updated 07:50 am EDT, Mon June 2, 2008
NVIDIA this morning took a headstart on the Computex show with the launch of Tegra, its new lineup of mobile processors. Unlike the video-oriented GeForce line, Tegras are considered full systems in a single chip and include both an ARM processor as well as nearly every other component necessary for a mobile device: every model includes a graphics engine based on GeForce hardware as well as camera image processing and controllers for peripherals and flash memory.
Effectively confirming earlier rumors, NVIDIA splits the launch lineup into two distinct ranges. The 600 series is geared towards larger handhelds such as the recently established Mobile Internet Device (MID) class, and offers more power than would be possible in smaller devices: the top-tier, 800MHz Tegra 650 can output H.264 video up to 1080p at 24 frames per second on devices with an HDMI connection, while the 700MHz Tegra 600 can run 720p video.
Both are also capable of advanced visual effects in OpenGL ES 2.0 as well as 12-megapixel camera processing that includes encoding up to 720p in real time. They can also directly run secondary displays up to 1680x1050 (for the Tegra 650) and 1280x1024 (Tegra 600).
The company has also rebranded the APX 2500 as part of the Tegra line without changing the feature set. The cooler-running device is designed for smartphones and smaller devices but is still capable of most of the features of the 600-series chips, including live decoding and encoding of H.264-based 720p video, 12-megapixel still image processing, and advanced OpenGL video.
Devices using any of the Tegra chipsets should be available by the end of the year; no specific customers have been named, though it notes that the 600-series is most likely to appear in MIDs with a total price of between $200 and $250. Initial support for the chips will be limited to Windows Mobile and Windows CE devices.