Leak: NVIDIA Tegra 4 to have 72 graphics cores, four ARM Cortex A15 cores?

by: ŠtefanDecember 18, 2012

NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 is a chip that we were supposed to fall in love with when we first heard that it would come with four ARM Cortex A9 cores, but then when it finally came out, powering HTC’s 2012 flagship phone, the One X, we were left with a bad taste in our mouths. It overheated, it wasn’t as fast as Qualcomm’s dual core Snapdragon S4, and it just didn’t deliver on all the promises that NVIDIA made. Will the company turn things around with the next generation, the Tegra 4?

According to a slide that was leaked on the Chinese forum Chiphell, the Tegra 4 (codenamed “Wayne”) will have 72 graphics cores. That sounds like a lot, but that’s because NVIDIA’s math is done by someone in the marketing department. Does a pixel shader count as a “core”? Does a vertex shader count as a “core”? Yes and yes. The slide says the Tegra 4 will have 6x the number of cores as the Tegra 3, but will that translate to 6x the performance? We’ll have to wait to benchmark devices that use this as yet to be announce piece of silicon.

The slide also confirms that the Tegra 4 will use 28 nanometer transistors, something we were expecting. Qualcomm’s S4 chip has been using 28 nm technology since it first hit the market earlier this year. As for the application processors, the slide doesn’t say “ARM Cortex A15”, but that’s what we’re expecting to see. Curiously, the Tegra 4 will also have an extra core for power savings, but again, information wasn’t given as to what architecture will power it.

Any other things of note? Hardware accelerated h.264 High Profile and VP8 at up to 2560 x 1440 pixels, USB 3.0 support, and dual channel memory support.

Are we excited? You bet, but at the same time we’re cognizant of the fact that both Samsung and Qualcomm are also going to announce new chips next year. All that just means more benchmarking for us.

  • who cares. Tegra sucks.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      Why don’t you tell the internet how you *really* feel?

      • lol, just voicing a opinion, that alot of people agree with.

        • Guest

          You are retarded and beyond stupid.

          You’ll be eating your own words very soon as clearly you don’t understand the GPU architecture that Tegra 4 uses.

          • Stefan Constantinescu

            You don’t either. It hasn’t been announced.

          • Pocketn

            He wasn’t replying to you Stefan, look where the arrowin his reply is pointing to. The comment was aimed at George Av

          • MasterMuffin

            Stefan can still answer to him even though the reply wasn’t for him… :)

          • Oh will i? we will come back to this when Tegra 4 is out. I will be right. you wrong.

          • MasterMuffin

            Tegra has great GPU (thanks to nvidia), but the cpu loses to competition (probably, nobody knows yet)

    • MasterMuffin

      Now I’m scared of SoCs, raping and killing people :O

    • Grahaman27

      no. tegra 3’s 12 core gpu rapes the s4’s adreno. check it:


      look at the glbenchmark.

      64 vs 56fps

      • and now, why i say s4 rapes tegra 3 is cos i have used both HTC one X (trash) and the one with the s4 was noticeably better performing then the baby tegra 3. User experience, fuck benchmarks. they mean nothing.

        It’s like comparing the GTX 660ti and the AMD radeon 7950.

        • Grahaman27

          yeah, for the tegra 3 to be good things have to be optimized just right. the companion core really craps things up alot.

          • the ONLY reason i own a Tegra device (sucks) is for Tegra zone :)

          • but, hey if chainfire could stop being silly and update his chainfire 3d app for jellybean? then you could run tegra zone apps on exynos devices ;)

    • guest

      Tegra 3’s 12cores, is actually a marketing ploy. it’s actually 8 pixel shaders and 4 vertex shaders. but it’s acutally ONE single core. Apples 3rd gen iPad had a real quad core gpu. i think it uses unified shaders, which would be equivalent to 8pixel/vertex shader core per REAL core. For a total of 32 pixel/shader/cores.

      If this is what NVidia is doing, looks like they’ll have a 3 core gpu…kinda like the A6 3core gpu.

  • Prox

    I am not a fan of the companion core. I have it now in my Asus Transformer and its just not powerful enough for background tasks and web browsing at the same time.

    For gaming the Tegra 3 is great.

    • john

      I also have Transformer Prime, do you think the slowness is because of the sleeper core? I mean it is very fast when playing some hi-end games and videos, but when I’m web browsing or even just looking through some apps, it is painfully slow and buggy.

      • guest

        Probably slow, due to the single memory controller. A5X, S4, S4Pro, Exynos, even TI run dual Channel controllers. it’s a bottleneck

      • FifthWheel

        Yes, this is why i didnt buy the Asus Infinity Wifi, its notorious for bad browser experience. I wanted to get it becoz of the Full HD IPS display,but the buggy performance held me back. I then looked for the 3G version, as it uses a dualcore Krait and therefore does not have a performance issue in the browser, but only the Wifi version with the Tegra crap was available.

  • Guest


    “Last month TI announced it was the first to license ARM’s next-generation Eagle core. Today, ARM is announcing the official name of that core: it’s the ARM Cortex A15.”

    Eagle is the codename for Cortex-A15

    • MasterMuffin


  • 8PAQ

    Great news! Now Android tablets using Tegra will finally catch up to iPad 2!


  • 8PAQ

    Will Terga 4 finally catch up to A5 powering iPad 2?http://www.anandtech.com/show/6472/ipad-4-late-2012-review/4

  • Tets

    That sleeper core is a dumb idea, I tried a tegra 3 device and they are just so slow because you really have to be taxing the processor to activate the regular cores, I want max speed at all times, that is how I roll. Samsung’s quad cores are very fast, and I will stay away from Tegra 4 if they choose to add that sleeper core.

    • guest

      Sleeper core is a great idea! Even Arm is using something similar BIG.Little configurations. Samsung is rumored to use this on their new SoC

  • Guest

    looks like NVidia, is actually going 3 gpu cores. 36 shader, and 36 vertex. 12 shader, 12 vertex pipes each core. probably not Kepler, but later G80? includes CUDA. also now supports dual channnel controllers.

    any slowness you feel on your android tablet due to Tegra 3, probably has alot to do with the single channel memory controller. Grey, should fix this. seems like Grey will be Tegra 3 with updated process technology, modem, and also dual channel memory controller. probably better driver and firmware for powergating, and more seemless operations.

    As it stands now AP37 (aka Tegra 3, HTC ONE X+) benchmarks pretty darn close to samsungs 32nm process and Qualcomms 28nm Kraits. so i’d guess Grey will really give samsung and qualcomm a run for its $$. and then Wayne will come in and wipe everything else.