Nvidia recounts the 22-day “bring up” of the Tegra 4i

April 23, 2013
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Nvidia logo CES [aa] (3)

Nvidia is one of the biggest chip makers in the world of personal computing. It has built a name for itself creating some of the fastest GPU chip sets ever to grace a computer. However, the Santa Clara-based company has tried to crack the smartphone conundrum for a while, and until now, success has evaded it.

The Tegra 4i is set to help Nvidia break through at last into one of the toughest segments in the smartphone market.

A common problem with Nvidia chips, is that they don’t have an integrated modem. This is not as much of a requirement in tablets, as the majority of tablets sold are WiFi only devices and tablets also have much larger batteries than smartphones. But on smartphones, the additional power consumption of another chip becomes a problem.

With the Tegra 4i, Nvidia hopes to capture some of the smartphone market from rival Qualcomm, with its first chip containing an integrated modem. The modem will allow Nvidia to bring next gen wireless networking to the smartphone market.

A team of over 200 engineers worked almost non-stop from February 3rd to February 25th (the opening day of MWC), to create a fully featured phone based on Tegra 4i to be showcased at the show.

The exhausting 22 day process meant engineers had to sacrifice their social lives and sleep, in order to create the chip we saw in the Phoenix phone at MWC. The engineers worked around the clock to test new features and transform the device into a working product. Nvidia dubbed the process “bringup” and the engineers saw all their hard work pay off, when the phone booted up and sent a text message to Nvidia CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang.

The Tegra 4i may not be a part of the Cortex A15 club but it will definitely still be a blazing fast processor, which we should see in smartphones in the coming months.

For more details on how Nvidia build the Phoenix reference design in just three weeks, head over to the source link.

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