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Nvidia Launches Tegra 4: 72 GPU Cores, 4G LTE, One-Shot HDR

Nvidia has escalated the mobile arms race at CES 2013 with the new Tegra 4 processor, which combines 4 A15 CPU cores with a whopping 72 GPU cores. Plus, Nvidia has integrated a 4G LTE modem for the first time. You can even shoot two photos at once, achieving a one-shot HDR effect.

How fast is this new processor? It took the Tegra 4 chip 27 seconds to load 25 Web pages, versus 50 seconds for the Samsung-powered Nexus 10. In other words, Tegra 4 is about twice as fast. Nvidia also claims that the Tegra 4 smokes the iPad 4's A6X processor, as well as the CPUs inside the Droid DNA (Qualcomm) and Kindle Fire HD (TI OMAP4470).

It gets better. Nvidia's new computational photography engine lets mobile devices take two shots at once, letting you get the benefits of HDR mode without the lag. The iPhone 5 takes about 2 seconds to create HDR photos, while Tegra 4 is about 10X faster. Nvidia demonstrated this awesome performance by photographing CEO Jen-Hsun Huang with a prototype tablet. HDR also works for video and in burst mode, which is pretty amazing.

Other applications could include HDR Panorama, strobe motion effects, 3D reconstruction and object tracking so it stays in focus even while in motion.

As you might expect, Tegra 4 offers fast gaming performance, as we saw during a demo of the new "Dead Trigger 2" game. We could see a sick amount of detail as the player brought down a hulking giant towering above multiple buildings. 

Another benefit of Tegra 4 is that it includes Nvidia's new i500 software-defined modem, which offers programmable cores. The end result is that the i500 is 40 percent smaller than a conventional die. Because it's a software modem, you can better account for interference and achieve better wireless performance.