Nvidia Shows Off Tegra "Kal El", Promises Five Times Performance Boost, Rapid Time-to-Market

Nvidia Unveils Quad-Core Tegra Chip, Promises Shipments in August

by Anton Shilov
02/16/2011 | 09:10 PM

Nvidia Corp. at Mobile World Convention (MWC) demonstrated for the first time the third-generation Tegra product called Kal El. The new incarnation of Tegra boasts five times higher performance compared to the predecessor, supports a number of new features and is projected to be available starting from August. The company also revealed Tegra roadmap till 2014.


Nvidia did not reveal precise specifications of Tegra "Kal El", but based on a previous report we do know that the system-on-chip is based on four Cortex-A9 application cores, will feature a GeForce graphics processor with twelve stream processors and will have a new display and video engines capable of supporting Blu-ray disc video playback and stereo-3D graphics output. Other capabilities and clock-speeds of the novelty are not known previously. Nvidia claims that the new chip outperforms Tegra 2 by up to five times.

At the Mobile World Congress (MWC), Nvidia demonstrated that the Tegra 3 can browse the Web, run games and stream/decode video with 2560x1440 (1440p) extreme HD resolution. At the trade-show Nvidia demonstrated its Tegra "Kal El" in an Android-based tablet with 10.1" screen.

Based on Coremark 1.0 benchmark results demonstrated by Nvidia, Tegra 3 is about two times faster than Tegra 2 and offers even higher performance compared to Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 desktop microprocessor.

The mobile powerhouse named after the planet where the Superman was born will first hit the market inside a PC in tablet form-factor sometimes in August and will even become a part of smartphones by Christmas, according to Nvidia.

"Our customers are getting samples [of Tegra 'Kal El'] now. That they are planning production in August," said Mike Rayfield, general manager of Nvidia's mobile business.

Besides showing off its latest development, Nvidia also revealed its general Tegra roadmap till 2014. After Kal El in 2011, the firm will release Wayne in 2012, Logan in 2013, and Stark in 2014. The company has a lot of plans for the market of handheld devices and it looks like it will use all the experience it has gained over the years on the market of desktop and mobile PCs in order to succeed on the new one. For example, Nvidia intends to very rapidly double the performance of its mobile SoC to allow developers of mobile applications to create better mobile software.

"Our customers and partners have already indicated that they are confident they can use everything we give them. If you have followed Nvidia, you know the relentless velocity of innovation that we’ve  brought to the PC space with our GeForce processors. Prepare for that same intensity to play out in the mobile space," added Mr. Rayfield.