Nvidia Launches Tegra 3 'Kal-El' Quad-Core Processor


As alluded to last month, Nvidia Wednesday formally launched its Tegra 3 processor, codenamed “Kal-El,” with a quad-core architecture ideal for mobile computing.

Tegra 3 processors provide up to 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2, according to Nvidia, and up to 61 percent lower power consumption.

The processor leverages new Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) technology, meaning its armed with a fifth CPU or "companion" core, crafted with a low-power silicon.

The four primary cores within the Kal-El quad-core architecture were created through standard silicon processes to reach higher frequencies. The vSMP technology leverages these four standard cores for performance-demanding tasks, but switches to its fifth companion core to preserve energy during web reading or other low-power activities.

In other words, vSMP technology enables Tegra 3 to switch to the most appropriate core, depending on the power level needed to perform the task at hand.

The Tegra 3 quad-core CPUs are complemented with a new 12-core Nvidia GeForce GPU, which delivers dynamic lighting and high resolution environments ideal for mobile gaming, Nvidia said.

Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the next-generation model of the company's tablet series running on Android, will be the first mobile device powered by Tegra 3.

Nvidia's Tegra mobile platform has achieved a number of notable design wins for the graphics company since the system-on-a-chip (SoC) was first introduced in 2009. The Tegra platform has been adopted by a number of smartphone and tablet manufacturers and has become one of the leading mobile processors in the market today.