Quad-core CPU and a 12-core GPU in a tablet or smartphone? That's exactly what NVIDIA promised three months ago and the company has now shown what its newest system-on-a-chip (SoC) is capable of. Dubbed Kal-El, it looks to be an outstanding performer in terms of dynamic lighting and movement.
Who is Kal-El? Originally, that's the real name of Superman, however since February Kal-El means something different, at least to those interested in high quality mobile gaming.
Kal-El is the next generation Tegra architecture often referred to as Tegra 3. It's an SoC type of platform which means a piece of hardware integrating many components on a single circuit (e.g. CPU and GPU). The NVIDIA's upcoming hardware is "battery-friendly" and consists of a quad-core processor (each core is a 1.5 Ghz ARM Cortex-A9) along with a 12-core NVIDIA GPU capable of 3D stereo. That is pretty impressive taking into account that this is a mobile hardware for tablets and smartphones.
Project Kal-El was first announced during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in February, 2011. First tablets with Kal-El ship in August, whereas smartphones will appear towards the end of the year.
The demo's title is Glowball and that's the name of its character, which is a luminous ball. In fact Glowball is a quite fun tablet game controlled by the gyroscope. It clearly shows the amazing potential of Kal-El in terms of generating dynamic light effects and great, realistic physics all rendered in real time, perhaps as never seen before on a mobile device. Just see how the drapes wave around as the ball rolls through them. I bet that's something iPad 2 won't do.
What's more, the video should satisfy skeptics who might doubt whether there is a need for doubling the number of cores by comparing the same graphics generated by dual-core and quad-core CPUs. There's a huge difference and it's hard to believe the video comes from a tablet, not a regular gaming computer.
There are rumors that Motorola might be the first producer to release a Tegra 3-based tablet.