Nvidia was one of the first companies to deliver a quad-core chipset in high volumes. Their Tegra 3 platform was (and probably still is) a big success. Now that is has slightly become of age and more and more quad-core platforms are being released Nvidia needs to make a step ahead. Thus it is not much of a surprise that we now get leaked information on a potentially soon to be released Tegra 4.
What was posted on Weibo is the sketch of what could be the upcoming Tegra 4 codenamed Wayne. As the Tegra 3 already featured 4+1 cores (4 full cores plus one power saving core) any updates needed to focus on incremental changes to the cores and to the surrounding parts of the SOC. According to the leaked information the ARM Cortex A9 cores of the Tegra 3 have been replaced by Cortex A15 cores while the number stays at 4+1.
To satisfy the increasing demand for higher graphics power the number of GPU units has been increased by a factor of 6 compared to its predecessor. This increase in display power mainly comes from 72 graphics cores compared to 12 in the Tegra 3. Thus the new design is supposed to have around six times the visual performance of its predecessor. Nvidia estimates that this is enough for decoding full HD 1080p video in 120 Hz to display resolutions up to 2560 x 1600. Video encoding should work up to 1440p (2560 x 1400) resolution. Support for 4k displays (4000 x 2000) is also mentioned but no information on frame rate or color depth is given.
Also important for the overall system performance is the memory interface. This has been upgraded to a dual channel interface supporting DDR3L, LPDDR2 and LPDDR3 RAM. To have a high-speed link for data transfer to and from a PC the Tegra 4 will also feature USB 3.0. All these powerful ingredients are said to be manufactured in TSMC’s power-efficient 28nm HPL (high performance, low power) CMOS process. This is a leap forward from the 40nm of Tegra 3 and is in line with Qualcomms newest Snapdragons and Mediateks MT6589. Due to the leaked source first phones or tablets are to be presented already in January 2013 – maybe at the CES.