Kal-El to have five cores not four
Ryan Martin / 5 years ago
Nvidia’s Tegra 2 successor “Kal-El” is to have five cores not the expected number which was four but only four cores can be used at any one time. The fifth core will be called a “companion core”, in essence it is very rarely used:it is only used on its own when the tablet is handling low overhead tasks such as syncing email and keeping apps alive. Each of the cores is a Cortex A9 ARM CPU and is disabled or enabled when needed. The companion core will run at a lower voltage and clock speed than the other four cores, 500MHz to be precise. The fifth core is built using a “special low power silicone process” and the approach of having this core perform low overhead tasks is being dubbed “variable symmetric multiprocessing” by Nvidia.
In terms of Graphical performance the Kal-El chip will have somewhere between double and triple the amount of power that Tegra 2 has. The Kal-El will have 4 different core configurations as shown in the table below:
Interestingly, the fifth core has also been designed to be operating system transparent, meaning that an OS such as Android will recognise 4 cores only and the companion core will be viewed as a reduced power version of core 1 when physically they are two separate cores. Kal-El is due to release at some point during Q4 of this year provding there are no more delays.