At last month’s CES, NVIDIA unveiled something we all expected: Tegra 4. For contrast, it also unveiled something most of us didn’t: an i500 “Soft Modem”. It became clear at that point that NVIDIA had big plans for its mobile integration in the future, and it sure didn’t take too long for that future to get here. Introducing the Tegra 4i.
Tegra 4i is best-considered to be the smaller sibling of the Tegra 4 because it’s spec’d as such. But on the flipside, the reason for this is to increase the level of integration into future smartphones. In the same chip, NVIDIA combined both a Tegra 4 processor (boasting 60 cores vs. 72) and the i500 LTE modem. Built in conjunction with ARM, the 4i SoC is said to be “half the size” of its nearest competitor, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800.
||Cortex-A15 + Battery-saver Core
||R4 Cortex-A9 + Battery-saver Core
|Tegra 4 GPU Cores
||Optional i500 Modem
||Integrated i500 Modem
|Chimera Computational Photography Architecture
Like Tegra 4, 4i features a quad-core design which has a fifth core added in for battery-saving purposes. Its architecture is based on the aging A9, so it’s not going to be quite as powerful as the A15 in Tegra 4 even if the Tegra core counts matched. Compared to Tegra 3, however, things look much more impressive. That chip also used an A9 chip but bundled in a mere 12 Tegra cores.
Overall, Tegra 4i has some major potential and we look forwarding to seeing it paired with some great phones in the future (at least, we are hoping that becomes the case).