Better battery life, despite four cores
Now that NVIDIA has once again raised the bar (first with Tegra 2) that question is what really happens to the battery time? According to NVIDIA it has solved this well, and thanks to its vSMP technology Tegra 3 will draw less power than Tegra 2.
This is the case with many smartphones. When they are in the pocket with black screens there is still a lot of things going on in the background. This is a good example of when NVIDIA’s vSMP technology really pays off as the companion core at 500 MHz can handle all background operations to keep apps and the operating system running, instead of a energy-hungry processor core at 1 GHz+.
Depending on the task Tegra 3 will draw less power than Tegra 2. According to NVIDIA there is really no situation when Tegra 3 will draw more energy than Tegra 2. The savings varies from 14 to 61 percentage and this is thanks to vSMP. The fact that Tegra 3 is a lot faster than Tegra 2 also helps, even if it draws more energy under full load it doesn’t need as long to complete the task. Shorter load times means the cores can go into idle, or operate at lower clock frequencies and lower voltage.
Here it has compared Tegra 3, with Texas Instruments OMAP4 and Qualcomm 8660. The application Coremark that we discused before puts Tegra 3 on an energy consumption of 579 mW, while competitors land at 1501 and 1453 mW respectively. OMAP4 scores 5673, Qualcomm 8660 gets 5690, while Tegra 3 that in this case runs four cores at only 480 MHz gets 5589 points.
Competing solutions have peaked long ago, in the normalized Coremark test. When set free Tegra 3 runs ahead and gets 11667 Coremark points, with the four cores at 1.3 GHz. Energy consumption is 1261 mW, and not around 1500 mW like competing solutions. Since this is NVIDIA’s own measurements you shoud consider the above with a pinch of salt.
The first design win for Tegra 3 is ASUS Transformer Prime. While we can’t reveal that much about it at this moment, it will have a battery time of 12 hours when playing 720p material according to NVIDIA, with the screen lowered to 60 nits. This is an improvement of 2.5 hours over ASUS Transformer.