NVIDIA first revealed their Tegra 3 (Project Kal-El) chip back in early 2011 and we expected to see Tegra 4 (Project Wayne) sometime in 2012, but their yearly cadence was pushed back for unknown reasons. Now it appears that NVIDIA is close to announcing Tegra 4 as a leaked slide for Project Wayne has surfaced on the Chinese blog ChipHell.
According to the leaked document, Tegra 4 will feature NVIDIA’s patented 4-PLUS-1 architecture, with four high performance Cortex-A15 CPU cores and a fifth battery saver core. Graphics will be improved with a 72-core GPU that is 20x faster than Tegra 2 and 6x faster than Tegra 3. The chip will use a 28nm HPL process (low-power high-K metal gate), so we expect it will manufactured by TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.).
Other details of Tegra 4 include dual channel memory, full 1440p video encode/decode, support for 2560×1600 (24b) displays, advanced hardware accelerated security, super speed imaging, and some kind of support for 4K video.
The most recent roadmap from NVIDIA said Wayne would be introduced at the end of 2012, but now we think Tegra 4 will make its debut at the upcoming CES or MWC shows in early 2013. NVIDIA is also expected to announce a mainstream chip called Grey that features their integrated Icera modem.
If Tegra 4 is revealed in Q1 2013, we expect it would start appearing in mobile devices by Q3 2013 or possibly sooner. We have already seen mobile chips that feature dual-core Cortex-A15s (like the Exynos 5 in the Nexus 10), but Tegra 4 would be the first mobile chip with five Cortex-A15 cores (4-PLUS-1). This should make it the fastest mobile processor, but we will have to wait and see what parts Qualcomm and Samsung introduce next year.
Tegra 3 has already been eclipsed by faster chips, yet it still offers the best gaming experience on Android tablets. With it’s new 72-core GPU in Tegra 4, we would expect NVIDIA will maintain its leadership position in mobile gaming.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer for the official details. CES 2013 is just a couple of weeks away and we have several guys who will be at NVIDIA’s press conference. Last year at CES, NVIDIA revealed the ASUS Memo 370t tablet, which became the Nexus 7, and we expect they will have some exciting announcements for 2013.
Several OEMs are already rumored to be working on Android devices powered by Tegra 4, but I don’t think we will see these products on sale for another six months. We only had one smartphone in the US powered by Tegra 3, the AT&T HTC One X+, but I expect next year will be a different story.
Which OEM would you like to see adopt Tegra 4 for an Android smartphone or tablet?