Tegra Tablets Today, Smartphones Soon

The original Tegra was a 65nm chip made at TSMC, this one is 40nm also made at TSMC. The die shrink gives NVIDIA the ability to cram around 2x the transistor count into the same space.

At 260M transistors, Tegra 2 is a fairly complex chip. The total die size is approximately 49mm^2, which actually sounds big given the target market. The A9s occupy around 10% of the total die area.

The initial Tegra 2 chips will be paired with an 8.8mm BGA package for use in standard tech PCBs. Smartphone versions will be in smaller packages in order to save real estate.

NVIDIA is supplying 5" development boards to its partners interested in Tegra 2. NVIDIA tells us that there are "hundreds" of these systems out in the wild. As you can guess by the size of the development board, the initial target for this chip isn't quite a smartphone.

The focus of today's announcement is unfortunately tablets. They are going to be able to make it to market quicker and are farther along the design process. While we don't expect any vendor to have completely nailed the perfect tablet yet, we should see some interesting UIs and form factors.

Multiple sources have now told me that the reason we never saw Tegra 1 in any smartphones or mainstream devices until the Zune HD was a simple case of NVIDIA arrogance. NVIDIA assumed that selling Tegra to phone manufacturers was just like selling GPUs to PC vendors, and it most definitely wasn't. It's been a long learning process, but NVIDIA appears to be better as a result.

There are Tegra 1 smartphones in flight right now. Presumably we'll see the first at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month. There are also Tegra 2 smartphones that are currently being designed. We will see these before the end of 2010.

Index ARM Cortex A9: What I'm Excited About
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  • sprockkets - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    It's a loser called DLeRium who thinks I don't know the diff btw x86 and PPC or ARM.

    Perhaps he doesn't know I compile code from scratch all the time for Linux and most of that code easily compiles on multiple archs. That doesn't mean its automatic to go from x86 to ARM, but it isn't an insurmountable hurdle either.
  • sprockkets - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    Hasn't stopped Doom or Quake 3 from arriving on the iphone, has it?
  • SilthDraeth - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    WoW runs in OpenGL as well.
  • rennya - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    And that's why Quake 3 is used in the demo. They are easily portable, unlike WoW or Sims games.

    Now if we have WoW or Sims games on iPhone you may have a point.
  • sprockkets - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    WoW is a ways off perhaps, but again, my original point was it is on OSX, which doesn't have DirectX. The previous poster was going on about x86 vs. ARM limitations.

    UT2004 had DirectX and OpenGL versions.

    For that matter, I believe the real question is, why would you want to game on a 3.7-5 inch screen? Even if you used video out, you would then end up hooking up some form of controller, and you'd be back to square one where you were with a computer.

    But hey, surprise me. Boxee has the Tegra2 in it. Linux is a common denominator in phones and with ARM and OpenGL ES.
  • Genx87 - Friday, January 8, 2010 - link

    How big at Nintendo DS screens? Those seem to sell at a clip higher than the stand alone consoles.
  • puffpio - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    My next smartphone better have this...as well as my future HTPC/NASbox/fileserver/DNLA server/torrentbox all in one device thingy
  • puffpio - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    and said smartphone needs hdmi out to drive a 1080p display
  • Goty - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    I can find solutions that perform "well enough" until NVIDIA decides to stop being one of the most underhanded and disrespectful companies I can think of.
  • sprockkets - Thursday, January 7, 2010 - link

    " But rest assured that if you're buying a smartphone in 2010, it's not Snapdragon that you want but something based on Cortex A9"

    LOL, now we are basing our smartphone purchases like we did 10 years ago with computers?

    OK, let's wait for Tegra2 so we can watch an 8-12GB pirated 1920x800 HDx264 hi profile movie on an 800x480 screen with headphones or even worse, a 2 inch tinny speaker even though it has DTS audio. LOL.

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