Nvidia launches 'Wayne' processor with LTE

January 07, 2013 // By Peter Clarke
Nvidia has launched the quad-core Cortex-A15 based Tegra 4 application processor for use in consumer gadgets from smartphones, through tablet computers to games consoles at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Tegra 4, which was codenamed "Wayne", comes with an optional Icera i500 chip that supports UE category 3 LTE cellular communications with a 100-Mbit per second downlink. Nvidia acquired soft-modem developer Icera Ltd., in 2011 for about $360 million.

Tegra 4 includes 72 GPU cores to provide approximately six times the graphics performance of the company's previous application processor, the Tegra 3. Web browsing is said to be 2.6 times faster than Tegra 3. Besides the quad-core Cortex A15 Tegra 4 includes a low-power Cortex A15 compatible core that performs background tasks to save power. This is thought to be a proprietary implementation of ARM's Big-little technique similar to that implemented by Nvidia in Tegra 3.

Whereas Tegra 3 was implemented in a 40-nm CMOS manufacturing process technology from TSMC, the Tegra 4 is said to be manufactured using a 28-nm process technology that yields a top clock frequency of about 1.9-GHz.

One aspect of the Tegra 4 is the deployment of "computational photography" by allowing the GPU and CPU sections of Tegra 4 to work together and also with an image-signal processor intended for use with a camera.

A follow-on chip codenamed "Grey" is said to be in preparation for release later in 2013 that will include the baseband processor for the i500 soft modem.