Dual-Core? Psh, NVIDIA’s Already Talking Quad-Core for Smartphones



If you thought mobile processing technology was already ridiculous, NVIDIA’s got a bone to pick with you. As their Tegra 2 makes its way into devices of all shapes and sizes starting yesterday (figuratively), they’re already looking toward the future to Quad-Core. In a whitepaper about mobile multi-core processors, NVIDIA confessed to Tegra 3 being nearly-finished and Tegra 4 currently being developed.

“Every single year, there will be a new Tegra,” says CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. That doesn’t surprise me at all, but what does surprise me is how big of a step they’ll be taking with each release. Per the whitepaper, “Dual-core processors will be the standard in 2011, and quad-core is coming in the near future.”

“In the near future” could mean anything in technology, but just as slow as some innovators are, there is an equal amount that are ridiculously fast. I bet NVIDIA wants to be the latter going forward and I can’t imagine we’ll go more than a year before we hear about quad-core Android devices from the world’s top manufacturers. Let’s just hope battery technology will be able to keep up.

[NVIDIA via A&M]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. ~_~ jeezz!! if anyone doubts, android phones are defiantly going to be riding this wave of technological mobile break through for many many years

  2. And everyone also knows Android phones have subpar battery life (I have an Incredible, my second Android). Battery tech is key.

  3. I don’t think this is specifically for phones, but rather for settop boxes and tablets.

  4. having two batteries at all times with an android phone helps. im a nexus one owner and have two batteries, i go through my day with no troubles with excessive surfing, tweeting, checking email, texting, messaging and voice calls.

  5. exactly like bubba said, what good are these dual-quad core in smartphones if you cant use them without being tethered to a wall outlet

  6. Nvidia needs to stfu until they actually get some android devices on the market. the ones that are out now are horrible.

  7. @Matthew That is like saying intel needs to get some PCs on the market.

  8. what the above people don’t realize is that this new tech has managed to improve battery life. the Incredible, as well as quite a few HTC devices, are running on an 65nm chip. it’s power hungry and it of course gets warmer. the newer chips from HTC specifically will be 45nm ones. i believe the Desire Z/Merge/myTouchHD/etc etc are running the 45nm chips, as are newer Samsung devices and i also believe Motorola is. going forward, though, the dual core processors are even better with battery life partially due to the fact that it can complete a process much faster. so no, it’s not battery tech, it’s the chip tech. and with each release, it’s getting better and better.

  9. yes, the processors are becoming more power efficient even as they go multi-core, but battery tech hasn’t progressed significantly in … well … still thinking … too long to remember.

    It would be nice to have all this power and have the battery last 2-3 days on moderate usage compared to the 1 day (max) you get with the current phones out there.

  10. The thing which is even sad’er than battery life is that android arent really getting good decent devs which are needed to make great apps and games which will need to use these new chips.
    Cmon guys lets face it. Android are definitely not getting the attension from serious games developers. Google needs to act now and protect the devs!

  11. I guess it’s not really much of a surprise hearing this from nVidia seeing as how they manage to cram so many processing elements into their GPU’s. I have run F@H on a quad core CPU rig and F@H optimized for nVidia GPU’s on a 8800 GTS and the single GTS smoked the performance of the quad cores. Like others have mentioned, it’s not just about having a large battery, but how efficient the CPU is per clock cycle; less clock cycles required to complete a task, less battery drain.
    *Facepalm* @ Matthew

  12. @Matthew uhhhhhhhh I have the G-Tablet with Tegra2 and battery life is insane. I went 36 hours without having the charge it, with heavy heavy use. Once loaded with a custom ROM and using the latest Tegra2 drivers this thing is a BEAST!! Nvidia is doing just fine if you ask me….

  13. Past 4 cores there is not much use due to memory bottle-necking.

  14. Do we really need quad core on phones? How are you going to cool it? In fact, do we really need dual core on phones? How much processing/game playing are people really doing on 3 inch screens? Now, as tablets progress and gradually become the replacement for netbooks, these processors will be of use. And, I think the slow progression of battery technology is becoming a road block. Even though these new processors are more efficient, if you really need and use dual and quad core processors you will use a lot of juice.

  15. So in two years I’ll be playing Call of Duty Black Ops on my smartphone.

  16. The question is whether or not they will continue to run high clock speeds.

    For a given chip tech, doubling the speed results in 4x the power consumption. Triple the speed, 9x the power consumption. 1/4 the speed = 1/16 the power consumption.

    If they were to put 4 cores on it, but only run it at 600 MHz, each core would consume about 1/4 the power of one running at 1.2 GHz. With 4 cores, you’d be at the same power consumption as a single 1.2 GHz core, but roughly double the aggregate performance.

    Has anyone considered that option?

  17. But will it play Crysis?

    But will it play Crysis with the graphics and physics cranked to max?

    no it wont

  18. Definitely need for battery tech to catch up. Maybe one of the large phone manufacturers will acquire some battery tech company to develop some battery tech break throughs – would pay off nicely if some came out of it. Android phone with 40+ hrs battery life would be awesome :D

  19. People don’t realize that more cores equals less power used so actually it would be more efficient battery wise than a single core. NVDIA just pointed out in a previous article this fact.

  20. @MVTom

    If you want to play that do we rally need it game I suggest trading in any car or other mode of transport besides your feet in. Oh and lets not forget we all don’t need houses nor do we truly need touch screen phones. We don’t need texting no what do we really need besides bread water fire and a cave? Point is there will be alot of things we don’t need doesn’t mean its wrong to want it. a quad core cell phone would probably run circles around game consoles. Its all about eliminating the need for many devices. Soon all things will be done through one device.

  21. @MVTom

    If you haven’t noticed most Androids coming out are around the 4 inch mark give or take a few inches.

  22. Battery technology is going nowhere fast and everyone knows that except you cookies.

    The reason they can double the cores is because they’re using a manufacturing process that uses about half the power. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF MOORE’S LAW JESUS CHRIST IN A HANDBASKET

  23. Stretch that logo!

  24. 2FR35H: If it’s take a few inches from a 4-inch screen it’s not going to be a pleasant experience!

  25. Our we talking about smart phones or human anatomy? , It’s already possible to put projectors in phones that will display on a larger wall or screen. Many of the top end devices are between 4-4.3 inches. I believe its more of a test run for device manufacturers as you want to have something that is still a phone but smaller than a tablet. How big is to big for a phone? As far as chip sets are concerned, advancements are showing improved battery life. And the smaller chip sets do use less power. Tech will always evolve. In 10 years we’ll look back on smart phones just like we compare the PS3 to Atari. There are still people out there that cant give up centipede but myself I prefer the most enjoyable experience. And technology upgrades give me that experience.

  26. I think that battery life will improve with quad-core processors, if, that is, mobile operating systems can dedicate tasks and threads well enough. If you have read the whitepaper (you should, it’s pretty interesting), than you would realize that power efficiency is reliant on the frequency and the square of the voltage. Meaning, on 4 cores, with each of the cores doing a quarter of the work, the voltage would be a quarter. Now, square that quarter and multiply it by 4 (because of 4 cores) and you actually see an answer below 1 (meaning lower power consumed). So actually power consumption could decrease.
    Add on the extra performance, and that would really be great. I mean, we all want faster phones with more battery, don’t we?

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