Will 2011 bring a big increase in hardware peformance due to tegra etc?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by henrikrox, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. henrikrox macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2010
    So i just read lg star x2 or optimus or whats it called. it looks great on paper.

    I mean 1080p recording, 1080p out to TVs which is great, and also 8mp camera.
    Now it sports the same battery as a galaxy s, so battery life i am concerned about.

    However, what im wondering is what does dual core tegra brings to the table? I have seen some benchmarks test between the galaxy s, the iphone and the dual core LG phone, and the LG blows the them both out of the water. But bencmarks means nothing to me, im thinking about how this will affect game development and such. I think infinity blade looks great, but what can we expect in the graphics department.

    Also do you think Apple HAS to release a dual core cpu with their next phone, or else they will fall behind the competion?

    2011, seems like a big year for hardware dont you think?
  2. wikoogle, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

    wikoogle macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    The main advantage of dual core cpus is, that they actually use less power, generate less heat, all while outperforming single core cpus. A single core cpu has to run at max voltage and still wouldn't outperform a dual core cpu that is running at a significantly lower clock speed and using a lot less power doing so. So yes, I think Apple would fall behind if they don't go dual core. I also think they would fall behind if they don't switch to a 4" screen while retaining the same height as the current iPhone 4. A 3.5" screen is so tiny for smartphones these days. All the competitors offer a nice 4" or in some cases even a 4.3" screen.

    A bigger screen makes routine tasks much more pleasent, browsing the web, reading ebooks, watching videos, playing games, everything looks much nicer on a bigger screen.

    The tegra 2 is amazing. It packs a dual cortex A9 cpu with a custom Nvidia GPU, and it uses less power and less heat than most current smartphone cpus.

    Even, more amazing is the Marvell Tri-Core 628, but I don't see much chance of Apple adopting that.

    If apple switches to the Tegra 2 or the Marvell Tri-Core 628 or any of the numerous dual core A9 configurations/SOCs, they would easily double the current hardware performance.

    This and a 4" inch screen while retaining the exact same size as the current iPhone would be the last updates they have to make until the Cortex a15 processors show up in 2012/2013.
  3. joshwithachance macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2009
    I would say with the Tegra 2 and a 4-inch screen, the iPhone 5 would be even more unstoppable than the current iPhone 4, which already works like a dream!
  4. wikoogle, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

    wikoogle macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    I agree. Those are the two upgrades that I think the phone most desperately needs. Also, since both the Tegra 2 and the Marvell Tri-Core 628 natively output HD content, a mini hdmi port would be pretty cool as well.

    There are so many different up and coming mobile SOCs, CPUs and GPUs that it confuses most anyone trying to keep up. For the uninitiated, an SOC is an integrated chip that includes a CPU, a GPU and various task specific processors as well, and each SOC has it's own codename. I thought it would be useful to list all the major ones, how they perform relative to each other, and thus give everyone here a good framework as to what might show up in future iPhones and when.

    One key factor when considering mobile CPUs and GPUs is the number of cores, rather than the clockspeed. Mobile CPUs and GPUs must conserve battery life and minimize heat, and mobile devices always downclock their GPUs and CPUs for this reason. Muticore designs go a long way in maximizing battery life and minimizing heat without limiting performance. This is why the CPU I'm most excited about is ARM's 4 core version of the Cortex a15 (coming in 2012) and the GPUs that I'm most excited about are multicore designs such as the 4 core Mali 400.

    Another key factor to keep in mind is the actual speed of the ram itself. Mobile ram is extremely slow. While general applications run fine on slow ram, quality graphics benefit greatly from fast ram. The two blazing fast mobile rams available are Mobile XDR (not yet found in any mobile devices to my knowledge, though the PS3's CPU makes use of 256 mbs of XDR ram) and the MoSys 1T-SRAM that is rumored to be found in the Nintendo 3DS and is already found in the Nintendo Wii (24 MBs) and Nintendo Gamecube (24 MBs).


    ARM Cortex A8 - This is the chip that found itself in all of 2010's most advanced smartphones. It's also found in the iPhone 4 and iPad.

    ARM Cortex A9 - This is the chip that's going to dominate 2011. Most of the 2011's most advanced smartphones (including the iPhone 5) will likely feature a dual core version of the Cortex A9. In that configuration, it's more than twice as powerful as the Cortex A8 while consuming less power and generating less heat.

    ARM Cortex A15 - This chip should show up in smartphones sometime in 2012. Most configurations will feature a quad core version of the Cortex A15. In terms of performance, it's reported to be five times as powerful as the Cortex A8 found in the iPhone/iPad.

    There are obviously other mobile CPUs in the pipeline as well. AMD is working on one. Intel is working on one. And Sony is working on a mobile version of their Cell cpu that may well show up in the PSP2. However, ARM has such a huge headstart over the competitors in the mobile CPU arena that it will likely take years before any of the competitors show up in a smartphone.


    The most common technique used to benchmark mobile GPU's is the maximum theoretical number of triangles they can render per second. So I included this number where possible. However, that number depends on the clockspeed the GPU is actually being run at. Most SOCs limit the clockspeed of the GPU in order to maximize battery life.

    PowerVR SGX535 GPU - 28 million (triangles per second). This is the GPU found in the iPhone 4, iPad and most of Intel's Integrated Graphics Cards found in laptops (GMA 500/600). The iPhone 3GS also uses this GPU but clocked at a mere 200mhz. At that speed, it only pushes 7 million. We don't know what mhz the iPhone 4 and iPad's GPU are clocked at.

    nVidia's Custom GPU found in the Tegra 2 SOC - 71 million. This GPU's native support for Unreal Engine 3, OpenGL 2.0, and a dedicated processor for 1080p/HDMI output support are all impressive.

    PowerVR SGX540 GPU - 90 million. This is the GPU found in the upcoming OMAP4 SOC, Snapdragon Gen II/III SOC and the Hummingbird SOC. The GPU in the Hummingbird SOC maxes out at 28 million due to it being clocked at 200 mhz and due to limitations related to the memory bandwidth. We will have to wait for the OMAP4 SOC and Snapdragon Gen III to come out before we see if these SOCs have similar limitations.

    PowerVR SGX554MP GPU - Unknown performance. This is a GPU that PowerVR announced a week ago with no information at all regarding it's relative performance to other GPU. It's a multicore gpu and thus the performance would scale based on the number of cores used.

    Marvell's Custom GPU found in the Tri-Core Armada 628 SOC - Marvell claims that this GPU pushes a whopping 200 million triangles per second. As always, the actual devices will likely limit the clockspeed in order to conserve battery life so the real world performance will be significantly weaker.

    ARM Mali 400 GPU - This is the GPU found in the ST Ericsson U8500 SOC and the Samsung Orion SOC. This is a MP GPU that can scale anywhere from 1-4 cores. The only official number ARM released is that the much much weaker ARM Mali 200 GPU pushes 16 million triangles per second. However, Samsung claims that it's Orion SOC featuring this GPU delivers 5x the performance of the Hummingbird. Samsung previously claimed that their Hummingbird SOC is capable of pushing 90 million triangles per second, where as it's real world maximum performance ended up being around 28 million triangles per second. As a result, the rumors regarding the theortical performance of the four core design range anywhere from 130 million to a whopping 450 million triangles per second. However, the key limitation as always is the clockspeed. A four core design could deliver very impressive performance even at a low clockspeed.

    For comparison's sake...

    Xbox 360's GPU - 500 million triangles per second.

    The Playstation 3's GPU - 250 million. This is an unfair characterization. The Cell CPU in the PS3 is actually a graphical beast and can do an astonishing amount of legwork for the GPU when used properly. One reason is that the Cell CPU packs 256 mbs of blazing fast XDR ram that runs a full 4.5x faster than the GDDR3 ram found in the PS3's GPU and Xbox 360's CPU and GPU. XDR ram runs circles around the DDR3 ram used in cutting edge desktops and laptops as well. This is a key reason why the PS3 manages to produce graphics like those found in Uncharted 2/Killzone 2 that nothing on the Xbox 360 comes close to. The ram used in most mobile devices (the Nintendo 3DS being a notable exception) is no where close to running at even GDDR3 speed, much less coming close to the blazing fast speeds of XDR ram. In addition, mobile devices often must downclock their gpu and cpu performance in order to minimize heat and conserve battery life. So don't expect to see PS3 quality graphics until quad core CPUs and GPUs show up in smartphones.


    iPhone 4/iPad SOC aka. the A4 - Cortex-A8 CPU, PowerVR SGX 535 GPU

    Samsung Orion SOC - Cortex-A9 Dual Core 1GHz CPU, ARM Mali 400 GPU

    ST Ericsson U8500 SOC - Cortex-A9 Dual Core 1.2GHz, ARM Mali 400 GPU

    OMAP4 SOC - Cortex-A9 Dual Core, SGX540 GPU

    Qualcomm Snapdragon SOCs - Gen II 1.3GHz Cortex-A8, Adreno 205 - Gen III 1.2GHz Cortex-A8 Dual Core, Adreno 220 GPU aka. PowerVRSGX540 GPU / 1.5GHz Cortex-A9 Dual Core, Adreno 220 aka. PowerVRSGX540 GPU. There was already a Gen I Snapdragon SOC that is now outdated.

    Tegra 2 SOC - Cortex-A9 Dual Core, nVidia GPU. nVidia also announced a Tegra 3 planned for the end of 2011 and a Tegra 4 utilizing the ARM Cortex a15 CPU planned for 2012/2013. There was already a Tegra 1 SOC that is now outdated.

    Marvell Tri-Core Armada 628 SOC - Three A9 Cores, 1.5 GHz for the two main cores, and 624 MHz for the low power core, all combined with an unknown GPU that Marvell claims will push a whopping 200 million triangles per second.
  5. thetexan macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2009
    Apparently they're measuring battery life in days now instead of hours with these new dual-core chips. We will see a few in Q1 2011 with an entire selection of them by Summer 2011. If Apple doesn't have a dual-core in the iPhone 5 (or 4S) then they really will be falling behind quickly.
  6. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    Short answer - Yes.

    Longer answer...

    My money is on RIM making some big news with their QNX OS in 2011, but I say Android will have an even bigger year in sales since Tegra 2 will be everywhere on Android devices. Android really blew up in sales in just 2010. It might seem like a cheap imitation of iOS in the beginning, but it seems on par with it now and the hardware could surpass the next iPhone. QNX to me is like WebOS on roids and everything else looks outdated compared to it. Also expect hardware improvements from Palm and software improvements from Microsoft for WP7. CES and Mobile World Congress should be showstoppers. 2011 is also the year we see and hear about new hardware coming from Nintendo and Sony for the video game market. It is still early for the new decade, so expect new hardware announcements.

    I saw Noah Kravitz's unboxing vid of the Nexus S, and Android seems to be on par with the iPhone in Ui slickness and responsiveness thanks to Gingerbread. Imagine when Honeycomb and Ice Cream show up? I don't see Apple getting into Tegra 2 in 2011. Nvidia is a member of the Open Handset Alliance led by Google. Tegra 2 should appear on Android FIRST. Maybe 2012 we might see Apple use Nvidia. Let them work out their expansion with other carriers and CDMA first. Even if they did add Tegra 2, the UI already feels boring to me. I say iPhone 5 is on A8. Apple is not about cutting edge hardware. Look at Macs and iPods when they got surpassed in hardware. Apple simply makes products that work. Great design, software, and ease of use. Markets them well and people buy it. MacRumor crowd is more for the heatseekers. The tech geeks that want the latest and greatest and love to crunch numbers with the spec sheets. Fanboys want to treat this like some kinda horse race. Apple and Google will be fine no matter if either finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or whatever. No need to feel insecure or self-defensive with your purchases or team you want to back. They got your money already and you should be happy or content if that is what you went for.
  7. henrikrox thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; nb-no) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Thanks for all your answers guys.

    Some really insightful people in here:)
  8. aohus, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

    aohus macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2010
    some well made comments

    If you read this post, it goes in depth with the potential of Tegra 2.

    Here are my guesses as to what will happen in 2011

    January 6, 2011: CES
    Motorola, HTC, LG, and other handset makers introduce their dual core phones (Tegra 2 for now. Not sure if the Orion processor from Samsung, Texas Instruments' TI-OMAP 4440, or Qualcomm's next-gen Snapdragon process will be ready by then).

    Verizon introduces LTE network with their line of Droid's running dual core. Motorola Etna is to run Gingerbread, be LTE compatible, and have a Tegra 2 processor (This is the same as Motorola Olympus slated for release on AT&T in late january). Screenshots of the Olympus

    Verizon announces iPhone on its network. No leaks as of yet as to what it will look like, but I will not be surprised if it looks different from Iphone4.

    February 14, 2011: Mobile World Congress
    Recent rumor is suggesting that Honeycomb Android OS will be released, giving it a 2.4 release, not 3.0 as many expected.

    By this time, Dual Core phones should be out on all 4 carriers, all running Tegra 2.

    May 10, 2011: Google I/O
    Android releases the next major Android OS update to 3.0 to smartphones, solidifying unity between smartphone and tablets.
  9. Cod3rror, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

    Cod3rror macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2010
    Glad that so many members here are so well informed regarding the dual core phones using LESS battery, not more.

    Anyway, here are SoC that are supposed to be out in 2011

    Samsung Orion - Cortex-A9 Dual Core 1GHz, ARM Mali 400 GPU

    ST Ericsson U8500 - Cortex-A9 Dual Core 1.2GHz, ARM Mali 400 GPU

    OMAP4 - Cortex-A9 Dual Core, SGX540 GPU - OMAP4430 1.0GHz / OMAP4440 1.5GHz

    Qualcomm Snapdragon - Gen II 1.3GHz Cortex-A8, Adreno 205 - Gen III 1.2GHz Cortex-A8 Dual Core, Adreno 220 / 1.5GHz Cortex-A9 Dual Core, Adreno 220

    Tegra 2 - Cortex-A9 Dual Core, nVidia GPU

    From all the info I have, Tegra 2 is actually going to be the weakest, with the Orion and U8500 being the most powerful, OMAP4 and Snappy being tied.

    HTC Nexus Two is rumoured to have a dual core Snapdragon 1.2GHz, 1GB RAM and a high res screen (Higher than 800x480)

    2011, should a very interesting year for mobile phones, I hope they'll move to 64GB storage aswell as 768/1GB RAM as standard.

    Great info, thank you! I'd also add Samsung Galaxy S2 for February MWC, Eldar Murtazin(blogger in the know) confirmed that.

    As for the iPhone needing the dual core processor, well, iOS is so well optimized and so fast, Apple might just skip it, Android still does not have hardware acceleration and is nowhere near as smooth as the iOS.
  10. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    You can already feel the NEXT GENERATION of cell phones and tablets are upon us within a few months. Tegra 2 changes everything. I've been waiting for Nvidia to make it big since I saw a video demo about Tegra back in 2008. I remember feeling excited when the Zune HD used a Tegra. If you use a Zune HD, you can see how solid the battery life and fluid it is compared to the Snapdragon on say a Nexus One. Nvidia being part of the OHA is going to take Android to the next level. After 2-3 years, seems like everyone is dropping Qualcomm and switching to Nvidia. Everybody is finally catching on. I wished the Sony Ericsson Z1 used Tegra 2, but it won't.

    Nvidia Tegra HD Mobile Phone - Development Demo (in 2008!)

    Android 3.0 Honeycomb to use NVIDIA Tegra 2 as reference platform

    NVIDIA Tegra 2 proven to be the fastest mobile chip

    Nvidia talks Tegra 2 and the importance of multi-core processors


  11. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Steve loves his battery life. That's what will get apple to bring this to the iphone asap, rather than any performance/speed considerations.
  12. wikoogle, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

    wikoogle macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    Don't pay too much attention to the clockspeeds. The limitation is almost never the gpu or cpu's clockspeed, it's the memory bandwidth and the number of cores.

    Just about every manufacturer ends up having to downclock the clockspeed of both the CPU and GPU in order to conserve battery life. By adding more cores, you can get great performance out of a device while using less power.
  13. WiiDSmoker macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2009
    Hermitage, TN
  14. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I don't think they are going to change the screen again and make it a pain for developers to fix all their apps. I think we're going to stick with the 3.5" retina display tech.
  15. twcbc macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2010
    The only thing Jobs loves is making money. Battery life is just an excuse to kick flash out of iOS. So, even dual core does bring more battery life to mobile device. Apple won't go for dual core asap. Beaware of that Apple just spend billion on their own A8. Jumping from single core A8 to dual core just doesn't pay off.
  16. Cod3rror macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2010
    Nah, Tri-Core and ARM A15 will probably come out in 2012.
  17. Savor Suspended


    Jun 18, 2010
    Man, I love my iPhone 4 just like many posters on here. But every time I read about dual core, Tegra 2, any new OSes, glass-free 3D screens from Sharp, or whatever is in store for Android, I just look at my phone and can already feel it is dated. I thought 2010 was going to be a jump forward to the next gen. I thought iPhone 4 could at least maintain its position as a top calibur phone into 2012. I thought wrong. We needed to be even more forward thinking just to keep pace. 2010 was a nice jump forward into single core 1Ghz processors, but 2011 could be an even bigger leap than this year when it comes to 3D graphics, battery life, and so on. We are going to have some kick ass games, folks!

    In 2011, my wishlist is this -

    BlackBerry PlayBook
    - My likely internet tablet. Sorry iPad fans. I don't discriminate competitors and have an eclectic taste in different brands just like in my music. I want to try something new and owning an iPhone 4 already makes iOS feel redundant if I got an iPad. So what if iPad or iPhone 5 gets Tegra 2? Doesn't the iOS' UI already feel boring? It is a highly app-driven platform, but I get sick of a bunch of apps I hardly use too. This PlayBook tablet could be most significant release RIM has ever done and QNX and TAT will get them back in the game in the mobile wars. I don't care about Steve Jobs rant about screen size on tablets because I prefer PlayBook's compact size to carry around. At $399, the price seems very reasonable compared to an iPad.

    BlackBerry PlayBook and iPad Comparison: Web Fidelity

    BlackBerry PlayBook Demo

    Bloggers Reactions to the new BlackBerry PlayBook

    Nintendo 3DS - First mass market 3D device and Nintendo wants to cater with the core audience again. Most likely the hottest gadget seller of 2011 and probably be sold out for most of the year. Better start camping out. eBay, eBay, eBay. The profits on a hot item like that should pay off for a free one. Wanted red originally, but will likely get black because I want the screen to match everything else and like black more than that aqua blue they are also releasing on launch day. Must have Snake Eater! Fav MGS game. Eva's cleavage in 3D! :D

    Nintendo 3DS Features Trailer

    Android "gaming phone" w/ Tegra 2 & Honeycomb - If SE or anyone at Sony can get their act together!

    Please Sony Ericsson! Use the Z1 as a prototype experiment, but make a better phone using Tegra 2 sooner!

    I may toss the Sony PSP2 aside, but we'll see. I've owned both a DS Lite and PSP and actually do prefer the latter because it caters more to the core gamers and I think its more versatile and feels more comfortable to hold. But the PSP2 needs to blow me away. The iPhone 4 will still be my main phone until June 2012. By then, I will demote it as an iPod touch and might use BlackBerry QNX phones, WP7, Palm, or stick with Android.

    I think the manufacturers will milk dual cores for a few years until we eventually get quad core between 2013-2015. It is still a business and introducing so many things so soon will kill off the profits. They will hold back on us for a few years. Tegra 2 is barely making it onto phones two years later than expected. I can already hear Steve Jobs shaking in his boots...

    Steve Job's Epic 5-Minute Anti-Google Rant

    Steve Jobs Android Anxiety Disorder

  18. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    Disagreed. It works like crap, even on Android. In fact, it works inconsistently and unreliably that its not even worth considering.
  19. JD914 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    Dutchess County NY
    End of thread
  20. Minimoose 360 macrumors 65816

    Minimoose 360

    Jul 7, 2008

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