Posted in: Mobile phones, Tablets

NVIDIA’s Kal-El quad-core chipset promises great power efficiency thanks to an extra core

NVIDIA’s Kal-El has a secret – the quad-core CPU actually has a fifth core, called a companion core. It’s a low-power core that is meant to handle background tasks while the phone is idle (e.g. syncing email, checking Twitter for new messages and so on).

The architecture of the companion core has been designed with power efficiency in mind and its clock speed goes up to 500MHz.That doesn’t offer a lot of performance, but for a lot of tasks you don’t need it – and it manages to offer great power savings.

When you need more processing power, the companion core switches off and the fast (but more power-hungry) cores come out – either one, two or all four of them, depending on how much processing power you need.

The switching between the different modes is handled by the chipset, so there’s no need for modifications to the OS or individual apps – that should make it really easy for manufacturers to switch to the Kal-El platform.

The Kal-El chipset also includes more powerful graphics – the 12 core GPU promises 3x the performance of Tegra 2. If you’re not afraid of geek talk, you can check out the white papers (one and two, PDF) for more details on NVIDIA’s upcoming chipset.

We’ve seen Kal-El run Windows 8 and it promises console-level graphics for Android – the only problem now is that there aren’t any upcoming devices with Kal-El, though there might be tablets coming out in time for Christmas (fingers crossed) .

Thanks, XW for sending this in!

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