Nvidia Tegra Kal-El, A Fifth Core Surprise! 20 September 2011Posted by computeraholic in Uncategorized.
Nvidia released the architecture of its future Tegra chip named Kal-El.
This SoC will be most likely the first quad-ARM on the market includes an original technology to control its use: the Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (VSMP). This is nothing less than adding a fifth core at very low frequency.
Kal-El is not a quad but pentacoeur. The fifth, called core companion, according to Nvidia is functionally identical to the other (ARM Cortex A9). But it is engraved according to a different process, a variation of 40 nm TSMC optimized for low power consumption. In other words, it can not operate at frequencies as high as the brothers (it tops out at 500 MHz), but in exchange, it requires a lower supply voltage and thus consumes much less energy.
This fifth wheel takes over the other four cores for tasks very few power-hungry CPU: statement of mails in the background, synchronization, audio monitoring, video playback, etc.. When the CPU is more important, Kal-El switches to