Nvidia Tegra 3 brings quad-core power to mobile devices

The Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset has finally arrived, bringing with it the beginning of true quad-core, or in Tegra's case five-core, mobile processing power. The quad-core chip project previously went under the name of Kal-El.

The new Nvidia mobile processor features the first quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU designed to bring the maximum level of power and performance to a mobile device, with a fifth companion core for things like video and low power applications.

The processor runs at up to 1.4GHz dependant on the number of cores running. When power intensive tasks are carried out all four perfomance cores will run, the fifth shutting down to save battery. Web browsing, for example, may use just two cores, ensuring it is speedy but doesn't ever drain excessive levels of power. 

Tegra 3 is much more efficient with power than Tegra 2, according to Nvidia, offering 61 per cent lower power consumption. 

In return you get 3x graphical power of Tegra 2, thanks to a 12-core GeForce GPU. Web browsing will be up to 4x faster and it supports 1080p video processing up to 40Mbps, which is extremely high quality.

It will also be 3D compatible, and will make use of Nvidia's 3D Vision to convert OpenGL applications from 2D to 3D for output on a 3D display. 

The launch device for Nvidia Tegra 3 will be the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, announced today, with smartphones expected in Q1 2012, such as the recently leaked HTC Edge.