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  (Source: NVIDIA)

  (Source: NVIDIA)
Tablets using Kal-El will launch in August of 2011

The rate of advancement in system-on-chip (SoC) designs for smartphones and tablets is advancing at a rapid rate. It was too long ago that we were marveling at single-core designs approaching 1GHz core clocks, but we are now seeing single- and dual-core processors surpassing the 1GHz mark and the announcement of quad-core processors.

NVIDIA is the latest to throw its hat in the ring with the announcement of its Kal-El tablet processor (whether this chip will be officially called Tegra 3 has not yet been determined). NVIDIA is making some big claims with this quad-core processor (Kal-El also features a 12-core GPU):   

  • It will have 5x the performance of the current Tegra 2 SoC
  • It will have lower power consumption than Tegra 2 despite the increase in performance
  • It has the ability to output video at up to 2560x1600

A Coremark 1.0 benchmark result of Kal-El in action shows it absolutely obliterating its Tegra 2 predecessor (11,354 for Kal-El versus 5,840 for the Tegra 2). In fact, it was even faster than an Intel T7200 Core 2 Duo processor (2GHz, 4MB cache) that managed to pull in a score of 10,136.

Of course this is just a single benchmark so we shouldn't get too excited yet; but these early numbers look very promising. Also keep in mind that clock speeds have not been finalized, so we don't know exactly what kind of performance we'll be seeing in production silicon.

NVIDIA is currently sampling Kal-El, and is prepared to have the chip in production tablets by the third quarter of 2011. In comparison, Qualcomm's recently announced quad-core APQ8064 won't even sample until early 2012. 

It's interesting to note that Kal-El isn't the only "superhero" SoC that will be coming from NVIDIA -- the codenames for it follow-up designs include Wayne (2012), Logan (2013), and Stark (2014). Wayne will arrive one year after Kal-El, Logan will arrive a year after that, etc. By 2014, Stark is expected to offer 75 times the performance of Tegra 2.

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Look carefully at Coremark 1.0 chart!
By stmok on 2/16/2011 8:43:34 AM , Rating: 5
For those who don't use GCC to compile code under Linux...

That Coremark 1.0 chart comparing Kal-El and Tegra 2 against the Intel Core 2 Duo T7200, has been intentionally rigged in favour of Nvidia's solutions.

Version 3.4.4 with -O2 enabled for the Intel CPU.
Version 4.4.1 with -O3 enabled for Nvidia ARM CPUs.

To put it in plain english:
Nvidia intentionally used an older version of GCC and less aggressive optimization option for the comparison Intel CPU to look good.

Here's the close-up of that chart from Anandtech.

Honestly, if one is doing comparisons; they can at least be honest about it. Such dishonest behaviour isn't going to encourage me to invest in future Nvidia solutions.

By Brandon Hill on 2/16/2011 9:57:14 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, I did NOT notice that. Good eye!

By Pitbull0669 on 2/16/2011 10:06:31 AM , Rating: 2
AWESOME Info bud. AND way to go on keeping check and the retards trying to put one over on us. Big Thumbs up!

By nafhan on 2/16/2011 10:33:54 AM , Rating: 5
Very interesting. Not a regular GCC user myself, but I did a little quick Googling just for grins:

From GCC release history.
-> GCC 3.4.4 May 18, 2005
-> GCC 4.4.1 July 22, 2009

C2D was released in 2006...

O2 - optimizations that decrease size without affecting speed and increase size without decreasing speed

O3 - O2 optimizations plus (essentially) anything that will increase speed

Those could be some serious differences!!!

By BSquared on 2/16/2011 12:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
Couldn't this be blamed on the Coremark software itself, as the results are based on what's already in the database of past results from other submitters? So far, all the Tegra results were submitted before the actual C2D results, so whomever submitted those results back in October is to blame for the skewed numbers coming from the Intel processor.

So if someone who has a C2D T7200, submitted results that were compiled with the latest build of GCC would effectively change the comparison value.

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