NVDIA Tegra

11031-dsc00147There has been a lot of buzz over the demo of new Tegra platforms recently. Most of the news seems to pit the Tegra against Intel for dominance of the Netbook market. Personally, I have to agree in the most part. Except for the purpose of running Windows applications, a Tegra Netbook would be a better choice than an Atom based system for one simple reason: performance per watt.

For those of you who do not understand the difference, suffice to say that the Tegra is built of a different architecture from the Atom systems. As a result, the Tegra provides a richer multi-media experience than the Atom system and consumes less power while doing it. The reason is very simple. The Tegra integrates graphics capabilities from NVIDIA and a low-power multi-media enhanced ARM based system.

For those of you who have never heard of ARM, they are the microprocessors that power your mobile phones, ipods and various other consumer electronic and multimedia devices.

The super exciting thing about this is that NVidia is able to fit an entire computer platform onto a board that is only slightly larger than your typical USB flash drive. Therefore, it is obvious which market segment is NVidia targeting – the ultra-mobile and integrated devices.

You may ask what kind of software it can run. The answer is that it can run almost everything except Windows software. You see, there has been an ARM port of Linux for ages. In fact, Ubuntu has been working on exactly that – an ARM port of Ubuntu for the purpose of placing it on ARM based Netbooks. Google has also moved the Android platform up from merely powering smart-phones to powering ARM based Netbooks. In fact, Adobe has recently announced that they will be releasing flash support for ARM as well.

So, you can see where this is headed.

Oh, I forgot to mention its performance numbers. The various sites claim that it can playback 1080p video and can run for several days on a single battery charge. Personally, knowing how these things work, the numbers sound right.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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