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Nvidia Tegra 4i CPU Includes Integrated LTE Modem, 60 GPU Cores

Not content to focus on delivering high-performance alone, Nvidia today unveiled its Tegra 4i, a compact version of its next-generation Tegra 4 CPU with an integrated Nvidia i500 LTE modem. Targeted at the mainstream smartphone market, Tegra 4i provides a less expensive, more space-efficient SoC than its big brother, one that the company says will be half the size of competitors like the Qualcomm Snapdragon S800. 

"Nvidia is delivering for the first time a single, integrated processor that powers all the major functions of a smartphone," Nvidia SVP of Mobile Phil Carmack said in a press release. "Tegra 4i phones will provide amazing computing power, world-class phone capabilities, and exceptionally long battery life."

The 2.3-GHz Tegra 4i processor is based on ARM's low-power R4 Cortex-A9 and features four high-performance cores and one battery saver core for low-power situations. Its 60 GPU Cores, five times the number in Tegra 3, allow the CPU to deliver what Nvidia calls "console quality" 1080p gaming experiences.  

The larger, more expensive Tegra 4 has the same architecture but provides even stronger performance with its Cortex-A15 based CPU and 72 GPU cores. An Nvidia rep told us we can expect to see Tegra 4 in high-end phones while Tegra 4i becomes common in more mainstream devices.  

Like the Tegra 4, the Tegra 4i features Nvidia's "Chimera" Computational Photography Architecture, which enables several new photo features not previously available on mobile devices. Always-on HDR functionality allows Tegra 4i-based devices to capture high dynamic range photos and videos without significant lag. HDR panoramic captures panormas in real-time from different angles, without forcing users to rotate their phones in a single direction or wait over 30 seconds for post processing.  The Tap-to-track feature keeps a particular object in focus even as both it and you move around.

To demonstrate how manufacturers can deploy the Tegra 4i processor, Nvidia also unveiled its Phoenix reference design smartphone. We expect to get a closer look at both the Tegra 4i processor and Phoenix smartphone next week at Mobile World Congress.