NVIDIA announces the Tegra 4i, and sadly it has nothing to do with the Tegra 4

by: ŠtefanFebruary 19, 2013

Qualcomm chips are used by pretty much every handset maker under the sun because they’re fully integrated. You don’t just get a CPU and GPU like you do with something like NVIDIA’s Tegra 4. Instead, Qualcomm gives you the GPU, CPU, the cellular modem, WiFi radio, Bluetooth radio, GPS receiver, and the list just goes on and on.

NVIDIA is officially changing that today with the Tegra 4i. Based on the name alone, you’d think it’s the Tegra 4 with the company’s built-in 4G LTE radio, but actually it’s not. To quote Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi, some of the two most trusted names in tech, here’s what the Tegra 4i actually is:

Tegra 4i includes the familiar 4+1 arrangement of cores we’ve seen since Tegra 3, but instead of Tegra 4’s A15s, 4i includes ARM Cortex A9 CPUs running at a maximum single core clock of 2.3 GHz, we’re still waiting on a breakdown of the clock rates for dual and quad configuration, as well as the shadow core.

Let’s translate that into plain English. The Tegra 4i is actually an overclocked Tegra 3 that comes with 4G LTE support. We’re actually pretty upset by this. We’re not really going to know how fast the Tegra 4i is going to be until we benchmark it ourselves, but we’re pretty confident in saying that it’s going to get smoked by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragons and Samsung’s octocore Exynos 5.

So why today? Why would NVIDIA, on the same day that HTC is going to announce their new 2013 flagship device, announce the Tegra 4i? We seriously hope that this was just a coincidence because everyone at Android Authority remembers the One X and how poorly it performed due to the NVIDIA chip inside. Our European staff were actually jealous of their American colleagues for a change because their One X had a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4.

  • Jaime

    Tsk, tsk Stefan… Get your facts before you write.
    Tegra 4i, is powered by a quad-core A9 ‘R4’ 28nm processor, running at 2.3GHz, with the signature fifth power-saving core. There’s a scaled-down version of NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 GPU included, with 60 GPU cores. 2GB of RAM. This will also be NVIDIA’s first chip with an integrated cellular modem, the Icera i500, and it’s an industry milestone: this is the first smartphone chipset announced with what’s known as a “software defined radio”. NVIDIA’s newly-christened “Chimera” imaging technology (the fancy HDR stuff, known as “NVIDIA Computational Photography Architecture” at CES) is included as well. And it does all this on a die half the size of the comparable Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.

    • kascollet

      Thanks a lot for correcting this !
      4 A9 CPU is plenty enough. The GPU side, memory bandwidth and power consumption were poor on the Tegra 3 and this really new architecture may solve all those issues. Good move NVidia.
      Strategy is clear : Tegra 4i for phones & Tegra 4 for tablets.

  • HellG

    “To quote Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi, some of the two most trusted names in tech ”
    Are you kidding me? the two names you just mentioned are the biggest two iSheep on the horizon, the fiddle with battery/benchmark score to favor i products, go to anandtech.com and check ANY of their cell phones reviews you will see how they only show results where iproducts win to give you the illusion that these products are superior to the competition in every aspect, please before you call anyone “Most Trusted” do some searching as you give people false information specially in an android site where you boost about a known iSheep

    • kascollet

      Totally useless point : nobody ever talked about Apple here…

      • HellG

        oh wait so they gain their trust back when they speak about other brands? what the fuck are you on

  • It is not just an overclocked tegra 3

    1- It uses newer 28nm process
    2- The GPU is not same as the tegra 3
    3- Quad Cortex A9 @ 2.3GHz should be quite powerfull even if A9 is an old architecture