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.