Nvidia has decided to address the need for multi-core processing in our mobile phones with the Tegra 2, much like most personal computers did just half a decade ago. Everyone loves to call their smartphones mini computers that fit right in their pockets, and that’s basically what they are. We can view videos, play 3D games, browse the web and send and receive e-mails from a gadget that fits right in the palm of our hands. What our smartphones can do now was unimaginable just a few years ago.
As screen resolutions and graphics became more advanced, and the number of tasks our smartphones can perform has increased, so has the processing power of their CPUs. We’ve gone from somewhere around 412MHz processors like the original iPhone had, to 1GHz as we see in a great deal of smartphones today. But as we’ve learned from computers, boosting the processing speed and capabilities of a single core processor can only go so far before you start running into heat and power consumption limitations.
Eventually, the capabilities of our smartphones may exceed what the current crop of mobile processors can offer, hence the need for multi-core processors like the Nvidia Tegra 2. Tasks can be shared between the different cores making the management of any tasks more efficient than a single core.
The Tegra 2 dual-core processor is a version of the ARM Cortex A9 MPcore, and Nvidia claims that it delivers double the performance of the mobile processors out in the market. Nvidia says:
The Symmetric Multiprocessing, out of order execution, and superior branch prediction features of the optimized ARM cores help deliver very fast Web page load times, snappy webpage rendering, and a silky smooth user interaction experience.
But we won’t just see faster load times and better rendering, we’ll also experience less processor and battery heat and longer battery life from our smartphones. Here are additional benefits to dual-core processing:
- Faster Web page load times
- Lower power consumption and higher performance per watt
- Higher quality game play experience for advanced console-style mobile game
- Highly responsive and smoother UIs (user interfaces)
- ??Faster multitasking
Technology has been moving at a ridiculously fast pace, and one area of tech we’ve been hoping to see catch up is battery technology. As our gadgets do more and consumer more power, batteries seem to be improving at a snail’s pace. So far, getting the most out of the battery has been up to good user management and optimized software, but with dual-core processors we could see a pretty dramatic change in battery life.
A common misconception is that the NVIDIA Tegra dual core CPU architecture consumes more power than competing single core CPU solutions and causes significant reduction in battery life. On the contrary, due to SMP and intelligent power management algorithms, the Tegra solution is more power efficient and delivers higher performance per watt than single core processors.
For most of you, I don’t need to go on and on about the benefits of multi-core processing and what it means for our mobile devices, but I am getting excited at the thought that these bad boys will be making their way into our smartphones very soon. Until then, we can drool over the benchmarks and statistics provided by Nvidia in its recently published white paper in the link below.