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NVIDIA Announces the Tegra 4 with 72-core GPU, the “World’s Fastest Mobile Processor” [CES 2013]

tegra 4 official

When Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s CEO, took the stage tonight at the Palms Casino for their CES press event (our live blog), he had to admit that the Tegra 4 was one of the worst kept secrets in the mobile industry. Even still, his series of demos with a prototype tablet and Project Shield gaming system, both of which were running the T4, blew the crowd’s minds. It’s official – the Tegra 4 is the “world’s fastest mobile processor.” 

Previously codenamed project “Wayne,” the Tegra 4 is built on Cortex-A15 cores, along with a 72-core GPU that produces “record-setting performance and battery life.” That performance was put on display tonight when Huang put a T4-powered tablet up against the Nexus 10 in a browser test. The Tegra 4 ran through 25 pages in around 27 seconds, while the N10 took 50 seconds. It’s remarkably fast.

tegra 4 setup

Beyond power and efficiency, NVIDIA talked up its camera capabilities, especially when it comes to HDR photos. Using a Tegra 4, users are able to snap HDR photos like never before. The processor actually allows the image sensor to snap two photos simultaneously to create incredible images.

Last, the Tegra also supports 4K ultra-high-definition video output and 4G LTE. Huang mentioned that their LTE modems are sampling now, so it sounds like the chip is not quite ready for smartphones. He did, however, show off a preview for Will Smith’s new movie “After Earth” in 4K, streaming from the Project Shield device to an LG 4K TV.

tegra 4 hdr notes

No availability was mentioned at all other than parts being sampled. The prototype tablet they showed was actually a Windows tablet running stock Android. It’s pretty clear that the T4 is fresh out of development and could take some time before it’s ready for prime time.

You never know, we may see it in a device at MWC in February, but don’t be surprised if it takes a bit longer.

NVIDIA Introduces World’s Fastest Mobile Processor

Tegra 4 Features 72 Custom GPU Cores, Quad-Core Cortex-A15 CPU for Superb Performance and Efficiency; LTE Enabled With Optional Chipset

 LAS VEGAS, NV–(Marketwire – Jan 7, 2013) – CES — NVIDIA today introduced NVIDIA® Tegra® 4, the world’s fastest mobile processor, with record-setting performance and battery life to flawlessly power smartphones and tablets, gaming devices, auto infotainment and navigation systems, and PCs.

Tegra 4 offers exceptional graphics processing, with lightning-fast web browsing, stunning visuals and new camera capabilities through computational photography.

Previously codenamed “Wayne,” Tegra 4 features 72 custom NVIDIA GeForce™ GPU cores — or six times the GPU horsepower of Tegra 3 — which deliver more realistic gaming experiences and higher resolution displays. It includes the first quad-core application of ARM’s most advanced CPU core, the Cortex-A15, which delivers 2.6x faster web browsing and breakthrough performance for apps.

Tegra 4 also enables worldwide 4G LTE voice and data support through an optional chipset, the fifth-generation NVIDIA Icera® i500 processor. More efficient and 40 percent the size of conventional modems, i500 delivers four times the processing capability of its predecessor.

“Tegra 4 provides enormous processing power and efficiency to power smartphones and tablets, gaming devices, auto systems and PCs,” said Phil Carmack, senior vice president of the Tegra business at NVIDIA. “Its new capabilities, particularly in the area of computational photography, will help improve a whole range of existing products and lead to the creation of exciting new ones.”

Computational Photography Capability
Among the Tegra 4 processor’s breakthroughs is its Computational Photography Architecture, which automatically delivers high dynamic range (HDR) photos and video by fusing together the processing power of the GPU, CPU and the camera’s image-signal processor.

Its HDR capability captures images, including those taken with a flash, the way they are seen by the human eye — with detail in both bright and dark areas.

Unprecedented Power Efficiency
Designed for maximum energy efficiency, Tegra 4 includes a second-generation battery saver core for low power during standard use, and PRISM 2 Display technology to reduce backlight power while delivering superior visuals.

Tegra 4 consumes up to 45 percent less power than its predecessor, Tegra 3, in common use cases. And it enables up to 14 hours of HD video playback on phones.

Tegra 4 Key Features

  • GeForce GPU with 72 custom cores
  • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, plus a 2nd Generation Battery Saver Core
  • Computational Photography Architecture
  • LTE capability with optional Icera i500 chipset
  • 4K ultra-high-def video support

Useful Links

NVIDIA, Tegra, tablet, smartphone, mobile, quad core, gaming, GPU, CPU, GeForce, ARM, Cortex-A15, LTE, photo, HDR

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 tosupercomputers. 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 withhigh 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, seewww.nvidia.com.

  • Bionic

    This chip will be in the Motorola Titan aka “x phone”

  • feztheforeigner

    Biggest announcement? 4G LTE support. By far the biggest thing that held back Tegra 3 from making any advancements for quite some time.

    • ceejw

      The LTE support is via a separate chip though. So it’s likely that Tegra will still have a battery life disadvantage when compared to Qualcomm’s SOCs with LTE integrated on the same chip.

  • …. and i just bought the Nexus 10..

    • Steve

      NEXUS 10 is awesome! I have NEXUS 7 and NEXUS 10 and use them differently.

      it’s the best large tablet you can buy: quality+thinness+specs+apps+amazing WQXGA display+Android+sweet price.=)

      Tegra 4 launch doesn’t automatically launch the next Google 10″ NEXUS aka NEXUS 10 II 😉

      Android Forever!

    • More like I just bought a Nexus 7 with Tegra 3 inside…..

  • JWellington

    I’ve heard enough of NVidia’s past promises to treat this with a good bag of salt.

    • EvanTheGamer

      The other thing is is that NVIDIA is thinking they can compete with Nintendo and Microsoft(and Sony). Even though Microsoft hasn’t entered the Handheld Arena yet, Nintendo has and have had huge success with it in the past, and will continue to have huge success. Nintendo has credibility and reputation, while NVIDIA doesn’t as this is their first time entering this field.

      They have great reputation with graphic cards and mobile processors, but they’ve never done anything like this before, so it’s far too early to tell if they are successful with Project SHIELD or not. I’m hoping they are as this gaming device does look very promising.

      They honestly need not try to complete with Nintendo as they will lose, even if SHIELD is running off of Tegra 4, hence is incredibly powerful. It’s really all about the games and Nintendo has some of the best games available in the industry. NVIDIA should just worry about releasing a solid product and not so much about competition. At least for now.

      • Brandon Cole

        What are you saying Nintendo has the best games in the industry…pfft lmao!!! The hardware they choose leaves them with the shittiest games. The only problem this device will have is that they will need to try to appeal to everyone because they have a selective audience (high-end pc owners with gtx 650 and up) the price is only justifiable with pc game streaming and that bumps the price up to ridiculous measures. It would be a sensation though if they made it to where the screen detached into an android phone/tablet it already has 4g lte modem and android operating system this would justify the price and also could get you a lower price by signing a contract with a cell-phone company that with 4g internet, 4K video streaming, and the plethora of F2P games and all the android apps to boot could definately give it a rise to power and even may foil AMD’s plans to become king….sadface*.

  • Please have this on the next nexus tablet :>

  • AIHL

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  • More NVidia exclusive titles in the Android market. Yay!


    • JoshGroff

      /sarc is all you need.

      • Good call lol.. wrote that barely half awake at the time. Elementary Html/Xml, I feel like a tard now. X-D

  • Well it’d be disappointing if it weren’t faster than the Exynos 5250 seeing as its a dual-core A15 (Although with an amazing GPU) – was the test device running at the same resolution as the Nexus 10?

  • jdm123

    Awesome. I would absolutely love it if this somehow made its way onto the device that Motorola and Google are rumored to be working on, although I somehow doubt that it will 🙁

    • Aaron

      I had a Moto Tegra device. They abandoned it. Left it on GB. This is not the Droid you are looking for.

  • kash521

    72 core GPU? Seems a little crazy…how many cores do the current top of the line chips have?

    • the geforce gtx 680 has 1536 cores

      • regkilla

        $500 pc graphics chip. wow

      • JWellington

        It’s not a simple Apples to Apples comparison though; the core on this chip are much simpler and geared towards a different rendering technique.

        • G

          Can you give us more resources on this? What different techniques are they geared toward? I presume these mobile SoC chips are much different from the straight raw power of a dedicated GPU like the K104, but what makes them so different? If anything, it seems the dedicated GPU will trump the SoC by virtue of being a dedicated processing unit.

    • brando56894

      As Chad stated 72 cores (or “threads” as their known on Video Cards) is a paltry amount when it comes to desktop cards but for mobile processors it’s pretty damn nice!

    • Mike Yost

      Just quick checking (Googling basically) and the max the MALI line GPU cores is 8 (The GPU the Nexus 10 has), so this is a hell of a jump from current technology.

  • Bossman


    • EvanTheGamer

      Anything is possible with NVIDIA & Android. Anything.

      • michael arazan

        Maybe the first nvidia tablet running android? Can this chip with a motherboard fit inside a tablet is the question, will there be heating issues and enough battery power, or does it use power even more efficiently than the current tegra 3. Is ASUS already placing preorders? This is getting exciting finally, mobile technology catching up to pcs

        • Jarred Sutherland

          No, it isn’t. These are STILL ARM based cores, which do not have the power of an x86 CPU.

          • I thought the performance-per-watt and cost ratio of ARM handily beats x86, while x86 is the undisputed leader of raw performance, hence their current usage scenarios. As such, ARM chips are striving to become more powerful and x86 cores are striving towards efficiency in an effort to cross the mobile/stand-alone divide and introduce the true “singular solution” box that can dock as a full-fledged and powerful PC yet is still light and efficient enough to offer portability.

      • You mean NVIDIA & Android running on a Microsoft tablet.