Nvidia Tegra3, what is the performance?

Posted by Charbax – November 9, 2011

Nvidia is launching the Tegra 3 next month in the $499 Asus Transformer Prime (with a $149 optional keyboard dock). This is an amazing new Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 with a lower-power "companion chip" for reduced power usage.

They are publishing a lot of claims about the performance.

Nvidia published several other new videos on their YouTube Channel showcasing the Tegra3 processor: 1, 2, 3, 4

How does a Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 clocked at 1.5Ghz like in the TI OMAP4460 and Qualcomm MSM8660 and at up to 1.8Ghz like in the upcoming TI OMAP4470 compare with a Quad-core Tegra3 clocked at 1.3Ghz?

Nvidia probably claims that the Quad-core design performs faster. And in my video with Freescale talking about their upcoming i.MX6Quad it's being said that running a higher frequency Dual-core can introduce potential leakage and higher power consumption, but what is it really? How is the performance going to compare for most popular Android tasks, for most common Android usage scenarios, for most current Android apps?

I am looking forward to testing these "second generation" ARM Cortex-A9 processors, I want to believe that these can provide for the full performance required to replace x86 for a full ARM Powered Laptop and Desktop experience. I want to believe that Nvidia improved their ARM Cortex-A9 design enough to provide for an amazing new faster memory bandwidth.

Basically, what I expect that we are getting now is enough performance, fast enough memory bandwidth, that we can run as many tabs as we want in the Android and Chrome web browser on ARM, that we can even expect to be able to begin to do things like video-editing (HTML5 cloud based), photo-editing (HTML5 cloud based), console-quality gaming (with cloud powered engines like OnLive if needed), all through this new class of ARM Cortex-A9 processors coming out now.

Which one do you pick among OMAP4460 Dual-core 45nm 1.5Ghz (December), OMAP4470 Dual-core 45nm 1.8Ghz (next 3 months?), Qualcomm MSM8660 Dual-core 45nm 1.5Ghz (now), Qualcomm Dual/Quad-core S4 Krait 28nm 1.5Ghz (next 6 months?), Freescale i.MX6Quad 1.2Ghz (next 6 months? higher clock speeds later?), Exynos 4210 45nm 1.2Ghz (now), Exynos 4212 32nm 1.5Ghz (next 6 months?), Apple A6 (32nm? dual or quad?) (next 6 months?), Marvell Armada PXA2128 (next 6 months?), ST-Ericsson U9500 45nm 1.2Ghz (now), ST-Ericsson U9540 32nm 1.85Ghz (next 6 months?) and Nvidia Tegra3 40nm 1.3Ghz (December, higher clock speeds later?)? And don't forget that the ARM Cortex-A15 designs at 28nm are going to arrive within a few months after that.

I think we are going to have a lot of fun with these new faster ARM Powered devices, do you agree?