Print 15 comment(s) - last by djc208.. on Jun 3 at 2:27 PM

NVIDIA Tegra  (Source: Reuters)
Tegra chips are smalled than a dime and can accelerate HD video

Mobile devices like Smartphones, portable navigation devices, and ultra mobile PCs are fast becoming some of the most popular devices in the consumer electronics market. To grab its share of the booming market, NVIDIA today announced a new family of processors aimed at accelerating the graphics and more on these small and portable devices.

NVIDIA calls the new line Tegra and it consists of three products.  The more powerful Tegra 600 series is aimed at Windows Mobile and CE-based devices. The Tegra series features the Tegra 650 and 600 GPU. The 650 has an ARM11 MPCore running at 800 MHz, 16/32-bit LP-DDR and NAND flash support.

The 650 is capable of full 1080p H.264 decoding, 720p H.264 decoding, and supports multiple audio formats including AAC, AMR, WMA, and MP3. JPEG encode and decode are supported as well. The ULP chip supports OpenGL ES 2.0, programmable pixel shader, programmable vertex and lighting as well as advanced 2D/3D graphics. Imaging up to 12 megapixels is supports along with advanced imaging features.

The Tegra 600 uses a ARM11 MPCore running at 700 MHz and has the same features save the maximum resolution supported is 720p H.264 and it ads VC-1/WMV9 decoding.

The Tegra APX 2500 is designed to power Smartphones, navigation devices, and portable media players. The APX 2500 has an ARM11 MPCore with 16/32-bit LP-DDR and NAND Flash support. The 2500 supports 720p H.264 encode and decode and supports 720p VC-1/WMV9 decode. D1 MPEG-4 encode and decode are supported as well. Multiple audio formats are supported including AAC, AMR, WMA and MP3 along with JPEG encode and decode.

The ULP chip supports OpenGL ES 2.0, D3D Mobile, programmable pixel shader, programmable vertex and lighting as well as advanced 2D graphics. Imaging at up to 12-megapixels is supported and integrated ISP as well as advanced imaging features are supported. NVIDIA says that product using the Tegra processors are due out in late 2008.

NVIDIA is better known for its computer GPUs, but another product entrant in the mobile processor realm is good news for everyone.

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By Chris Peredun on 6/2/2008 1:32:18 PM , Rating: 5
NVIDIA's product page for the Tegra lineup doesn't show any numbers (estimated or measured) for power consumption.

In the mobile device market, a difference of a single watt is huge, and while specifications and high-performance looks very good on paper (and in motion, and rendering complex 3D games projected onto large screens ... sorry) I have a feeling that all of this power has a price in - well, power - and that is what will make or break the Tegra.

By FITCamaro on 6/2/2008 1:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well for a GPS unit, most of those spend the majority of their time plugged into a car. So power consumption isn't as big a deal. But for Smartphones you're right.

By micha90210 on 6/2/2008 2:00:41 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry for the long quote,
if it's accurate, looks like this chip's gonna be low on power comparing to Intel's Atom.

"With this chip you can build an eePC that sells for $399 today for $199," said Mike Rayfield, general manager of Nvidia's mobile group.

The Tegra could also help systems like the eePC get longer battery life, he added. The ARM is generally much lower than the x86 in power consumption, even considering Intel's achievement with the Atom which has a maximum power consumption of 2W at 2 GHz.

Rayfield said the Tegra chip consumes as little as 400 mW while decoding 720p resolution video and less than 100mW in idle mode. He compared that to a 12W dissipation for a full system using the Atom.

Nvidia claims the Tegra delivers up to 25 hours of 720p video playback compared to less than five hours with an Atom chip. It can power PC applications for up to 10 hours, compared to less than two for Atom, Nvidia said.

By djc208 on 6/3/2008 2:27:40 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the major point behind Atom was that it was X86 based. No porting software to run on an ARM based system or bogging it down with X86 to ARM conversion software so it can run other apps.

Certain dedicated items like mobil media players/entertainment systems, set top boxes, portable game systems, etc. could benefit from this nVidia chip, but the advantage of Atom in your smart phone is that it can run anything that will run on an X86 machine assuming you have the storage and memory.

Now, if this were a chipset for Atom, then I think that would make a decent hit in the market.

By psychobriggsy on 6/2/2008 2:06:21 PM , Rating: 2
100mW idle, 2W max according to other articles. The Hexus one says "NVIDIA showed a Tegra-based MID playing back 720p video, whilst consuming under 1Watt of power".

nVidia's line of reasoning is that the platform is 1/10th the size of Atom (including chipset), 1/10th the power consumption, and 10x the power (certainly not CPU power alone, but with all the built-in hardware accelerators).

By cherrycoke on 6/2/2008 3:08:24 PM , Rating: 1
With increasing fuel cell technology, the power consumption may become less of an issue. I agree with you that in a mobile device the difference of 1 watt can make all the difference. Let's hope it is low consumption or let's hope the fuel cell technology catches up.

By winterspan on 6/3/2008 4:38:16 AM , Rating: 3
Well, the lack of any power-usage data in this article is just a symptom of a much greater problem.

This is a poorly written article that leaves out fundamental information that is required for 'laymen' to understand what it is attempting to describe.

First of all, these new processors ARE NOT GPUS. They are full system-on-a-chip(Soc) embedded systems including an ARM11 processor core with memory controller, southbridge, IO hub, DSP, AND a specialized GPU core. This SoC platform is in a completely different category than "mobile GPU", and that point isn't made ANYWHERE in the entire article. It's not even mentioned that these products are anything other than just a pure DSP/GPU chip until they randomly throw in a sentence stating that they use an ARM11 core. For god sakes, the term system-on-a-chip isn't even used anywhere, which is the LEAST i would expect for a non-technical article.

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