Leaked slide unmasks next-gen Tegra SoC

About a year has passed since Nvidia revealed its Tegra 3 SoC to the world. Rumor has it the firm will lift the curtain on its next-gen Tegra processor at the Consumer Electronics Show next month, and some information has leaked out already. A member of the Chip Hell forums has posted an official-looking slide detailing some of the features of Wayne, the codename associated with the Tegra 3's replacement. Tegra 3 was dubbed Kal-El, but Nvidia is channeling the Dark Knight this time around.

According to the slide, the Tegra 3's novel 4-plus-1 CPU core arrangement will persist in the next generation. The chip's quad-core cluster is backed by a low-power sidekick core designed to conserve battery life. The cores are referred to as Eagle, which matches the codename for ARM's Cortex-A15 CPU.

On the graphics front, the integrated GPU purportedly boasts 72 "cores," or ALUs—six times the number in the Tegra 3's GeForce component. The block diagram shows dedicated video decode and encode blocks with support for VP8 and H.264 HP acceleration at resolutions up to 2560x1440. 2560x1600 seems to be the highest supported display resolution for 24-bit color, and it looks like there's a 1080p @ 120Hz mode for stereoscopic 3D applications.

The slide says the CPU and GPU will share a dual-channel memory controller, giving the chip potentially double the memory bandwidth of its single-channel predecessor. USB 3.0 is also on the menu and should be particularly valuable for convertible tablets with notebook aspirations. There are no details on clock speeds or thermal envelopes, but Wayne is supposed to be built using 28-nm process technology.

Nvidia needs a substantial upgrade in graphics horsepower to keep up with Apple's SoCs, and it will be interesting to see if the next-gen Tegra delivers. We expect to learn more about the chip at CES next month, so stay tuned. Thanks to The Verge for the tip.

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