Nvidia shouts about Tegra 3

After much waiting, Nvidia has released its long-anticipated Tegra 3 processor, which it is billing as the world’s first quad-core chip for mobile devices.

According to CNET, the quad-core ARM A9-based processor has a 12-core GeForce graphics unit. The marketing spiel says the Tegra 3 has three times the performance of its previous dual-core ancestor and is better at multitasking and web browsing. It can also provide a smoother app performance.

Nvidia has already got the chip under the bonnet of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime which is a high-end version of Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer tablet.  

Nvidia and Asus promise the Tegra 3 won’t suck out too much power. Asus claims that its keyboardless netbook will watch up to 12 hours of HD video using Tegra 3.

As we have written before, Nvidia managed to save the power by using a Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing, or vSMP for short which kicks in when the tablet is not doing much.

The four main processors are only used when peak performance is required. When viewing a static web page, or sitting idle, the Tegra 3’s four primary processing cores shut off completely.

Asus’s Prime is targeted at the premium end of the tablet market, with the 32GB version starting at $500, and an optional keyboard dock costing another $150. It should be in the shops around the new year.