Saturday, 23 February 2013

Nvidia, Qualcomm Disclose New Mobile Processors Before MWC

In advance of next week's Mobile World Congress (MWC), both Qualcomm and Nvidia announced new mobile applications processors. In both cases, these weren't the highest-end chips in the line, but were rather designed for more standard smartphones.
Nvidia took the wraps off its Tegra 4i, its first processor to have an integrated modem on the applications processor. Code-named Project Grey, the Tegra 4i will have four ARM Cortex-A9 CPU cores (plus a low-power version in the company's 4+1 architecture), 60 graphics cores, and an integrated i500 LTE modem. The modem is effectively the same one the company announced at CES last month, based on the Icera software-defined radio technology, but integrated onto a chip.
Compared with the larger Tegra 4 announced at CES, the 4i uses Cortex A9 cores instead of the newer Cortex-A15 and has 60 graphics cores compared with 72. It does, however, have the integrated modem and can run at up to 2.3GHz versus 1.9GHz, albeit with less graphics capabilities and smaller memory support. It uses the same generation of graphics technology and will also include the company's "Chimera" camera technology that features always on HDR recording of both photos and video. It's a much smaller chip, with a die area of about 60mm² compared with more than 80mm² for both the existing Tegra 3 and the Tegra 4 chip, neither of which has a modem. Thus, the 4i should offer lower cost and better battery life than the older chips. Nvidia says some products with the Tegra 4i could appear by the end of the year, but larger availability is likely to be in the first quarter of 2014. The company showed a reference platform it calls "Phoenix."

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