NVIDIA: Tegra 2 outperforms Qualcomm dual-core by 10-15%

NVIDIA says Tegra 2 outperforms dual-core Qualcomm
NVIDIA says Tegra 2 outperforms dual-core Qualcomm

The introduction of the EVO 3D was the first glasses-free 3D phone from Sprint but it also included the first dual-core processor from industry giant Qualcomm and it is really pushing the fact that is uses an asynchronous architecture where each core can run at independent frequencies to conserve of battery life. NVIDIA has the only dual-core mobile processor actually out on the market and it said that it considered an asynchronous architecture but the hits to performance weren’t worth the extra juice.

NVIDIA said there are a few reasons why it chose to not go with an asynchronous architecture and the performance issue was the main one. The company said that you’re looking at a 10-15% performance hit by going to the asynchronous architecture, essentially saying that the Tegra 2 can outperform Qualcomm’s latest dual-core processor.

This performance drop is about cache coherency, as the asynchronous architecture can lead to some clock cycle delays in each core. Additionally, the operating systems like Android and many apps aren’t set up for an asynchronous architecture.

I spoke with Leon Farasati, senior product manager at Qualcomm, and he said that NVIDIA is just spreading some FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt). He said that the two 1.5 GHz cores are faster than the 1 GHz cores on the Tegra 2 and that some of NVDIA’s performance measurements have been tailored to make its products look better.

Farasati said that publications and blogs like IntoMobile will be receiving developer units of its dual-core processor in order to properly benchmark these. He said that some may be surprised to see Qualcomm’s GPU outperforming the Tegra 2.

The argument could also be made that Qualcomm when with this setup in order to save on power, as it doesn’t matter how cool your smartphone is if you don’t have juice. In my review of the Tegra 2-packing Motorola Atrix 4G, I got a solid 7-8 hours out of the device with heavy usage. That’s about all you can expect out of a modern smartphone but maybe the EVO 3D will surprise us.

As an upstart in the mobile industry, NVIDIA is moving at a lightning-fast pace. The company is already working on a quad-core processor called Kal-El and this should be in a retail product as early as August.

I asked the company if it felt like it may be moving too fast – the dual-core Tegra 2 products are really just starting to hit the market – but NVIDIA is used to a different pace and it plans to have a new version of Tegra out each year.

I’m happy about that because I love to hear the trash talking between Qualcomm and NVDIA and, more importantly, the competition between the two will likely lead to better products for us.

  • Honeycomb_FTW

    unless someone develops a truly viable and independent way to test chips on the same hardware & software platform then they can say wall they want but it doesn’t matter. What matters is how the device runs, and no doubt the consumer will see 1.5GHz and better than 1GHz even if the devices run identical.

  • Guest

    Ummm….I think you mean benchmark not bookmark.

  • JeffreyHF

    So I missed reading Nvidia’s boast as to when they will integrate cutting edge baseband functions (covering all standards and frequencies), GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi functions on their apps processors, let alone NFC. How does the need to add a number of communications chips impact the bill of materials, performance, and price?

  • when hasn’t nvidia lied????? using benchmarks just to make their products look good.. i prefer qualcomm or ti.. you know it is a realiable product.. and the gpus are better.. check lg 3d phone (omap 4) and compare it with tegra 2… nvidia moving fast.. wow.. son mas tortugas q otra cosa..

    • oh my god, tegra 2 is year and half old and outadated by nVidia’s standards – but very much new and very hard to beat by ti, etc. PowerVR is kickazz tho. Bring on the competition – as everyone knows, better for us !

  • Why does not anybody compare themselves with the 800 pound gorrila, the Apple A5?

    • because it’s a year late, as tegra 2 is a year and a half old – its benchmarks arent that segnifficant and worst and most important of all, it can only be used in krapy apple products! if A5 is gorilla, then tegra 3 is godzilla ! cheers!

  • Bcarlson

    Thanks for this article, Marin. There is a lot of noise out there right. It’s good to see articles that break down some details. Device benchmarks will counter perceptions and bring out the truth in the end. As @Alfredo_Raul_H mentioned, the LG Optimus 3D has TI’s OMAP 4 processor inside. You might be interested in AnandTech’s recent benchmarks (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4179/ti-omap4-and-lg-optimus-3d-tested) comparing many of the latest products (although unfortunately the MSM8660 was not available yet). Anand mentioned the OMAP4430 processor “may be the best performer out of them all.” – Brian Carlson – TI OMAP Product Line Manager

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