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Nvidia Responds to Kindle Fire HD Performance Claims

By - Source: Fudzilla | B 29 comments

Nvidia responds to Amazon's claims that the dual-core OMAP4470 is faster than the quad-core Tegra 3 chip.

Thursday during a press conference in Santa Monica, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage and revealed a batch of new products and services, one of which is the upcoming Kindle Fire HD. According to Bezos, the SoC of choice is Texas Instruments' own OMAP4470, designed to drive tablets, ultrathin laptops and other mobile computing devices. It's a dual-core chip, but Bezos made waves by claiming it's faster than Nvidia's popular quad-core Tegra 3 SoC.

According to the specs, the OMAP4470 is manufactured in 45-nm technology at TI's own fabs. Its maximum rated frequency is 1.8 GHz, and the LPDDR2 memory works at 466 MHz on a 32-bit wide BUS in dual-channel mode. The chip's GPU is based on Imagination's PowerVR SGX544 architecture, and is clocked at 384 MHz and packs a dedicated 2D core.

Despite being a quad-core SoC, Nvidia's Tegra 3 reportedly can only do 8 billion floating point operations per second whereas the OMAP4470 can do 12 billion. Even more, the Nvidia chip reportedly only has a 5.3 GB/s memory bandwidth whereas the TI solution has a wider 7.5 GB/s bandwidth thanks to the dual-channel LPDDR2.

Because of these differences, Bezos claims that the Texas Instruments dual-core chip is faster than Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3. Naturally Nvidia wasn't going to sit around and leave that comparison unchallenged.

"It’s good to see companies continuing to use Tegra 3 as the standard they compare their products to," stated Igor Stanek, Nvidia Senior Product PR Manager EMEAI. "The immensely popular Nexus 7 has shown the capabilities of the Tegra 3 processor. You can’t measure the consumer’s overall experience with synthetic benchmarks. A better way to measure is with real world apps and use cases. Tegra 3 has shown time and time again that it delivers a great experience for consumers, whether they’re gaming, streaming video or using other apps."

We've heard this song and dance before. Basically it boils down to the relationship between the software developer and the chip maker. Nvidia could develop an SoC with enough horses to power a positronic brain, but if the software isn't coded to take advantage of the chip's unique qualities, then you have just another sluggish android with a child-like mentality. Throwing that software on another, more powerful chip may produce the same sloppy performance.

Despite the mine is bigger than yours debate, Nvidia's Tegra 3 solution currently resides in two of the four most important tablet platforms which speaks for itself in regards to who packs plenty of performance: Google's Nexus 7 and Microsoft's Surface RT. So far it's unknown what Barnes & Noble plans to pack into its Nook Tablet HD slated for a November release, but if Microsoft has anything to do with it, Tegra 3 will be the SoC of choice as well.

Here are some of the key benefits of the OMAP4470 SoC:

* Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore with Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP)
* IVA 3 multimedia accelerator
* Integrated PowerVR SGX544 GPU
* Dedicated 2D GPU
* Supports multiple screens
* Can support up to QXGA (2048 x 1536) resolution with UIs composed of multiple blended layers
* Dual-channel LPDDR2
* M-Shield mobile security technology
* USB 2.0 On-The-Go High Speed
* HDMI Output
* 1080p HD video performance
* 1080p Stereoscopic 3D video performance
* 20MP imaging performance per second – main camera
* 12MP imaging performance per second – dual cameras


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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    christarp , September 7, 2012 10:31 PM
    The tegra 3 is old and there are far superior chips out right now.
  • 16 Hide
    dgingeri , September 7, 2012 10:17 PM
    Well, if they would have mad the Tegra with a decent memory controller (a common failing with Nvidia) it wouldn't be stomped on so much. I have a Tegra 2 tablet (Galaxy Tab 10.1) and that thing is slow, specifically because of the bad memory performance. It's barely faster than my old Samsung Captivate phone (Samsung Hummingbird single core processor.) It's not that hard and doesn't take that much power to put on a dual channel memory controller. Nvidia just couldn't get that right.
  • 15 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 7, 2012 10:56 PM
    nocteratushow about multi-thread apps that uses 4 cores?

    Yeah, pretty rare still on desktop PCs, let alone a glorified e-reader
Other Comments
    Display all 29 comments.
  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , September 7, 2012 10:10 PM
    Why have 8 billion FLOPS if you can have 12 Million FLOPS?!

    Sorry that made me lol.
  • 6 Hide
    vertigo_2000 , September 7, 2012 10:17 PM
    louislariosWhy have 8 billion FLOPS if you can have 12 Million FLOPS?!Sorry that made me lol.

    Saw that too... made me scratch my head.
  • 16 Hide
    dgingeri , September 7, 2012 10:17 PM
    Well, if they would have mad the Tegra with a decent memory controller (a common failing with Nvidia) it wouldn't be stomped on so much. I have a Tegra 2 tablet (Galaxy Tab 10.1) and that thing is slow, specifically because of the bad memory performance. It's barely faster than my old Samsung Captivate phone (Samsung Hummingbird single core processor.) It's not that hard and doesn't take that much power to put on a dual channel memory controller. Nvidia just couldn't get that right.
  • 2 Hide
    nocteratus , September 7, 2012 10:20 PM
    how about multi-thread apps that uses 4 cores?
  • -1 Hide
    darkchazz , September 7, 2012 10:23 PM
    SGX544... nuff said.
    nvidia, tell me when you make a gpu that doesn't lag when gaming... in the meantime, shut up.

    Funny though they've managed to fool a lot of people into thinking that T3 is powerful by paying off developers for exclusive titles and effects etc...
  • 19 Hide
    christarp , September 7, 2012 10:31 PM
    The tegra 3 is old and there are far superior chips out right now.
  • 5 Hide
    Maxx_Power , September 7, 2012 10:48 PM
    Yep, Tegra 2 was a disaster developer and software wise. Tegra 3 is old, and having more cores bolted to the A9 isn't going to compensate.

    Also, where are all the Cortex A15 based tablets ? Those are far better than the old A9.
  • -5 Hide
    lpedraja2002 , September 7, 2012 10:49 PM
    darkchazzSGX544... nuff said.nvidia, tell me when you make a gpu that doesn't lag when gaming... in the meantime, shut up.Funny though they've managed to fool a lot of people into thinking that T3 is powerful by paying off developers for exclusive titles and effects etc...


    I think you should get out of that cave and read some benchmarks. You'll find your answer in the last 10 years.
  • 0 Hide
    jn77 , September 7, 2012 10:53 PM
    The last time I bought any product with an Nvidia chipset I wished I had not.
  • 15 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 7, 2012 10:56 PM
    nocteratushow about multi-thread apps that uses 4 cores?

    Yeah, pretty rare still on desktop PCs, let alone a glorified e-reader
  • 11 Hide
    Maxx_Power , September 7, 2012 10:57 PM
    Exactly, 4 threads on a tablet/e-reader with a single channel memory controller ???
  • 1 Hide
    refillable , September 8, 2012 12:00 AM
    I don't get it

    Quote:

    A better way to measure is with real world apps and use cases. Tegra 3 has shown time and time again that it delivers a great experience for consumers, whether they’re gaming, streaming video or using other apps."

    ...

    So this is a response to counter that the OMAP4470 is faster than the tegra 3 right? I don't get it, do they mean 'tegra 3 delivers great experience for costumers' actually means that the tegra 3 is faster than the OMAP4470?
  • 5 Hide
    esrever , September 8, 2012 12:01 AM
    Tegra 3 is just a piece of overhyped SH*T. 4 cores and no effective memory bandwidth and having a crappy gpu core on top of it.
  • 2 Hide
    teh_chem , September 8, 2012 12:16 AM
    Seeing as my TF with the dual-core Tegra2 platform laggggggs so horribly when merely downloading and installing an app update vs. my phone which is a single-core Snapdragon rips through the same updates in a fraction of the time, it's easy to conclude that numbers are meaningless (as Nvidia dude said), and regardless of how many cores you throw at a hardware platform, it won't perform any better if there's crap coding for it.

    Nvidia--why not make some R&D efforts on the software engineering side, and help the rest of the programmers learn how to best take advantage of your platform. It's embarrassing for single-core platforms to offer a much smoother user experience than a quad-core. Then again, as is the life of Android to-date. So many hardware choices for the customer, so many hardware platforms to address for the programmer...le sigh.
  • 3 Hide
    coder543 , September 8, 2012 12:37 AM
    Tegra 3 may not be the fastest runner on the block anymore, but I think the Nexus 7 is still a great purchase. I do wish it has an HDMI out, but other than that, I dunno. It's not a chip problem.
  • 0 Hide
    zeratul600 , September 8, 2012 1:53 AM
    THOSE BASTARD COULD MAKE DATA BUT THEY DONT?????? damn Nvidia XD
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , September 8, 2012 2:44 AM
    Nvidia's rebuttal to Amazon saying that their CPU is better and then giving significant evidence supporting their claim is that Nvidia is better because they give a better experience. Last I checked, a faster phone gives a better experience than an otherwise identical phone, even if not a significantly better experience. I don't claim to know for sure, but it seems like Nvidia is just giving out some BS for PR. It's not unusual for Nvidia and so many other companies to do something like that, but come on... They could have at least done a better job of it if they weren't going to give some proof of their claims or if they're lying, simply be more truthful and get to work on a better CPU. Heck, they could go on about how Amazon is bragging about beating Tegra 3 despite Tegra 3 being considerably old at this time, so the only surprise is that it took them this long to beat it.
  • 3 Hide
    slabbo , September 8, 2012 5:11 AM
    coder543Tegra 3 may not be the fastest runner on the block anymore, but I think the Nexus 7 is still a great purchase. I do wish it has an HDMI out, but other than that, I dunno. It's not a chip problem.

    it's a good purchase, but as it stands now the 7" Kindle Fire HD is a better buy spec/features wise with the speakers, 16GB vs 8GB on Nexus 7...etc. And I don't think either comes with a microSD slot, but I'm not sure of that, neither mentions any of that, so that extra 8GB on the Kindle is a huge advantage.
  • 3 Hide
    uglynerdman , September 8, 2012 5:32 AM
    its been my experience that the green goblin streams porn better. so i get more flops outta nvididididia
  • 1 Hide
    razor512 , September 8, 2012 8:43 AM
    In real world performance, the tegra 3 is not very good because the web browser and many other applications will only use 1 core. and even compared to some of the older dual core snapdragon CPU's found in tablets such as the HP touchpad, the tegra 3 has worst single threaded performance.

    I can see the new kindle fire easily offering a better performance on single threaded applications (which are most android applications.

    Also very few people actually game on their devices so the chances to use all cores at the same time are very low.


    The kindle fire HD will still not be very popular because it is running a crippled version of android that comes with malware preinstalled (is ti to much to ask for to have a device not spam you with ads)
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