Nvidia Announces the Tegra 4 CPU – Makes Me Regret Getting a Nexus 7


I don't know about anyone else but Nvidia stunned me last night with the launch of their latest system-on-a-chip, the Tegra 4 CPU, at their CES 2013 press event. (I had missed the news about the Tegra 4 leaks.)

Rather than add more features and cores in yet another upgrade to the 14 month old Tegra 3 chip, Nvidia instead showed off a new chip with a faster CPU clock speed (1.9GHz vs 1.6GHz) as well as up to 72 GPU cores, not the 12 single GPU core found in the Tegra 3. The Tegra 4 is also using the new Cortex A-15 in those 4 CPU cores, not the Cortex-A9 found in the Tegra 3, and Nvidia is promising that the Cortex-A15 along will offer up to 2.6 times the ability of their earlier chip.

That's cool and all, but the important news today is the 72 GPU cores. That's far more than I could conceive of using myself, but I bt I can sum up Nvidia's design concept in 3 words:

Retina Displays - plural.

project_shield_v2b[1]While the Tegra 4 is being used to run Project Shield, Nvidia's new 5" gaming handheld, I think the extra cores were inspired by a device with a much larger screen.

When "the new iPad" launched last Spring it had a quad-core GPU chip, and it likely needed the extra processing power to support the 4 times as many pixels found in Retina Display. Nvidia is likely planning on offering the Tegra 4 chip to tablet and smartphone makers so they can offer specs which beat the latest generation iPad. Or at least they hope it will be better than the specs which Apple may or may not announce in the next few months.

In any case, the difference between the top and bottom of the market increased significantly today. And while I'm still not sure that anyone will actually find a need for all that extra power (not unless someone releases a Retina Display equipped TV), it's still good to have the option. It's also fun just to think about the possibilities.

Update: Vizio had a Tegra 4 tablet on display. It couldn't actually do much but Gizmodo still believed it was fast.

P.S. I do actually have a Nexus 7 in the mail; it was an impulse purchase in an after Christmas sale. It's probably going back.

About Nate Hoffelder (11479 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

16 Comments on Nvidia Announces the Tegra 4 CPU – Makes Me Regret Getting a Nexus 7

  1. I doubt you’ll get much in a way of battery life out of it though. Performance isn’t everything there is to mobile parts.

    Also, Nexus 7 is great device. Loving mine to bits.

  2. Well.. until the first really “cool” devices are published with this thing, there’s no need to brag over the old stuff. The Nexus 7 is still a really decent and neat device.

    I had one for a month before Christmas to set up for my fiancée’s brother and if i didn’t have an iPad 3 i would totally get a Nexus now. I was surprised by how good Android devices got since i last used one in the Android 2.3 era (not counting testing Android 3 tablets at the local media store, but it is not the same as having a device at home for several days).

    And for just under 200 bucks, it wins in a lot of categories.
    …and well… are there any games that actually use the full potential of the Tegra3 except the few demo highlights that come with every product launch?

  3. I know those impulse purchases, almost bought a PS Vita before Christmas and then cancelled it right after clicking on buy … because…. well, i didn’t really need it 😉

  4. Release dates? Price points? Name of tablet manufacturer?

    • Vizio is already showing a 10.1″ Android tablet based on Tegra 4. And let’s not forget that Windows RT can use Tegra 4 too.

    • Eventually, $200 to $500, and bunches.

      • Thanks. I guess time line is the great important thing. When there are actual dates for devices for sale, that’s when I get psyched.

        Although I was one of the people who bought ipad on the first day it came out, now I generally buy a device only when it’s a year old and prices have down on it. By the time tablets with the Tegra chip come out, I would imagine used Nexus 7 will be selling in the low 100s — that’s what I’m REALLY waiting for. For the reading function specifically, how will better chips improve things? Yes, for playing games that’s fine and multimedia support is fine (but the Nook tablet can already play youtube and music and Netflix, what else is new?). This sounds more interesting to the gaming crowd than the reading crowd.

        I guess the question depends on how quickly software will support the pie-in-the-sky functions of epub3.

  5. Yeah, regret buying a Nexus 7 since it costs sooooooooo much. That 200-250 is going to make any non person living in poverty start to live in poverty….

    I like this new Tegra chip and will gladly upgrade my Nexus 7 later this year if a new Nexus 7 comes out with it.

  6. I am an avid gamer and there are many games that use the tegra 3. Even if a game isnt stressing the chip its using it to its best advantages. GTA looks better on my nexus then it ever did on my ps2, games from madfinger also use the tegra to its full potential. Deadzone is an awesome third person shooter and everybody ive showed it to is pretty amazed that its running on a tablet. The screen on my nexus 7 is near perfect. Only thing i would change is the black level and maybe a tweak on saturation. I would prefer the a similar screen and larger battery on the next version of the nexus 7. I just think upgrading both to have a minimal improvement in battery life is silly when the screen it has now is great. I want 20hrs of battery.
    Also i

  7. check ur facts. tegra 3 had 12 core gpu and tegra 4 got it to 72 cores thats six times of tegra 3. how come ur blog got into top results on google

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