It may be difficult to remember a time before mobile tablet PC devices dominated the portable market, but prior to the launch of the iPad in 2010 there was little mainstream interest in this form factor.
The first generation of tablets integrated single-core CPUs, but in 2012 we entered the age of the quad-core chipset, with even more advanced silicon helping to power the graphics. Nvidia has found itself at the forefront of the tablet graphics revolution thanks to its Tegra range, with the quad-core Tegra 3 making waves on Android devices this year.
Now a leaked slide has provided some interesting information about the Tegra 4, which will apparently boost the graphical power on the new chip by a factor of six compared with the Tegra 3. Engadget reports that there will effectively be 76 individual cores on the Tegra 4 chipset, each of which will be responsible for handling a particular process.
The CPU will still be a quad-core one, as found on the Tegra 3, but it will use a more recent design to help improve energy efficiency while also boosting the power.
The Visible Benefits
So what does all this mean in practice and will we see a real improvement in the visuals that can be provided by tablet computers? In terms of tablet display resolutions, the Tegra 4 chip will allow for devices with up to 2560×1600 pixel counts, as well as full HD 1080p at a refresh rate of 120Hz.
Of course, the Google Nexus 10 tablet already has this boundary-pushing resolution, but it uses a Samsung Exynos chipset so it is good to see Nvidia keeping pace with its rivals. The slide even makes mention of 4K, which is the ultra-HD resolution standard that will eventually find its way into HDTVs and broadcasts.
The chipset should support the latest RAM technology as well as being compatible with USB 3.0 for even faster data speeds over a wired connection to a PC. In relation to how the Tegra 4 will affect the graphics, it is clear that more power will ultimately translate into better frame rates and an impressive overall level of performance.
The question really is whether or not app developers will be able to actually harness all of this number-crunching power. It could end up being an untapped resource.
Do you think that graphics really matter on a tablet, whether for gaming or powering editing software? Or would real fans of these things not look to laptops or desktops with more power to get the job done?
About Author: Rich Edmondson is a tablet fan and technology journalist. He writes articles on a variety of hot topics for Quaduro.