Tegra 3 Announced. It Comes With A Companion CPU

NVIDIA today unveiled its NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor which, NVIDIA claims, brings "PC-class performance levels", better battery life and improved mobile experiences to tablets and phones.

Known previously by the codename "Project Kal-El," the Tegra 3 processor provides up to 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2, and up to 61 percent lower power consumption. This translates into 12 hours of battery life for HD video playback.

The Tegra 3 processor implements a new, patent-pending technology known as Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP). vSMP includes a fifth CPU "companion," specifically designed for work requiring little power. The four main cores are specifically designed for work requiring high performance, and generally consume less power than dual-core processors.

During tasks that require less power consumption -- like listening to music, playing back video or updating background data -- the Tegra 3 processor completely shuts down its four performance-tuned cores and, instead, uses its companion core. For high-performance tasks -- like web browsing, multitasking and gaming -- the Tegra 3 processor disables the companion.

"NVIDIA's fifth core is ingenious," said Nathan Brookwood, Research Fellow at Insight 64. "Tegra 3's vSMP technology extends the battery life of next-generation mobile devices by using less power when they're handling undemanding tasks and then ratcheting up performance when it's really needed."

NVIDIA didn't reveal the Tegra 3's battery life when using the high performance cores and it is unlikely that we'll get to know that bit of information before actual devices make their way to reviewers' hands.

Tegra 3 supports hardware acceleration for Adobe Flash Player 11, HTML5, WebGL and Javascript.

Make sure to check the screens tab for screenshots from some games running on Tegra 3.

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I don't like this one bit. I

I don't like this one bit. I want my CPU to run at full speed when I'm listening to music. I'm a hardcore audiophile and I can't have the audio skip one bit while listening or I'll go insane. I hope Intel and AMD doesn't start doing something similar or that it can be disbled just like enhanced halt-state.

What?

It won't skip. The entire idea is that the processor is not wasting power/cycles and shuts off or downtunes unused resources. It'll process what's being asked of it (could be full-tilt, at which point you need a faster processor, or idling 2 cores because you don't need that much).

Also for a hardcore audiophile you should be more worried about the fact that these mobile platforms never come with quality audio DACs. Heck, you'd arguably need a quality headphone/speaker amp to begin with and those aren't exactly integrated.

He did have a point though.

He did have a point though. It's not unheard of that audio skips when processors change their clock speed (Atom) because of the delay when switching. Turning on and off cores takes even longer to do for a CPU. Even on high end systems those who work with audio tend to turn off various power savings options to ensure reliable play back and real time processing.

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