NVIDIA Next Gen Tegra Processor Unveiled At CES

NVIDIA's Next Gen Tegra Unveiled

NVIDIA invited members of the press to a briefing at the Las Vegas Hilton so that the company's fearless leader, Jen-Hsun Huang, could unveil their latest highly integrated mobile processor.  Dubbed only "the new Tegra processor," but known now as the Tegra 250, NVIDA's CEO spoke of their commitment to improving the mobile computing experience both functionally and visually.  With the connectivity of a smart phone but the portability and screen real-estate we all crave, NVIDIA's new frontier is unmistakably marked for the Tablet PC.

Behold, NVIDIA's future... HD and 3D capable in the palm of your hand.. well, Jen-Hsun's anyway.

Above Jen-Hsun holds an entire Tegra platform in the palm of his hand and the capabilities of the little platform are nothing short of amazing.  In a tablet form factor, this new machine was able to reproduce 1080p HD video at full frame rate with impeccable image quality. NVIDIA claims the platform is capable of supporting up to 140 hours of music or 16 hours of HD video, on a single charge.  Impressive to be sure... More on this after the break in the video demo with Jen Hsun we have for you below. 

Designs in the pipeline. Looks like sales is mobilized on the effort too...

NVIDIA has a number of design wins they're laying claim to early and you can see a few of the usual suspects are listed above, as well as some new names.  The new Tegra platform is based on a dual-core ARM Cortex-A 9 processor with reportedly ten times the performance of their previous generation, yet still dropping in at one-half Watt.  There are a total of eight processors on the chip, which includes graphics and video engines custom built by NVIDIA, integrated with the ARM cores.  Here's a drop of the specs for those of you want the full skinny...
Processor and Memory Subsystem
  • Dual ARM® Cortex-A9 MPCore processors, Up to 1.0 GHz
  • 32-bit LP-DDR2, DDR2
  • Ultra Low Power NVIDIA Graphics
    • OpenGL ES 2.0
    • Programmable pixel shader
    • Programmable vertex and lighting
    • 2x 3D graphics performance of previous generation Tegra
  • Full High Definition Multimedia
    • 1080p H.264/VC-1/MPEG-4 Video Decode
    • 1080p H.264 Video Encode
    • Supports multi-standard audio formats, including AAC, AMR, WMA, and MP3
    • Upgraded JPEG encode and decode acceleration
  • Integrated Image Signal Processing
    • Up to 12 megapixel camera sensor support
    • Advanced imaging features (AWB, AF, AE, etc.)
Display Subsystem
  • True dual-display support
  • Maximum display resolutions supported:
  • 1080p (1920x1080) HDMI 1.3
  • WSXGA+ (1680x1050) LCD
  • UXGA (1600x1200) CRT
  • NTSC/PAL TV output
And of course Jen-Hsung decided to wheel out some of his buddies in the industry to help demo his new technology, though frankly we didn't expect to see Tim Sweeney of Epic Games step up to the mic.  Sweeney took us through a demo of Unreal Tournament running on the tablet and the visuals were as good as you'd experience with standard desktop graphics.  Here's a quick walk-through with Jen-Hsun's demo and Sweeney steps up for some action toward the end of the clip...

Jen-Hsun Huang and Epic's Tim Sweeney Demo Unreal Engine On Tegra Tablet - Click for high res.

Jen-Hsun prompted Sweeney with the question of what he likened the power of his new processor to and Tim exclaimed that it was at the level of some mainstream console systems.  We'd suggest that might be a bit of a stretch in the literal sense but without question the Unreal Tech demo was impressive to say the least. 

Finally, NVIDIA's ever-charismatic CEO touched on the company's continued focus on 3D gaming and video with their 3D Vision technology and of course their budding new GF100 (Fermi) GPU that we're hearing is merely weeks away (and we've got the spy pics to prove it).  Word is GF100 is worth the wait and NVIDIA expects to pull the 3D graphics performance lead position back from AMD.  We'll see if that pans out as we get hardware in house for testing.  In the mean time, NVIDIA is also demonstrating 3D Vision across up to three displays for surround gaming, offering a competitive alternative to AMD's Eyefinity technology, but with stereoscopic 3D effects for a little extra punch.

Things appear to be shaping up nicely for NVIDIA this year and it's a good thing.  On the graphics front it has been all too quiet from the green team's side of the fence.  However, it looks like the weeks and months ahead will see NVIDIA stepping out with some impressive new technologies and making a splash in their usual way.

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