CES 2010: Nvidia Launches Next-Generation Tegra Mobile Processor

tablet PC

The new Tegra is a fully HD capable and low-power mobile processor. And while Nvidia is billing the chip as a processor for mobile devices, the company is clearly targeting the tablet PC. Nvidia President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang introduced the product and showed off several tablet devices of various sizes from different manufacturers such as MSI, Asus, and ICD. "2010 is going to be the beginning of the tablet revolution," Huang said during the press conference.

Huang also championed the Tegra as one of the most important and powerful products Nvidia has ever produced. "This processor is nothing short of a miracle for us," he said. Nvidia offered some specifications to back up the claim.

According to Nvidia, the Tegra is the world's first dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU for mobile devices. "My laptop doesn't even have dual core, but my tablet does," Huang said. The Tegra features eight independent processors that give mobile devices roughly 10 times the power of an average smartphone, but uses 20 times less energy than a PC. The new generation also offers four times the performance of the previous generation Tegra processor.

Huang demonstrated several tablet devices powered by Tegra and emphasized the processor's ultra-low power, pointing out that the devices didn't need fans or vents. Along with low power consumption, Tegra devices can deliver over 16 hours of full HD video and 140 hours of music on a single battery charge. In the video playback department, Huang said Tegra offers Adobe Flash 10.1 acceleration for better HD video and 3D mobile games. Nvidia brought up Tim Sweeney, founded and CEO of Epic Games, to demonstrate a build of Epic's Unreal Engine on a Tegra device to show how well the processor supported high quality graphics.

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Huang and Nvidia even took a shot at rival Intel by comparing HD video playback of the "Iron Man 2" trailer on an Atom-powered device against a Tegra-powered device. While the Atom device's playback was slow, choppy and out of synch with the audio, the Tegra video played flawlessly.