NVIDIA Reveals a 5th CPU Core in Upcoming Kal-El Tegra SoC

Published: 22nd Sep 2011, 04:48 GMT

Nvidia working on chip with five ‘cores’ - The Times of India
SAN FRANCISCO: Nvidia Corp, known for its processors that render graphics in PCs, is outlining a novel feature of a new chip for mobile devices.

The chip has essentially grown another arm.

The new chip, code-named Project Kal-El, was previously known to have four processing “cores,” or engines for performing computing tasks. The abundance of cores helps phones and other devices that will use the chip do many things at once.

Think of them as burners on a stove that let several pots cook at once.

The computer industry has moved in the direction of multiple cores as the need for multitasking has grown and the physics of chip design has limited the amount of work a single core can do without draining too much battery life. Many cores doing many things helps keep power drain down.

On Tuesday, Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia disclosed in two research papers that its new chip actually has a lightweight fifth core, a novel chip design. The company says the additional core isn’t like the others. It can’t do as much as the other cores, but it does operate at low power and works best when a mobile device is in “active standby” mode, or sitting in your pocket but still receiving e-mail and Twitter updates and the like.

The addition of the fifth core shows the lengths that chip companies are going to in designing powerful and energy-efficient processors. Nvidia describes the additional core as being useful for the least power-hungry tasks, such as syncing the phone when you’re not using it or doing low-impact operations such as reading on the Internet or playing music.

For more power-hungry tasks, the other cores are used.

Such gymnastics in chip design are important to Nvidia as it tries to carve out a role in the booming smartphone and tablet market. The company is known for its graphics chips for PCs.

But using low-power chip designs from UK-based ARM Holdings, the company has expanded into chips for smartphones and tablets. This is an area that the biggest semiconductor company, Intel Corp, which uses a different chip design, has yet to crack.

Comment Policy
  1. Comments must be written in English.
  2. Comments deemed to be spam or solely promotional in nature will be deleted. Including a link to relevant content is permitted, but comments should be relevant to the post topic. Discussions about politics are not allowed on this website.
  3. Comments and usernames containing language or concepts that could be deemed offensive will be deleted.
  4. Comments complaining about the post subject or its source will be removed.
  5. A failure to comply with these rules will result in a warning and, in extreme cases, a ban. In addition, please note that comments that attack or harass an individual directly will result in a ban without warning.
  6. VideoCardz has never been sponsored by AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA. Users claiming otherwise will be banned.
  7. VideoCardz Moderating Team reserves the right to edit or delete any comments submitted to the site without notice.
  8. If you have any questions about the commenting policy, please let us know through the Contact Page.
Hide Comment Policy