NVIDIA will launch its first quad-core system processor based on ARM Cortex-A9. It has pointed out that it will be the first quad-core ARM circuit on the market and new information reveals that it will not only be first but also have six months advantage on the competition.

Tegra 3, or Kal-El, will be made with 40 nanometer technology, the same as the dual-core Cortex-A9 precursor Tegra 2. NVIDIA is the only that is making a Cortex-A9-krets on 40nm and managed to squeeze in two more cores on the same node without energy consumption and heat escalating out of control.

För övriga kretsutvecklare som mestadels använder sig av den än mindre effektiva 45nm-tekniken verkar uppgiften vara för svår att ens ge sig på. De senaste ryktena säger nämligen att ingen av de stora aktörerna, Texas Instruments, Samsung eller Qualcomm kommer att rulla ut fyrkärniga systemprocessorer med 40- eller 45nm-teknik.

Specification Kal-El (Tegra 3) Tegra 2
Node 40nm 40nm
Die size
80mm2 49mm2
CPU Quad-core Cortex-A9 at 1.5 GHz Dual-core Cortex-A9 at 1.0 GHz
L2 cache 1MB shared 1MB shared
GPU GeForce ULP Gen 2 with 12 coires GeForce ULP with 8 cores

It will instead hold off on the considerably more efficient 28nm technology and ARM’s Cortex-A15 architecture. The more efficient base architecture and higher frequencies is expected to perform better with two cores than Kal-El can do with four cores.

If this is correct it means NVIDIA will be the single company with quad-core ARM processor in 2011, with launch slated for this fall. The first products with Tegra 3 should appear before the end of the year, while the first 28nm products are not expected for another six months.

When the 28nm technology and Cortex-A15 is mature it will be possible to make quad-core Cortex-A15 circuits the same size as current dual-core Cortex-A9 circuits. If NVIDIA can use its quad-core advantage to gain a serious market share remains to be seen.

Source: Fudzilla

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