDIA hasn't named customers. It may be the choice for major tablet designers such as LG and Samsung, many of whom have had to use it as the reference chip for Android 3.0. NVIDIA has a long-term roadmap as well and is using "real superhero" codenames for the rest of the Tegra updates, starting with Wayne in 2012, Logan in 2013 and Stark in 2014. Stark would draw even with a Core 2 Duo in performance.

The upgrade sets a high competition watermark for current tablet market leader Apple, which may go dual-core in the short term but whose ability to keep up isn't known. Rumors have circulated of a possible third iPad in fall that could be Apple's opportunity to jump to quad-core on its own.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bigmig

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Coremark scales near-linearly in number of cores

    So all this says is that each Tegra 2/3 core runs half as fast as a Core2Duo core. Of course, it's also a highly synthetic benchmark. I'd expect the Core2Duo core to be substantially more than twice as fast per thread as the Tegra on branchy real-world code.

    No question, ARM wins hands down on performance per watt. But it still can't approach x64 on raw overall performance.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented