NVIDIA Kal-El (Tegra 3) is not something entirely new for us as we have heard lots of news since the time NVIDIA revealed it for the first time in the start of this year. At that time it was also promised that we will see the first Android based device on this powerful Kal-El (Tegra 3) based SoC by the August of this year. But unfortunately it never happened. Now we now that this was mainly because of the shifting in the plans of the Hardware manufactures of the Android based smartphones and tablets that forced NVIDIA to change its plans as well accordingly. Until now we do had some information available for the next gen Tegra 3. Most promising pieces of the information that we had was of course that Kal-El (Tegra 3) will support a quad core based configuration.
But now according to some recent whitepapers published by the NVIDIA this is NOT true in fact the Kal-El (Tegra 3) supports 5 cores. This is something new for use. Reason for the secrecy of the extra 5th core up till now had to do with the market competition reasons. According to some exciting information published by NVIDIA in the two white papers the 5th core is actually clocked much lower at 500 MHz and will come in to play when the mobile device is in active standby mode and will save battery by switching the main 4 CPU cores and running all the low power features such as email, background processes, twitter, messaging activity etc. using this low frequency low power 5th core. And then switching to the full throttle 4cores setup when raw 2D/3D graphical power is required for the games. All of this will happen automatically by the combination of the software/hardware features provided by NVIDIA. In fact, NVIDIA considers this technology so unique that they have already patented it with a name (vSMP) variable Symmetric Multi-Processing. All the CPU cores are in fact Cortex A9 CPU cores.
In fact, even the main 4 powerful cores will be dynamically managed turned on/off by the CPU governor based on the work load pattern such as for the very low load apps such as background tweeter/Facebook updates may be only one core will be enabled while for the more demanding multimedia video playback apps two cores and finally for the pure next-gen quality gaming on the device all 4 cores will be utilized for all the graphical muscle. This will enable the maximum performance while at the same time minimizing the battery usage. And here are the benefits in the power saving you will get with all of the above mentioned technology:
Myth: Quad core processors not suitable for the mobile devices!
Benchmark shown below is also very interesting as it shows that when the NVIDIA Kal-El (Tegra 3) is constrained to the same performance as the other current generation devices it uses 3x less power! On the other hand, when running at full throttle it can achieve double the performance in the Coremark while still drawing less power! This is really amazing feat! And should be enough to bust the common myth that quad core processors are no appropriate for the mobile device because they draw more power than dual-core.
In summary, in terms of power draw NVIDIA Kal-El (Tegra 3) will be extremely power efficient and less power hungry wile delivering 2x to 3x performance increase.
Raw CPU Power
Raw CPU power measured in terms of the heavy computations for the following set of applications:
Numerous productivity apps
Many forms of location-aware computing
3D stereo games and applications
Now the Exciting Part!
Gaming Performance Improvements
As we can see from the extensive performance benchmarks shared by the NVIDIA, Kal-El (Tegra 3) is a rather powerful solution for the upcoming Android Ice Cream Sandwich based devices. It seams to deliver strongly not only on the raw CPU power, GPU power, multimedia performance, multithreading performance etc. but at the same time use the lower battery/power draw as compared to the other SoC solutions available. Stay tuned for the more updates as new details emerge about the Kal-El (Tegra 3).
Now after seeing all of this we can’t wait for the next gen Android ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) based devices supporting Kal-El (Tegra 3). Samsung Galaxy S3 (SIII) Anyone???
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