Nvidia Demos Tegra "Kal-El" Quad-Core Chip for Mobile Devices

Nvidia Shows Off Tegra 3 "Kal El" in Action

by Anton Shilov
05/30/2011 | 10:11 PM

A little bit ahead of the Computex Taipei 2011 trade-show, Nvidia Corp. demonstrated its next-generation Tegra "Kal-El" system-on-chip with four ARM general-purpose cores, GeForce graphics engine as well as other multimedia hardware. The demonstration called Glowball includes real-time physics as well as advanced dynamic lighting.


Nvidia again did not reveal precise specifications of Tegra "Kal El", but based on a previous reports we know that the system-on-chip (SoC) 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. The chip developer claims that the new chip outperforms Nvidia Tegra 2 by up to five times.

The Glowball demo features a bouncing ball that is light from inside and thus represents the light source. As it rolls, it casts its effect on different objects. This shows off the power of true dynamic lighting, rendered in real-time with physics. Thanks to Kal-El, Glowball’s true dynamic lighting brings more life and interactivity to a 3D environment for the first time on a mobile device, according to Nvidia.

Glowball leverages the accelerometer inside the device, affecting real-time movements of drapes throughout the game. As the user tilts the device, the gravity in the scene changes and drapes respond accordingly. The movements are calculated using physics and are simulated across Kal-El’s four ARM Cortex-A9 cores. As the ball collides into the jack-in-the-boxes and barrels, the scene responds. Based on the CPU meter (located in the lower left corner of the screen), all four ARM cores are needed to compute physics in real-time.

Earlier this year 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.

Nvidia promises that the Glowball demo will be available on the Android Market and that everyone will be able to check it on their devices.

Back in February Nvidia said that its partners would produce devices powered by Tegra "Kal-El" starting from August and therefore those products will be available sometimes in Q4 2011.