NVIDIA officially unveils Tegra 4: offers quad-core Cortex A15, 72 GPU cores, LTE support

One new SoC per year? That's what NVIDIA pledged back in the fall of 2010 and today at its CES 2013 presser, it delivered with the Tegra 4's official unveiling. The chip, which retains the same 4-plus-1 arrangement of its predecessor, arrives with a whopping 72 GeForce GPU cores -- effectively offering six times the Tegra 3's visual output and is based on the 28nm process. It also is the first quad-core processor with Cortex A15 cores on-board, and offers compatibility with LTE networks through an optional chip. NVIDIA claims this piece of silicon is the world's fastest mobile processor, and showed a demonstration in which a Tegra 4 went head-to-head against a Nexus 10 in loading websites (you can guess which one won).

The Tegra 4 also introduces new computational photography architecture, which adds a new engine to drive the image processing and significantly improve the amount of time it takes to calculate the necessary mathematics 10 times faster than current platforms. To show off its power, NVIDIA demonstrated HDR rendering on live video. The chip is also capable of implementing HDR in burst shots and with LED flash. The idea, NVIDIA says, is to eventually make our mobile cameras more powerful than DSLRs, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.

The Tegra 4 will also enable 4K ultra high-definition video support, as well as PRISM 2 display tech that claims to reduce the power used by the backlight. Doing so will result in a 45 percent decrease in power consumption when compared to Tegra 3.

Announced alongside the Tegra 4 was the i500 Soft Modem, which is essentially a reprogrammable baseband solution that is capable of utilizing a wide variety of networks. The chip, which is an optional addendum to the Tegra 4 platform to enable LTE support, is able to process 1.2 trillion operations per second and is 40 percent the size of a conventional baseband chip.

We're still waiting to hear about availability for the Tegra 4, but enjoy the press release and above photo gallery in the meantime.

NVIDIA officially unveils Tegra 4 offers quadcore Cortex A15, 72 GPU cores, LTE support

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Joseph Volpe contributed to this report.

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NVIDIA Introduces World's Fastest Mobile Processor

Tegra 4 Features 72 Custom GPU Cores, Quad-Core Cortex-A15 CPU for Superb Performance and Efficiency; LTE Enabled with Optional Chipset

LAS VEGAS-CES-Jan. 6, 2013-NVIDIA today introduced NVIDIA® Tegra® 4 , the world's fastest mobile processor, with record-setting performance and battery life to flawlessly power smartphones and tablets, gaming devices, auto infotainment and navigation systems, and PCs.

Tegra 4 offers exceptional graphics processing, with lightning-fast web browsing, stunning visuals and new camera capabilities through computational photography.

Previously codenamed "Wayne," Tegra 4 features 72 custom NVIDIA GeForce™ GPU cores – or six times the GPU horsepower of Tegra 3 – which deliver more realistic gaming experiences and higher resolution displays. It includes the first quad-core application of ARM's most advanced CPU core, the Cortex-A15, which delivers 2.6x faster web browsing and breakthrough performance for apps.

Tegra 4 also enables worldwide 4G LTE voice and data support through an optional chipset, the fifth-generation NVIDIA Icera® i500 processor. More efficient and 40 percent the size of conventional modems, i500 delivers four times the processing capability of its predecessor.

"Tegra 4 provides enormous processing power and efficiency to power smartphones and tablets, gaming devices, auto systems and PCs," said Phil Carmack, senior vice president of the Tegra business at NVIDIA. "Its new capabilities, particularly in the area of computational photography, will help improve a whole range of existing products and lead to the creation of exciting new ones."

Computational Photography Capability
Among the Tegra 4 processor's breakthroughs is its Computational Photography Architecture, which automatically delivers high dynamic range (HDR) photos and video by fusing together the processing power of the GPU, CPU and the camera's image-signal processor.

Its HDR capability captures images, including those taken with a flash, the way they are seen by the human eye – with detail in both bright and dark areas.

Unprecedented Power Efficiency
Designed for maximum energy efficiency, Tegra 4 includes a second-generation battery saver core for low power during standard use, and PRISM 2 Display technology to reduce backlight power while delivering superior visuals.

Tegra 4 consumes up to 45 percent less power than its predecessor, Tegra 3, in common use cases. And it enables up to 14 hours of HD video playback on phones.

Tegra 4 Key Features
· - GeForce GPU with 72 custom cores
· - Quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, plus a 2nd Generation Battery Saver Core
· - Computational Photography Architecture
· - LTE capability with optional Icera i500 chipset
· - 4K ultra-high-def video support