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Difference Between nVidia Tegra 2 and nVidia Tegra 3 Kal-el

nVidia Tegra 2 vs. nVidia Tegra 3 Kal-el

nVidia, a very well-known maker of graphics cards, has decided to enter into the mobile devices game. Their product, Tegra, is a SOC or system on a chip. It basically combines the CPU, GPU, northbridge and southbridge controllers, and memory controller into one small package. The most current version right now is Tegra 2 with Kal-el (the codename for what is expected to be Tegra 3), which was just announced early in 2011. The biggest difference between Tegra 2 and 3 will be the number of cores they have. The Tegra 2 is equipped with dual ARM Cortex A9s while the Tegra 3 is armed with four of them. The concept is basically the same as with your computer. A quad core would perform better over a dual core, especially when multitasking (running multiple applications) or multithreading (running a single application that can be broken into parallel threads). Aside from having more cores, the Tegra 3 is also clocked at a higher at 1.5Ghz compared to the 1Ghz clock of the Tegra 2.

In addition to improvements on the CPU, the GPU of the Tegra 3 sees marked improvements. Rather than the 8 core design on the Tegra 2, the Tegra 3 has a 12 core design. The appended design produces significantly better performance. nVidia claims that the Tegra 3 GPU is up to five times faster than that of the Tegra 2. This should give developers a lot more freedom in rendering applications with more demanding graphics.

The Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 are just one part of a whole. In order to have a working device, be it a phone or a tablet, you need to have the SOC and then develop the rest around it. This is why it may still be a while before we can get our hands on Tegra 2 or 3 powered devices. Tegra 2 powered devices have been featured at the last CES and should be commercially available by the Q1 or Q2. On the other hand, Tegra 3 won’t be in the market until later this year. So, expect Tegra 3 powered devices anytime in 2012.


1. The Tegra 2 has 2 cores. while the Tegra 3 has four cores
2. Each core in the Tegra 2 is clocked at 1GHz, while each core in the Tegra 3 is clocked at 1.5GHz
3. The Tegra 2 has an 8 core GPU while the Tegra 3 has a 12 core GPU
4. The Tegra 3 GPU is five times faster than the Tegra 2 GPU
5. The Tegra 2 is already used in some devices while Tegra 3 equipped devices won’t be arriving until 2012

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