Nvidia CEO Less-Than-Thrilled With Current Tegra 2 Uptake - HotHardware
Nvidia CEO Less-Than-Thrilled With Current Tegra 2 Uptake

Nvidia CEO Less-Than-Thrilled With Current Tegra 2 Uptake

Nvidia's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has given his opinion on the Tegra 2 products currently for sale, and he's not particularly pleased. Glancing at the market, it's hard to blame him. Motorola's Xoom—easily the highest-profile Tegra 2 tablet launch thus far—launched without Flash support, a functional microSD slot, or support for Verizon's 4G LTE network; early adopters had to ship the unit back to Motorola for appropriate hardware to be installed.

Initial reviews noted that both the apps and operating system were unstable, a problem Google has since blamed on the Xoom's rushed launch. The unit's price has also been problematic. Huang referred to all these points, noting to CNET that ""It's a point of sales problem. It's an expertise at retail problem. It's a marketing problem to consumers. It is a price point problem...The baseline configuration included 3G when it shouldn't have. "Tablets should have a Wi-Fi configuration and be more affordable."

Our own review of the Xoom, published here, was generally positive, but noted that microSD slot still isn't enabled as of early May. The Xoom is evolving, but still isn't finished.  

It's been a hectic few months for Nvidia—Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 originally used the company's Tegra 2, right up to the point when the iPad 2 sent company execs sprinting for the drawing board. While the original GT 10.1 (now known as the 10.1V) still features Tegra 2, the 'new' Galaxy Tab 10.1 only refers to a dual-core 1GHz CPU. We're betting that Samsung's own Exynos 4210 SoC powers the graphics of the updated Tab 10.1, just as it powers the Galaxy S II in certain markets.


Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1.  Slimmer chassis, high performance—but Tegra 2 powered?


One point in Nvidia's favor is that none of the issues surrounding Honeycomb and the latest run of Tablets Made By Companies Who Aren't Apple point to a problem with Tegra 2. Unfortunately, the product's strongest points have been blurred by a rogue's gallery of problems. If the Xoom is an example of a poorly-positioned product rushed out the door, the Atrix 4G is a solid phone with an insanely priced feature.

When the Atrix debuted, all eyes were on the phone's ability to meld seamlessly with a dock that gave it an 11.6" screen at 1366x768, a nearly full-size keyboard and trackpad, and a slick 'webtop' interface. Motorola, realizing they had a real winner, apparently felt it had no choice but to kill the product in favor of more Razr knockoffs. The dock—2.4lbs of molded plastic—sells for $300 when bundled with the phone, $500 if purchased separately. Worse, the label of "expensive" inevitably bleeds back over to the phone itself—the same linkage that made the Atrix seem unique at debut also makes the phone appear expensive, even if the phone sans dock is reasonably priced.

All things considered, we're disappointed with the first iteration of Tegra 2 tablets as well. Virtually all of the problems, from Honeycomb's instability, to a dearth of software, are best categorized as growing pains—issues we're confident will be resolved as manufacturers gain a better sense of the product features and price points consumers prefer.
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I think price has been one of the biggest barriers. The Asus Transformer is a step in the right direction - it's a lower-priced tab that still has really great functionality.

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Also the fact that the Tegra 2 is one of the slowest A9 designs CPU wise. Granted the range is only a couple of % at a given clock speed in most applications, but you gets what your gets.

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Infinity,

The benchmark results for the Xoom have all been quite good, the Galaxy Tab's are a bit lower, but certainly not bad. I'm not convinced hardware performance is the issue here, especially since Honeycomb has had so many teething problems.

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But that is the thing.  The Tegra 2 is a bone stock A9 with no optimizations/tweaks and using the minimum offered by ARM.  That means no much faster NEON for FP operations, and having only a single DDR2 memory channel.  Its graphics are faster than SGX540 @ 200mhz / single channel DDR2 by 10~30%.  Of course, the cpu backend to the SGX540 in those test was a single core A8.

TI's new OMAP 4 chip on the other hand, will use the NEON SIMD (much faster than Tegra 2), dual channel DDR2 memory (double the bandwidth of Tegra 2), and its SGX540 graphics are clocked at 300Mhz, which is 50% faster and with double the memory bandwidth of earlier tested chips that the Tegra 2  was 10~30% faster than.

Samsungs new Exynos is even more of a monster, packing the NEON SIMD, dual channel DDR3 memory, and quad core Mali-400 GPU that cranks out about 2.5x as much triangles as teh SGX540 @ 300Mhz in the OMAP 4.

The Tegra 2 is the slowest A9 chip on the market.  Nvidia however managed to get it first.

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Infinity,

The needs of the smartphone market are very different than the conventional desktop/mobile segments; many of the features you mention are of secondary concern compared to the need for low power consumption. Neon support isn't a make-or-break feature, and again, we've yet to hear so much as a rumor implying that Tegra 2's troubles are caused by the solutions performance or power consumption when compared to other products.

 

 

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"but you gets what your gets" Hey; infinity is that supposed to be Popeye or Bluto? As far as it goes I had a LG GX2 smart phone for 6 days and returned it! It had Tegra 2 etc, but it also had connection issues, as well as board issues in a few areas. I would therefore imagine after hearing multiple reports on forums of the same thing or things that are close to them that all is not 100% in the Tegra2 world.

I am not saying they specifically are bad as the issues I had seem to point at the PCB, and other components like the radio chip internally. I will also say Nvidia while it has advanced in it's chip design and advancement very impressively has chosen a market that is even more saturated considerably than the GPU market. As far as I know on the multi core existing and horizon I can think of 7 chip producers off the top of my head. Nvidia is one, Apple, Samsung, Intel, TI, Qualcom etc.

My point is this is and will be a very competitive market now as well as in the future both near and far. I am not saying they should not be here as I think there chips are great and know they are a very strong player wherever they choose to work in the market both as developers and producers in the hardware world. I am just commenting on both my personal experience with a Tegra2 product and my over all view point on there strategy as well as there outlook in the future. Of course I am no fortune teller plus we as users have no clue where these mobile processors are going right now design wise. I may know the next one coming from them but they know the next 4 as well as where they plan to be in 2, 5, 10 years out with the platform.

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