Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad Core Mobile Processor

Tablets and Android smartphones like Acer, LG, Motorola, and Samsung, many of these use NVIDIA Tegra 2. NVIDIA announced the launch of Tegra 3 (Project Kal-El), first quad-core processor for tablet and smartphone in the world. This unique processor actually using 5 cores: 4 cores and a high-performance power-efficient core. In its inaugural launch, announced the new NVIDIA Tegra 3 tablet version. Smartphone processor will be announced in 2012.


If you think Tegra 3 will be more powerful than Tegra 2 you’re correct but if you think Tegra 3 is twice faster than Tegra 2 it’s seems that you are wrong.

Tegra 3 benefits:

  • 5 times faster than the current Tegra 2.
  • Consume 60% lower energy than Tegra 2.
  • GPU (VGA) of Tegra 3 is 3 times faster than Tegra 2.
  • Tegra 3 is be able to run 3D stereo.
  • Equal to Core2Duo on PC CPU.

Currently, there are many types of dual-core processors used in Android smartphones and tablets. NVIDIA is one of the hardware who initiate it. However, along with the increasing application of modern and even high-definition 3D gaming, multitasking capability becomes very important and the addition of the number of cores to address this issue becomes increasingly relevant.

Imagine running a Facebook, Twitter, IM, MSN Messenger, and several other applications in the background while playing 3D games. Android smartphones and tablet users already treating their device just like a PC or notebook.

Currently there are 2 types of smartphone processor problems:

Processors that are designed to save power is able to work with low voltage (automatic low power) at low speed. The problem is, when this type of processor enhanced its speed, processor voltage must be raised high enough. Forcing the processor to work at speeds above 1 GHz will make it very wasteful and its performance will not very good.

Processors that are designed for high performance will have a very good efficiency at high speeds. These processors do not require high voltage to work at high speed (above 1 GHz). The problem, lowering the processor speed does not make it more power efficient.

Hopefully Tegra 3 will solve these problems  (at least they’re trying to) .


Inside Tegra 3 there are 4 cores designed for high performance and one core that is designed to save power. This technology is called vSMP (Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing). The 5th core is referred to as “companion cores” This is a core that will works at low speed. While the other 4 cores works on high speed. The five cores that are used are based on ARM Cortex A9.

The Android system will not be notified about the existence of the 5th core so it will only detect this processor as Quad core.  During light phone tasks the system will only activating the 5th core (up to 500Mhz) and the rest of the cores will be deactivated.


As you can see on the chart Tegra 2 vs Tegra 3 power usage comparison.

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