Nvidia’s Tegra 3 is here

Nvidia has officially launched its quad-core Tegra 3 processor.

The chip – which is expected to power a new class of smartphones and tablets – has  already been loaded into the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime which is due to hit the market in late 2011 or early 2012.

Also known as “Project Kal-El,” Tegra 3 boasts up to 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2, while lowering power consumption by up to 61 percent – offering 12 hours of battery life for HD video playback.

In addition, the next-gen mobile chip implements Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) with a fifth CPU “companion” that is specifically designed for work requiring minimal power.

During tasks that require less power consumption – like listening to music, playing back video or updating background data – the Tegra 3 processor completely shuts down its four performance-tuned cores and, instead, uses its companion core. 

For high-performance tasks, such as web browsing, multitasking and gaming, the Tegra 3 processor disables the companion.

“Tegra 3’s vSMP technology extends the battery life of next-generation mobile devices by using less power when they’re handling undemanding tasks and then ratcheting up performance when it’s really needed,” explained Nathan Brookwood, Research Fellow at Insight 64.

The Tegra 3 quad-core CPUs are paired with a 12-core Nvidia GeForce GPU, which is capable of rendering dynamic lighting, physical effects and high resolution environments.

Additional specs include:

  • Quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU.

  • vSMP tech (fifth CPU core).
  • 12-core GeForce GPU.

  • New video engines support 1080p high profile video at 40 Mbps.
  • Up to 3x higher memory bandwidth.
  • Up to 2x faster image signal processor.