Skip to main content

Nvidia Tegra has 8 processors in Zune HD, no kitchen sink

As Tom's Hardware is reporting (via Nvidia's official press release (opens in new tab)), the Zune HD, which is using Nvidia's much-hyped Tegra chipset, has a whopping eight processors to achieve that super-smooth OS:

Specifically, the Tegra provides the Zune HD with eight independent processors, each designed for a specific class of tasks - among them are an HD video processor, an audio processor, a graphics processor, and two ARM cores. Furthermore, the processors can work together or independently to minimize power consumption.

The press release goes on to say that Nvidia has no fewer than "50 active Tegra processor-based design projects currently in the works today," which is a heck of a lot, if you ask us.

And since we believe WM7 devices are going to need Tegra (or Snapdragon) to run as a requirement, you can begin to understand just how massive an overhaul in raw-processing ability Microsoft's new mobile OS will be bringing in 2010.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

13 Comments
  • Which is why I'm really going to do my best to patient and try to wait out the two major HTC devices getting widespread carrier adoption (TP2, Diamond2) are basically just cosmetic updates with no major update to the guts. Maybe if I was on VZW the Omnia II could suck me in. But I've been patient with my old Sprint Touch thus far. Other than screen res/size, even 2-yr newer devices like the Diamond2 don't offer all that much more in terms of features/functionality than I have already. Much bigger changes are "just" around the corner.
  • i was totally thinking the same thing, but then i heard about how on tmobile u could call in over the phone and give a promo code or something and get it for 150. and that one website was selling it for 199. for 199 i'm still kinda of "meh" but if ATT offers it for 150 especially on their discount premium website i'll totally get it. but at 299, or 350...they can kiss my ass
  • I want to wait also, but I've got a Tilt and I don't think I can handle having it for another year or so. 1 year contract here I come.
  • Well I'm still rockin' a HTC Titan and my "new every two" hits in November. So I'll probably be upgrading to the TP2. Although VZW has the TP for $99 with a two year contract right now. If they are still available at that price come November, that would be a free upgrade for me. The TP2 is probably gonna cost me at least $250-300. If that ends up being the situation if will be a hard choice to make. That $99 TP is tempting me right now, but i have a feeling I would regret pulling that trigger.
  • Mostly just a load of marketing BS. Every mobile platform contains several different chips, to handle different specialized tasks. The "dual-core ARM" is not two ARM11 chips, as one might imagine, but rather a single ARM11 (at 600 MHz) and an ARM9 to handle the radio baseband communications (e.g. not for user tasks). By that standard, every mobile processor is "multi-core." Even if you theoretically had a multi-core processor, it would be of absolutely no use in a WM device, as Windows CE 5 and 6 do not support SMP. Nvidia's just trying to deflect valid concern over Tegra's outdated CPU. The ARM Cortex A8 CPU is twice as fast, clock for clock, as Tegra's ARM11, so at 600 MHz, the iPhone 3GS' CPU is twice as fast. Now Snapdragon is slightly faster than Cortex A8 clock-for-clock, so at 1 GHz, Snapdragon is 3-4x faster than Tegra. Tegra's GPU is quite powerful- around 80% faster than Snapdragon's Imageon chip and about 40% faster than the 3GS' PowerVR SGX535, but the outdated CPU more than kills that advantage when you're talking about a general-purpose device like a phone. For a single-purpose media player like the ZuneHD, sure, a media-centric platform lacking general processing power might be ok, but it's sub-optimal for a WM device.
  • "Even if you theoretically had a multi-core processor, it would be of absolutely no use in a WM device, as Windows CE 5 and 6 do not support SMP." No one is talking about this for Windows CE 5 or 6 but rather 7 (Chelan) which is reportedly the basis for WM7. And Chelean, coincidentally *does* support SMP, so I find this to be a strawman. While "ARM 11" may not be impressive, a nVidia graphics processor I think is something to be excited about. It's on the graphics-end that WM devices have suffered. Re: speed comparisons, I won't engage is theoretical head-to head match ups--totally pointless (however, going by Qualcomm's past track record, they have *a lot* to prove with Snapdragon to win me over). iPhone may need a processor that is "twice as fast" because they are running a desktop OS on a phone--that doesn't make it a good thing however.
  • By the time WM 7 ships (realistically mid/late 2010), the first-generation Tegra will be outdated. ARM has stated that Cortex A9 chips (which is even faster than A8 and in multi-core configurations) will be shipping in phones in 2010, and implementations of A9 like the TI OMAP4 demolish Tegra in pretty much every way. Incidentally, Tegra 2, which nVidia marketing claims will be 4x faster than the first-gen chipset, will be based on Cortex A9 as well. If anything, the iPhone OS uses CPU/GPU power _more_ efficiently than WM. The first iPhone had only a 412 MHz ARM11 with VFP (well, 667 MHz underclocked), yet it performed better than any WM device does today. Partially this is because WM supports only the ancient ARMv5 instructions and thus does not support hardware floating-point calculations (which iPhone OS X makes heavy use of). The graphics problem in WM is now not the lack of graphics hardware (which most phones have now, even if not as fast as the PowerVR SGX535, ATI Imageon Z430, or Tegra GPU). It's mainly that WM lacks a composited desktop and a unified first-party graphics API. GAPI's been deprecated, Direct3D Mobile never really got anywhere (many OEMs don't even include drivers for hardware acceleration, and where they do, it's usually just a wrapper for OpenGL ES), and OpenGL ES has become the industry standard outside of WM but not something developers can consistently be assured will be actually be present and accelerated on a WM device. Based on the rest of MS' 3D strategy, I assume at some point, XNA will hit WM on top of a new version of D3DM and stricter driver requirements for OEMs, but at the moment, it's not a pretty picture for 3D on WM. And I think arguing that WM doesn't need more CPU power today is a bit amusing. Tegra has little more in the way of CPU speed than the infamous Qualcomm MSM7200 series (ARM11 at 528 MHz). So is MSM7200-level performance suddenly ok now?
  • I dont think your comparison is valid. You are comparing an Intel Core i7 with integrated graphics with a Core 2 Duo with GeForce graphics card. Most of the functions done by the Cortex like UI, 3D graphics, audio, are done by specialized processors on the Tegra. Sure in raw CPU horsepower the Cortex obviously wins against the ARM11, but thats not how things are done with mobile devices.
  • It's not at all like comparing integrated graphics and a dedicated GeForce. In the iPhone 3GS, the Cortex A8 is paired with a PowerVR SGX535, which is, in the worst of conditions, only about 40% slower than Tegra's GPU. Both can handle 720p video and complex 3D graphics, and both are blown out of the water by the 45nm Snapdragon, which is shipping for "smartbooks" at the moment and which includes a new ATI GPU twice the speed of Tegra's GPU. On a composited desktop system, as in the iPhone (but not Windows Mobile yet), the GPU handles the UI and 2D/3D graphics. So the Cortex doesn't have to handle such things-- that's what the PowerVR GPU is for. On WM, the CPU handles all compositing, so Tegra would be at a further disadvantage as its aged CPU is already consumed by normal system processes. The jump from ARM11 to Cortex and Snapdragon is a heck of a lot larger than that from C2D to i7-- it's more like Pentium-D to i7. In addition, Cortex' NEON floating-point engine makes it a lot faster at floating-point operations (key to lots of multimedia apps) than Tegra (which is just standard ARM11 with the VFP option), and Snapdragon's custom FPU is even faster.
  • Rad, you are really freaking me out and it seems that you know what you're talking about. I have been pumped regarding Tegra for quite a long time. The thing is, the NVIDIA prototype device showed something neither Snapdragon or the iPhone 3GS have been able to demonstrate. Outrageous multitasking, with an HD video running + youtube HD running + Opera Browser windows running in 3D rendering (!), with 3D widgets being overlayed on top, and Quake 3 running at the same freaking time. This is crazy, and what's crazier is it's all super smooth. What's even crazier than that is the crazy battery life that cannot even be compared to Snapdragon's... Sorry, even if what you say makes sense, I'll choose to believe my eyes. I haven't even started to compare to Toshiba's Snapdragon device... Submitted by TareX (not verified) on Sat, 08/29/200
  • OMG RAD just shut up already!!!!YOU are trying way to hard,but no one is buying it.
  • Rad, you are really freaking me out and it seems that you know what you're talking about. I have been pumped regarding Tegra for quite a long time. The thing is, the NVIDIA prototype device showed something neither Snapdragon or the iPhone 3GS have been able to demonstrate. Outrageous multitasking, with an HD video running + youtube HD running + Opera Browser windows running in 3D rendering (!), with 3D widgets being overlayed on top, and Quake 3 running at the same freaking time. This is crazy, and what's crazier is it's all super smooth. What's even crazier than that is the crazy battery life that cannot even be compared to Snapdragon's... Sorry, even if what you say makes sense, I'll choose to believe my eyes. I haven't even started to compare to Toshiba's Snapdragon device...
  • Snapdragon vs Tegra once and for all:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5sEIf5-FJs HD video
    Tegra: 30 hrs; Snapdragon: FAIL. Quake 3:
    Tegra: 30 fps; Snapdragon: 5 fps. Flash Acceleration:
    Tegra: Present; Snapdragon: Absent. Music playback:
    Tegra: 25 days; Snapdragon: 2.5 days.