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CES 2013: Nvidia Launches Tegra 4 – World’s ‘Fastest Mobile Processor’

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Tegra 4 should make for some pretty powerful smartphones and tablets

Nvidia has launched what it claims is the fastest mobile processor in the world, as it introduced the Tegra 4 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The chip combines a custom GeForce GPU with 72 cores, with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU.  It also supports 4G, as long as devices come with the Nvidia Icera i500 processor chipset.

Nvidia-Project-Shield Tegra 4

Tegra 4 incoming

Nvidia claimed Tegra 4 also allows for “high dynamic range” (HDR) photos and video, which appear “as they are seen by the human eye”. It does this by fusing the power of the GPU, CPU and a camera’s image-signal processor, according to the chip maker.

HDR typically works by taking pictures at different exposure levels and crafting them together to get more detail from light or dark areas. Non-HDR images are shot at a single exposure level and so miss out on detail, depending on where light is emanating from as a picture is taken.

Tegra 4 also includes a second-generation battery saver core for low power during standard use, Nvidia said, claiming it allowed for 14 hours of HD video playback on smartphones.

“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.”

Tegra 4 will feature in Nvidia’s first ever handheld gaming console, Project Shield (pictured), which will run the Android OS, but will be able to play PC titles too. Some are in doubt about how sagacious Nvidia is being in entering this new field, where traditional gaming players such as Nintendo and Sony dominate, whilst gaming is increasingly done over smartphones rather than bespoke consoles.

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