Even though Nvidia Corp. formally introduced its next-generation Tegra 4 application processor for mobile devices at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, the company will not start revenue shipments of the system-on-chip until July. As a result, the first commercial devices powered by Tegra 4 will emerge no earlier than in August – September timeframe.
“We ship Tegra 4 starting in Q2 [of fiscal 2014]. We are ramping production now and we will have full production release. […] [The second quarter] is when we ship to customers. Q2 is also when we ship the Tegra 4 based Shield device .[…] Although it is in the latter part of Q2, it is going to be in Q2,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia, during a conference call with financial analysts.
Nvidia’s second quarter of fiscal year spans from May to July, therefore, the shipments of Nvidia Tegra 4 code-named Wayne SoC and Nvidia Shield gaming device should commence sometime in July. As usually, strategic partners of Nvidia, such as Asustek Computer, will be among the first to release their Tegra 4-based devices already in August or September. Until then, Tegra 3 will be the chip to power premium tablets and smartphones.
Nvidia Tegra 4, previously code-named “Wayne”, features four ARM Cortex-A15 general-purpose cores as well as custom second-generation low-power general-purpose cores. The chip also incorporates 72 custom Nvidia GeForce stream processors that provide six times graphics processing performance of previous-gen Tegra 3. The new application processor also fully supports output to ultra high-definition screens with up to 4K resolution (3840*2160). Tegra 4 offers exceptional graphics processing, with lightning-fast web browsing, stunning visuals and new camera capabilities through computational photography, according to Nvidia. The new SoC is made using 28nm process technology.
Designed for maximum energy efficiency, Tegra 4 includes a second-generation battery saver core for low power during standard use, and Prism 2 display technology to reduce backlight power while delivering superior visuals. Tegra 4 consumes up to 45% less power than its predecessor, Tegra 3, in common use cases. And it enables up to 14 hours of HD video playback on phones.
Among the Tegra 4 processor's advantages is its computational photography architecture, which automatically delivers high dynamic range (HDR) photos and video by fusing together the processing power of the GPU, CPU and the camera's image-signal processor. Its HDR capability captures images, including those taken with a flash, the way they are seen by the human eye – with detail in both bright and dark areas.
Tegra 4 also enables worldwide 4G/LTE voice and data support through an optional chipset, the fifth-generation Nvidia Icera i500 processor. More efficient and 40% the size of conventional modems, i500 delivers four times the processing capability of its predecessor.
Nvidia Shield console comes in a clamshell form-factor and provides two – touch-screen or game-pad – ways of controlling titles. As a pure Android device, Nvidia Shield gives access to any game on Google Play. And as a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games from a PC powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs, accessing titles on its Steam game library from anywhere in the home. Nvidia Shield is based on Nvidia Tegra 4 system-on-chip (four ARM Cortex-A15 cores, Nvidia GeForce graphics adapter with 72 stream processors), is equipped with a 5” capacitive touch-screen with 1280*720 resolution (294ppi) and features 802.11n Wi-Fi technology with 2*2 MIMO antennas to stream PC games. Project Shield's ergonomic controller was built for the gamer who wants ultimate control and precision. The portable device also has integrated high-quality speakers.