updated 11:30 pm EDT, Sun May 29, 2011
NVIDIA Kal-El gets early video demo
NVIDIA in another phase of its Computex show rollouts gave the first real demo of its quad-core Kal-El chip (below). A graphics and physics demo, Glowball, showed the future Tegra as the first smartphone-class chip of doing true dynamic lighting while still keeping a smooth frame rate, even with advanced physics for cloth and obstacles. Kal-El is the first mobile chip that can do this at a reasonable speed, NVIDIA said, and dropping to just two cores showed a dramatic slowdown.
The design isn't even fully optimized, according to the company. When it ships, it should be about 25 to 30 percent faster than what's been seen so far.
NVIDIA hasn't provided more details. The chipset is due to enter mass production in August and ship later in the year through phones and tablets from unidentified partners, although it will likely focus on Android 3.0 and later hardware.
Kal-El won't be the only quad-core chip arriving in late 2011 and should be joined by the custom silicon in the Sony NGP and, most likely in early 2012, a quad-core Apple chip for the next iPad. NVIDIA is counting on the quad Tegra as its Tegra 2 was recently outperformed by Apple's A5 and should give Apple an unambiguous speed advantage for the next several months.