CES Nvidia special: Tegra 4, Shield handheld console and Grid

Nvidia Grid, Shield, Tegra 4 and more


Nvidia Tegra 4

Lots of information had already been available about the Nvidia Tegra 4, along with just as many unsubstantiated rumours. Turns out that many of these were not far off the mark. The new processor from Nvidia contains 4 Cortex-A15 CPU cores, and the energy-saving core from the Tegra 3 makes its return. The Tegra 4 has 72 GPU cores, six times the amount of the Tegra 3. It is compatible with the NEON instruction set and contains hardware-based encoders and decoders for video up to 1440p. The chip supports screens with a maximum resolution of 2560x1600 pixels, with a maximum refresh rate of 24 fps. In a resolution of 1920x1080 it can run four screens with 120 fps, which should benefit 3D gaming.

The new processor is very powerful, and according to Nvidia it should be twice as fast as the Exynos 5250 from the Samsung / Google Nexus 10, currently the fastest Android processor. In a demonstration Nvidia showed that opening 25 websites with the new Tegra 4 took 27 seconds, whereas the Nexus 10 needed 50 seconds for the same operation.

The Tegra 4 also has some interesting features for photography. Together with the powerful processor technology, the so-called ‘Nvidia Computational Photographic Engine’ should make it possible to take better photos in situations with less light. You can take HDR photos in rapid succession with Tegra 4.

Instead of the 2 seconds it takes current digital camera architecture for combining an HDR photo, it will only takes 0.2 seconds with the Tegra 4. This opens up all kinds of possibilities, such as shooting video in HDR or taking photos very quickly during sporting events.

The combination of powerful processor technology with photography creates interesting new potential applications.

Nvidia also introduced the I500 Soft Modem, a modem processor that functions as 3G and 4G modem but is much smaller than a  traditional modem. That's because the chip doesn't have lots of permanent components like a conventional modem chip, but is programmable like a GPU or CPU in a PC. The I500 Soft Modem has 8 ‘cores’ and is about 40 smaller than a traditional modem.

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