Tegra 3 is the first quad core chipset for mobile devices based on Android 4.0 and a foundation for the new generation of tablets and smartphones, more advanced and more capable of offering more than it was possible with the Android Honeycomb generation.
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the first representative of the quad core generation, a tablet with top notch tech specs meant to demonstrate the potential of the Nvidia Tegra 3 platform.
Quad-core +1 Chipset
Nvidia Kal El, or Tegra 3, is something more than a quad-core chipset, as it actually contains a total of five processing cores. The number 5 core plays the role of a auxiliary processor, less sophisticated and with lower performances than the four main cores, but more energy efficient. This processor is used for basic tasks, like playing music, email sync and other operating system processes.
The quad-core +1 design is a elegant solution to limit power consumption, which would increase with the complexity level of the chipset. The main four processing cores are thus completely inactive most of the time, but they can increase performance when it really matters, like rendering a Full HD movie or playing 3D games.
The activation is done based on the energy efficiency and the power requirements needed for applications. It also reduces the power requirements when the tablet is left with the screen turned off.
More than that, the five processing cores of the Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset can be turned on and off from inside the apps, offering software developers the possibility of choosing the exact level of performance they need, avoiding situations in which harmless apps, like the instant messaging app or news reader, end up compromising the autonomy of the battery by eating up more energy than needed. Nvidia names this concept vSMP and they already filed a patent for this technology.
The VSMP technology allows you to save up to 61% battery than the Tegra 2 platform, and the improvements can be noticed where it matters – in activities that require more time, like video rendering and internet browsing.
As it was expected, a doubled number of processing cores also brings double performances in applications, with variable results based on the software optimizations.
The advantage of the quad-core +1 design can be noticed in games, where Nvidia Tegra 3 offers a major increase of performance that it translated through impeccable rendering of current games and superior quality level for future games. The quad-core +1 design opens the way for much more spectacular special effects.
Nvidia is also preparing the release of the Quad Core Tegra Zone Games, a section dedicated to games for Tegra 3 devices, where we can download demo titles like Riptide GP, Bladeslinger and Shadowgun, created to highlight the special effects allowed by the new hardware platform.
Tablet and Gaming Console
Users familiar with console games will surely be thrilled to discover that tablets based on the Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset are compatible with the gamepads created for Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii Console but also third party models from manufacturers such as Logitech.
Full Multimedia Support
Asus Transformer Prime and the rest of Tegra 3 tablets planned for next year will also be recognized for their special multimedia abilities, which can render Blu-Ray movies at Full HD resolution.
If w opt to view movies on a LCD screen we will be able to enjoy surround 7.1 sound rendered by HDMI 1.4 connection.
The tech specs list continues with support for DDR3 memory and SATA II standard, used to get superior speeds when booting the OS.
Nvidia’s plans do not stop here and the Tegra 3 chipset will receive a upgrade next year, which will bring better performances and other improvements.