Nov 18 AT 3:03 PM Taylor Wimberly 9 Comments

Tegra 3 saves more power than it consumes, DIDIM technology reduces backlight power by 40%


Can a more power efficient mobile processor really extend battery life that much? Even if a next-generation processor like Tegra 3 consumes 61% less power than its predecessor, we know by now that the major source of power consumption in any mobile device is the display technology.

Yesterday at the UBS Global Technology and Services Conference, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang detailed a new technology in Tegra 3 that can actually reduce backlight power by 40%. That translates into longer batter life, like 14 hours of video playback on an Android tablet.

The technology is called DIDIM and Jen-Hsun described how it works. “It’s the ability to per pixel, per frame, per scene to modulate the backlight so quickly that we over a long period of time, reduce the amount of backlight intensity and backlight energy by nearly half. We save as much power in the backlight without changing the visual fidelity at all to save, essentially, the entire power used by our chip.” NVIDIA says your eyes see the same color temperature, so you can’t tell the difference.

In full active mode, the Tegra 3 processor consumes 1-2 watts. A typical display consumes 3-6 watts depending on the brightness, so DIDIM technology actually allows a device to save more power than the Tegra 3 processor consumes.

Overall, we are glad to see NVIDIA continue to focus on improving the battery life of mobile devices. This new DIDIM technology in addition to the stealth 5th-core should offer some of the best battery life we have seen on any Android devices to date. We were never told about DIDIM in any of our Tegra 3 briefings, so I wonder what other surprises NVIDIA has packed inside their quad-core processor.

Source: NVIDIA

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Nathan

    sweet, can I play with a tegra 3 tablet for two days straight with out recharging if this keeps up =)

  • Nick Gray

    I know they are using a tablet for this example, but I think most of us would notice this benefit a lot more on handsets. It’s nice to see tablets last longer, but I really want a phone that will let through an entire day without me worrying about the battery.

    • metafor

      It’s far more important in tablets because the display on a tablet is so large and power-consuming compared to the processor.

      If you can cut a tablet display’s power by 50%, that can be huge. Comparatively, a smartphone’s display isn’t as power-hungry and so, the overall benefit is less noticeable.

      Also, this only works for LCD’s (which have backlights). You can’t use this trick for AMOLED’s since they have no backlight to begin with.

  • zFrank

    Per pixel eh? That could give you the blackest blacks you could ask for. I like it !

  • Martjn2

    If tegra 3 can increase this amount of battery time I wonder what next generations 28nm quad-chips can do :p

  • me

    can this be applied to tegra 2 too?

  • pritams

    can’t wait………..

  • Josh

    I agree with Nick Gray above although my s3 is currently giving me decent mileage I don’t expect to maintain it forever.

    Regards Joshua