Tegra 4: Seven Key Things You Need to Know

By NVISION - Tue, Aug 27, 2013

Earlier this year, NVIDIA unveiled its next-generation of mobile processor technology, Tegra 4. Previously known only by its codename “Wayne,” the long-rumored successor to the Tegra 3 chip boasts immense power, performance and versatility. The following is a look at what you need to know about the latest evolution of Tegra technology.

6x the Horsepower
NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 is still one of the most advanced mobile processors on the market. So, it’s to be expected that Tegra 4 represents a dramatic leap forward in speed and performance.

The new Tegra chip packs 72 custom GeForce GPU cores and a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, which delivers six times the GPU performance of its predecessor (20 times the performance compared to Tegra 2) and other improvements like 2.6 times faster web browsing.

Tegra 4’s built-in variable SMP (Symmetric Multiprocessing) architecture can employ individual cores—or all four cores maxed out at once—depending on how resource demanding the task at hand is.

Tegra 4 versus Tegra 4i
While Tegra 4 packs a few more GPU cores than the Tegra 4i smartphone variant (72 versus 60), both deliver an enormous amount of processing power and support many of the features discussed in this article. Additionally, Tegra 4i features an optimized version of the i500 LTE modem integrated right into the chip.

Not Just for Smart Devices
While delivering tremendous performance to smartphones and tablets is a huge part of Tegra 4, the processor has a variety of other applications, too. One of the more exciting uses for Tegra 4, however, is its potential to transform the way drivers interact with their vehicle’s dashboard as it can power digital infotainment and navigation systems built within certain vehicles.

Computational Photography
Another notable feature Tegra 4 introduces is through its computational photography architecture. Now with a Tegra 4 equipped device, users can capture high dynamic range (HDR) photos and videos. As NVIDIA explains, this allows you to have high-quality images “the way they are seen by the human eye.”

A Battery that’s Built to Last
Tegra 4 is built with energy efficiency in mind. In addition to its quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, it’s also equipped with a second generation battery saver core, which consumes almost 50 percent less power than Tegra 3 while powering your games, apps and high-definition videos for hours.

There’s also a fifth “invisible” Cortex A15 companion core under the hood that executes certain background tasks, which ultimately contributes to its overall power efficiency.

What Does Tegra 4 Mean for Gaming?
Just as Tegra 3 has been crucial in enabling developers to bridge the gap between mobile and console gaming visuals, Tegra 4 also delivers unprecedented visual fidelity to mobile devices. The Tegra 4-armed NVIDIA Shield, for instance, can play both Android games downloaded from Google Play and supported PC games streamed through Steam like Dishonored, Hawken, Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed III to name a few. A number of gaming industry veterans including Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot and Epic Games VP Mark Rein have also praised Shield and Tegra 4 as being real game-changers.

Already Powered by Tegra 4
Even though Tegra 4 was announced less than a year ago, the technology is already being used to power an array of innovative hardware from high-performance tablets and notebooks to gadgets geared towards hardcore gamers and even hybrid all-in-one Android devices.