NVIDIA Tegra 3 gets boost with LTE Support, 30 Devices this year

Subject: Mobile | May 24, 2012 - 08:05 PM |
Tagged: wayne, tegra 3, tegra, nvidia, LTE, icera, grey

In the middle of 2011, NVIDIA acquired a small company by the name of Icera, a maker of baseband and RF technologies that would eventually allow the company to integrate the two into a single chip.  As LTE-capable devices from Verizon, AT&T and even Sprint have been announced and ship, no NVIDIA Tegra-powered phone or tablet has been able to support the feature with the lone exception of the ZTE Mimosa X in February of this year.  

Today NVIDIA officially announced support and validation from AT&T on their new and growing LTE network for the Icera 410 LTE multimode chipset.  This will finally allow Tegra + LTE devices to be sold and available in the US and other markets when product manufacturers integrate the two processors in future designs.

Tegra3_Chip.jpg

As to when we will see those designs, we aren't quite sure but nothing was announced during the NVIDIA investors day today.  All we know now is that they will be coming "through this year and next."

“Validation with AT&T is an achievement that paves the way for NVIDIA Icera-powered LTE devices on the AT&T network through this year and next,” said Stan Boland, senior vice president of Mobile Communications at NVIDIA.
 
The NVIDIA Icera 410 LTE modem delivers lightning-fast web browsing, video streaming and multiplayer gaming to tablets and clamshell devices. It is the first Icera modem to implement 4G LTE in NVIDIA’s software defined radio baseband processor. Together with its multimode radio transceiver, the chipset offers 4G LTE at category 2 data rates (up to 50 Mbps) as well as 4G HSPA+, 3G and 2G compatibility.

What we DID learn at the NVIDIA investors meeting is that Mike Rayfield, GM of Tegra business unit, things we'll see as many as 30 Tegra 3 based devices for sale this year.  

NVIDIA has 30 devices planned for the year. So far, we've seen just two. Of those 30 devices, some 15 will be planned for sub-$200 pricing. That's certainly the sweet spot for impulse purchases.

NVIDIA's also looking to make inroads into the Chinese market, with 18 of those 30 tablets targeted for the Asian nation. By comparison, NVIDIA only released five devices in China in 2011, Rayfield said.

The big name to know for the rest of the year is Kai. That's the low-cost, high-performance system that NVIDIA is crowing about these days, and it's what will help bring prices down while keeping prices at a more affordable level. Will there be higher-performing tablets? Sure. But will they be $200?

Producing a number of devices, like 30, is impressive but without context the fact means very little.  How many of these devices are going to tablets and how many are phones?  How many will be running the Microsoft Win RT operating system for ARM due out in fall?  

Speaking of Icera though, NVIDIA also showed the roadmap for LTE integration including the upcoming Icera i500 LTE controller for high-end phones and tablets with newly planned integration directly on the Tegra core in a new chip called "Grey".  This new processor will run parallel with the planned 2013 release of "Wayne" though it will be targeted at smartphones and lower end tablets; Wayne is planned to find its way into higher end tablets and the onslaught of clamshells we'll see with Windows RT.

nvidiagrey.jpg

There is a lot more to learn and we expect see more news come our way as we approach Computex in Taipei!

NVIDIA Tegra 4 Specifications Sheet Leaks

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 7, 2012 - 07:11 PM |
Tagged: tegra 4, tegra, SoC, nvidia, mobile

The Chinese language VR-Zone website has allegedly managed to get their hands on a leaked specifications sheet for NVIDIA’s upcoming Tegra 4 System-on-a-chip (SoC) aimed at mobile tablets. Codenamed “Wayne,” the new SoC will come in several flavors and will arrive next year.

The upcoming chips will have 10x the performance of NVIDIA’s original Tegra and five times the performance of the current generation Kal-El Tegra 3 chip. NVIDIA has run into several hurdles in integrating an LTE cell radio into their SoCs, but if the leaked document is true, the company will finally release a Tegra chp with built-in LTE 100 and HSPA42 cell radio capabilities as early as the third quarter of 2013.

Badge_Tegra_3D_large.jpg

Further, the Tegra 4 SoCs will come in four flavors: T40, T43, AP40, and SP3X. T40 will represent the first Tegra 4 chp that manufacturers and consumers will be able to get their hands on -- as early as Q1 2013. It is a quad core part with one companion core and will run at 1.8 GHz. T43 is an evolution of the T40 and will bump up the clockspeed to 2.0 GHz. The AP40 chip will be the first budget Tegra 4 processor and will run anywhere between 1.2 GHz and 1.8 GHz. The T43 and AP40 SoCs are reportedly coming out in Q3 2013. All three chips -- The T40, T43, and AP40 -- are based on the ARM Cortex A15 architecture.

  T40 T43 AP40 SP3X
Release Date Q1 2013 Q3 2013 Q3 2013 Q3 2013
Markets Aimed At Flagship Flagship Mainstream Mainstream
Tablet Device Screen Size 10" 10" 10" 7"
Processor Clockspeed 1.8 GHz 2.0 GHz 1.2-1.8 GHz 1.2-2.0 GHz
Core Count 4+1 4+1 4+1 4+1
Chip Architecture A15 A15 A15 A9
Cell Radio       LTE100/HSPA42

 

The final Tegra 4 chip is called SP3X, and it will arrive in Q3 2013. Aimed at mainstream tablets with 7” or smaller screens, the upcoming SoC will feature LTE support and will have a clockspeed of 1.2 GHz to 2.0 GHz. It is a quad core (plus one companion core) part but is reportedly based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture.  The leaked release dates do seem to be in line with earlier reports, though they should still be taken with your daily dose of salt.

 

Right now Tegra delivers on performance and many high end mobile devices have incorporated the NVIDIA chip. Even so, they still have very little market share, and the two mainstream Tegra 4 chips -- especially the SP3X with LTE radio -- should help them make inroads against Qualcomm and Samsung who hold a great deal of market share.

NVIDIA Tegra 3 Processor Accelerates Many High End Applications

Subject: Mobile | March 10, 2012 - 03:53 AM |
Tagged: tegra 3, tegra, quad core, nvidia, mobile

NVIDIA's Tegra 3 mobile processor may not have much market share (yet), but it sure is powerful! In a recent blog post, the company reiterated just how much it is accelerating applications on mobile platforms including photo editing, remote desktop clients, and even mobile video editing. They further got comments from several of the app developers that stated the Tegra 3 was the piece that made their applications run so smoothly. Granted, some of this is marketing and promotion; however, that fact doesn't make their mobile quad core (4+1 power saving core) SoC any less impressive hardware wise.

Tegra 3.jpg

Some of the applications NVIDIA heralded include Snapseed, PowerDirector, Splashtop, and Photaf. Snapseed and PowerDirector are photo editor and video editing applications respectively while Photaf is a photo stitching app that allows you to combine multiple shots into panoramas.

Finally, Splashtop is an application that takes advantage of the Tegra 3 to bring a remote desktop client to Android that proclaims to be fast enough to run games as well as the more traditionally desktop access. Both Splashtop and Photaf are available now on Google Play for you to test out while PowerDirector and Snapseed are coming later this year to Android.

Below is the above mentioned video of the Android application developers talking about the benefits of the quad core Tegra 3 processor.

What do you guys think of NVIDIA's "4+1" core processor?   Will it stand up to the new Apple A5X chip (according to NVIDIA it wont while Apple says the opposite (obviously), but we'll have to wait until we have an iPad in house to see who's chip is actually faster)?

Source: NVIDIA

Podcast #191 - ASUS AMD GPU Roundup, IMFT Flash, and tons of news from MWC!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 29, 2012 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: vengeance, tegra, podcast, nvidia, MWC, Intel, corsair, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #191 - 02/29/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our ASUS AMD GPU Roundup, IMFT Flash, and tons of news from MWC!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:05:06

Program Schedule: 

  1. 0:00:32 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:38 Contest Reminder - http://pcper.com/contest
  6. 0:03:35 SilverStone TJ08-E Micro-ATX Tower Enclosure Review
  7. 0:05:00 Asus DirectCU and DirectCU II for AMD: 6850, 6870, 6950, and 6970 Boards Under the Microscope
  8. 0:16:15 AMD Updates the FX Line: Some Thoughts on Future Moves for AMD
  9. 0:22:55 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:23:45 Intel Ivy Bridge delay is confirmed essentially
  11. 0:27:30 GPU sales look a little down in the month
  12. 0:31:13 Could this new research lead to light speed RAM?
  13. 0:33:45 Just Delivered: Corsair Vengeance K90, K60, M90, M60 Keyboards and Mice
  14. 0:36:30 Intel / Micron Flash Technology Venture Expands, Micron Assumes Two Plants
  15. 0:40:30 Qualcomm Shipped Most Smartphone and Tablet GPUs in 2011
  16. 0:42:20 MWC 12: Samsung to compete with Tegra on quad-core CPU
  17. 0:45:20 MWC 12: Huawei enters the mobile SoC world with quad-core K3V2
  18. 0:47:00 Nokia World's Largest Windows Phone OS Smartphone Vendor in Q4 2011
  19. 0:49:00 MWC 12: Intel branded, Atom-powered smartphone to be sold by Orange
  20. 0:51:30 MWC 12: ASUS Unveils Infinity Tablets, Dockable Smartphone
  21. 0:55:00 MWC 12: Lots of industry support for NVIDIA DirectTouch
  22. 0:56:55 MWC 12: NVIDIA Roadmap Outlines Tegra's Future Including 4G and Die Shrink
  23. Contest Reminder - http://pcper.com/contest
  24. 1:00:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: A phone that shows pictures of hotels
    2. Jeremy: Audio steganography
    1. Josh: If you do wanna go AMD... cheaply
    2. Allyn: CircuitLab
  25. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  26. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  27. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  28. Closing

Source:

MWC 12: NVIDIA Roadmap Outlines Tegra's Future Including 4G and Die Shrink

Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: wayne, tegra 3, tegra, tablets, nvidia, MWC 12, mobile, grey

This year is a big one for smaller silicon manufacturing processes with Intel's 22nm Ivy Bridge, and NVIDIA and AMD moving to 28nm GPU processes. According to a report on VR-Zone, NVIDIA is already planning their next move for Tegra, including a die shrink to 28nm.

They managed to get their hands on a road map (shown below) for NVIDIA's Tegra SoC (system on a chip) lineup that extends into 2013. With Tegra 3, NVIDIA began by sampling the chip to Asus and the Transformer Prime. After that success, other partners and devices are starting to pick up the mobile chip, and they expect the situation to be the same for future Tegra iterations.

They company allegedly taped out a Tegra 4 (T40) SoC at the end of December 2011, and is starting to sample it to OEM partners to find someone to do a Tegra 3 like launch, with one device/platform to debut first and others to follow in later months.

NVIDIA_Roadmap_Tegra4.jpeg

The Tegra 4 chip is code named "Wayne" and will be comprised of multiple ARM Cortex A15 CPU cores and a new GPU on a 28nm process. The company alos plans to show off a dual core 28nm SoC that uses two Cortex A15 CPU cores, a revamped GPU, and an Icera 4G LTE radio at Mobile World Congress 2013 next year.

Further, the roadmap details a new Tegra 3 chip that is intended to be used with Windows on ARM powered notebooks and tablets. While the new Tegra 3 (T35) SoC will not be a die shrink, it will have higher clock speeds due to less restrictions placed on the maximum TDP (thermal design power) allowed for the devices. VR-Zone estimates that the T35 chips will run somewhere between 1.6 GHz and 1.7 GHz.

Currently there are some incompatibilities with Tegra and 4G LTE radios which has caused some LTE devices to go with Qualcomm SoCs, so it is good to see NVIDIA working on improving compatibility and then integrating the basebands into their future SoCs to rectify the issue.

As far as this year is concerned, we should see the updated Tegra 3 chip and a new version of Tegra 2 that integrates a Icera 4G LTE baseband. The Wayne and Grey chips will likely not be released until 2013 at the earliest. The expanded Tegra portfolio should help them to gain some market share, though exactly how much remains to be seen.

Source: VR-Zone

MWC 12: Samsung to compete with Tegra on quad-core CPU

Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: tegra, Samsung, quad-core, MWC 12, MWC, exynos

While details are still sparse as we await the official start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona tonight/tomorrow, it appears that Samsung plans to announce a new quad-core processor as part of its Exynos line.  It will be the first Samsung SoC based on 32nm technology rather than the 45nm currently in production and will be available in both quad- and dual-core variant.

According to the story over at Unwiredview it will be available in frequencies ranging from 200 MHz all the way up to 1.5 GHz while offering lower power consumption than current options.  I am curious how this actually stacks up though as we have seen that Tegra 3 doesn't REALLY offer lower power consumption and longer battery life even though that was a promise from NVIDIA.  It definitely can offer less power consumption per performance unit, but in the end battery life is king for these mobile devices.  

samsung_exynos_4212-540x360.jpg

What about graphics performance?  The story had this to say:

The new Exynos comes paired with the latest version of Samsung’s own graphics chip, which has 4 pixel processors and 1 geometry engine with 128 KB L2 cache. The graphics support OpenGL ES 2.0 and can generate up to 57 MPolygons/s.

Samsung claims that the new processor will offer 26% more performance compared to Exynos parts based on the 45nm process and I assume they are referring to dual-core vs dual-core results.  Other claims include battery life improvements of "up to 50%" - we'd love to see it but we'll wait for actual devices to ship and showcase it before really getting excited. 

The good news is that quad-core performance will be coming to more devices and NVIDIA won't be the only SoC designer on the block offering them.  The use-cases for quad-core performance on a mobile device, phone or tablet, may still be in question though we never doubt the software side of the equation to utilize as much horsepower as it is provided. 

Source: Unwiredview

NVIDIA is up for a rough year

Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2012 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, 28nm, TSMC, kepler, tegra, tegra 3

If you caught the podcast last night you would have heard Josh discussing NVIDIA's year end financial conference call, otherwise you will have to wait until the 'cast is posted later this week.  Until then you can read SemiAccurate's take on the call here.  There is a lot of news about NVIDIA and none of it is good, from wafer yields to chip demand nothing seems to have gone right for them.  Attempting to move off of their cursed 40nm line and switching to 28nm, NVIDIA has run into big yield problems as in entire wafers having issues as opposed to just some dies being bad.  

Tegra is not doing so well either, with sales of Tegra 2 dropping as we approach the release of Tegra 3, which is getting a lot of bad press.  SemiAccurate refers to the chip as bloated in size as well as being downright expensive to make.  Combine that with the fact that NVIDIA is lagging on A15 adoption and Samsung and Apple turning their backs on Tegra and it doesn't look good for NVIDIA's mobile plans. The one ray of sunshine is that even combined Samsung and Apple do not account for even half of smartphones on the market, so there is still room for NVIDIA and Tegra to grow.

Tegra3_Chip.jpg

"Nvidia seems to be so far ahead of the curve that they are experiencing problems that are unique in the industry. In their recent year end financial conference call, there was enough said to draw some very grim conclusions.

Today’s conference call was a near complete validation of all the things SemiAccurate has been saying about Nvidia. Remember when we asked if Nvidia could supply Apple? Anyone notice the part about dumping early 28nm capacity, and the disappearance of 28nm Fermi shrinks? Remember how 28nm was not an issue for Nvidia, even if their product roadmap slips said otherwise. How well does this mesh with the quotes from Jen-Hsun himself on the topic?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

LG X3 Android 4 Smartphone With Quad Core CPU May Debut at Mobile World Congress 2012

Subject: Mobile | January 20, 2012 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: tegra, quad core, lg x3, LG, ics, android 4.0, Android

This year's Mobile World Congress in Spain is going to be an interesting one from a smartphone hardware perspective, especially if recent rumors hold true. If you thought a dual core Snapdragon chip delivered a speedy experience, LG has something to blow your mind: The LG X3 is a smartphone that is rumored to have a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor!

LG_X3_Leak-470-75.jpg

The alleged LG X3 phone

The article quotes Pocketnow in detailing the less than 9mm thick LG X3's specifications which include the above-mentioned Tegra 3 Soc, an 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera, a HSPA 21 "4G" network cellular radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microSD slot, and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. This hardware will be put to good use in powering the phones 4.7" display with a resolution of 1280 x 720. Further, a massive 2,000 mAh (milli-amp-hour) battery will provide the quad core SoC and huge display the power they need. Though with these kind of specs, under heavy use, don't expect miracles even with such a large battery. The last big of leaked information on the phone indicates that it will be running the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" mobile operating system (OS). Our own Matt Smith has a review of the Android 4.0 OS (running on the Transformer Prime) for your reading pleasure on the site now.

A quad core SoC (System on a Chip) in a phone... I just can't get past that; here I was thinking my 1.2 GHz single core Snapdragon processor was speedy. Before I even got my hands on a dual core phone, they are already packing them with quad cores!

Source: Pocketnow

LucidLogix Announces XLR8 Tech To Improve Embedded and SoC GPU Performance

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 03:48 AM |
Tagged: virtualization, tegra, Lucidlogix, gpu, gaming, game, embedded, CES2012, CES

Earlier today Lucid (LucidLogix), the company behind quite a few GPU virtualization technologies, announced yet another piece of GPU virtualization software. This time; however, instead of wrangling as much performance as possible from multi-GPU beasts, this technology- codenamed "XLR8"- is aimed at the mobile market of tablets, smartphones, and laptops with integrated graphics. Such products are powered by integrated GPUs in AMD's APUs and Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, and by the GPUs in mobile SoCs (system on a chip) like Nvidia's Tegra and ARM's Mali graphics processors. XLR8 uses "unique CPU multithreading" to feed the mobile GPUs as efficiently as possible.

xlr8_tablet.png

According to Lucid, many of the PC graphics issues are magnified when it comes to embedded GPUS including visual tearing, pipeline inefficiencies, power management, and artifacting. Offir Remez, president of Lucid further stated that most of the big, popular PC games have playability issues on mobile platforms and on computers with integrated graphics. "If it's got a GPU, we can improve the end user experience."

The company further expanded that the XLR8 technology works by disabling unnecessary and redundant processes in addition to "unique multithreading" to improve system (gaming) responsiveness up to 200 percent. The XLR8 software monitors battery drain and power draw while shutting down background processes to increase CPU frame generation and minimizing redundant GPU rendering processes.

If this sounds a lot like marketing speak, it certainly does. On the other hand, Lucid has been able to push some useful virtualization technology into desktops, so maybe mobile platforms are just the next step for the company. The company is currently demonstrating the XLR8 software in private at CES and is being tested by hardware partners.  Mobile SoC are getting faster and more powerful, and on battery powered devices there is always room for efficiency improvements.  Once reviewers manage to get their hands on some actual hardware, and XLR8 is past the concept/testing stage you can bet that people will have a better understanding of what exactly XLR8 is capable of.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Qualcomm Licensing PowerVR Display Intellectual Property Technology

Subject: Mobile | December 16, 2011 - 06:00 AM |
Tagged: tegra, SoC, qualcomm, PowerVR, mobile, Android, adreno

Quite a few mobile device manufacturers are implementing graphics processors and image processors based on Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR technology. Popular licensees of Imagination Technologies PowerVR core patents include Intel, LG, Samsung, Sony, and Texas Instruments (a big one in regards to number of SoCs using PowerVR techs for mobile phones).

qualcomm_and_PowerVR.png

Interestingly, Qualcomm is not currently licensing the graphics processor portfolio that man other mobile OEMs license. Rather, Qualcomm is licensing the PowerVR display patents. The intellectual property features the PowerVR de-interlacing cores and de-judder purposed FRC (Frame Rate Conversion) core. The de-interlacing core(s) can do either “motion adaptive (MA) or motion compensated (MC) de-interlacing” as well as a few other algorithms to deliver smooth graphics. Further, the FRC cores take 24 FPS (frames per second) source material and outputs it as either 120 Hz or 240 Hz while applying image processing to keep the video looking smooth to the eye. The method for grabbing and extrapolating “extra” frames to take a 24 FPS video and display it on an LCD screen that refreshes at 120 Hz by displaying each one of those 24 frames five times every second involves a bit of math and algorithmic magic; a simplistic explanation can be read here.

It will be interesting to see how Qualcomm applies the image processing technology to their future SoCs (system on a chip) to entice manufacturers into going with them instead of competition like Texas Instruments or Nvidia’s Tegra chips. The Verge speculates that this Qualcomm and Imagination Technologies deal may be just the first step towards Qualcomm licensing more PowerVR tech (possibly) including the GPU portfolio. Whether Qualcomm will ditch their Adreno GPUs remains to be seen. If I had to guess, the SoC maker will invest in more PowerVR IP, but they will not completely abandon their Adreno graphics. Rather, they will continue developing next generation Adreno graphics for use in their SoCs while also integrating the useful and superior aspects of PowerVR graphics and display technologies. Another option may be to develop and sell both platforms (possibly with one being high end competition to Tegra and the other being for the rest of phones as competition to other low end, low power chips) to hedge their bets into the future of mobile SoCs which is a rapidly advancing industry where change and what is considered the top tech happens quickly.

Source: The Verge