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NVIDIA says Tegra 3 is a 'PC-class CPU,' has screenshots to prove it

Sharif Sakr
November 9, 2011
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Asus can't be absorbing all those limelight photons today. Not when its freshly detailed Transformer Prime depends so heavily on NVIDIA's special sauce. Admittedly, we already know a lot about Tegra 3 from its Kal-El days, but we haven't seen much in the way of real-world performance claims. Until now, that is. Below you'll see newly released screenshots of Android games that have been souped-up to capitalize on the imminent Asus Eee Pad as well as other Tegra 3-powered devices -- including smartphones -- that are expected early next year. NVIDIA has also put out slides containing in-house benchmarks and head-to-head comparisons with the Tegra 2, which you'll find right after the break.

Gallery: Tegra 3 game screenshots | 8 Photos




NVIDIA claims its latest chip is fives times faster than Tegra 2 overall, four times faster for web browsing, three times faster for graphics thanks to its 12-core GeForce GPU. This GPU can also handle 3D, which the Transformer Prime can then output to a bigger screen via HDMI.

In terms of CPU-intensive tasks, we're 'only' looking at a doubling of Tegra 2 performance. Nevertheless, it's a CPU comparison with Intel's Core 2 Duo T7200 processor that NVIDIA uses as evidence for its claim that Tegra 3 is the first "PC-class processor for truly mobile devices."

At the same time, Tegra 3 draws less power than its predecessor. This is largely thanks to a fifth "companion core" that kicks into gear for certain tasks, leaving the four more hungry cores switched off, as well as a smart 40nm process that employs two different classes of silicon -- one more suited to low-voltage activity, and one for the more energetic stuff. As a result, the Asus Transformer Prime is claimed to run 1080p video (which runs entirely off the single companion core) for a full twelve hours.


In terms of real-world impact, the Tegra 3 ought to allow game and app developer to incorporate all manner of visual wizardry into their products. The screenshot below shows how a game called Shadowgun benefits from realistic damage and water effects thanks to the faster processor.

Gallery: NVIDIA Tegra 3 slides | 12 Photos





One last slide, showing how the designers behind RipTide added water splashes and motion blur to increase the game's sense of speed. Check out the slide gallery above for more examples at a better res.










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