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What Nvidia Tegra2 can give to mobile phones: performance review

LG Optimus 2X was the first handset with a dual core processor. At the same time other Tegra2 solutions will hit the shelves soon - Motorola ATRIX 4G, Motorola Droid BIONIC, etc. There is no point in describing the advantages of the processor in every review, so we will do it in this separate publication and analyze all advantages.


  1. What is Nvidia Tegra2?
  2. Rivals and assessment criteria
  3. Processors speed and multitasking
  4. Browser performance
  5. Performance in online Flash games: HTML5
  6. What do we get?

What is Nvidia Tegra2?

The block structure shows that Nvidia Tegra2 is a SOC (system on chip) containing two ARM9 cores of 1 GHz each with the separate graphics module included here as well. The advantage of the solution is the support of multithreading for better performance. The integrated graphics module allows hardware acceleration for Adobe Flash. Finally, this module is claimed to be a GeForce level component for mobile devices. It provides advanced graphic capabilities coupled with different multimedia features (inbuilt codecs will satisfy even the most demanding users – DivX/XVid, etc). The decoding of HD 1080p is added too. I will not dwell for too long on other features of Nvidia Tegra2. Look at the characteristics and block structure.

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Rivals and assessment criteria

Nvidia released a bulky volume for the comparison of Nvidia Tegra2 speed with rival solutions available on the market. Standard benchmarks and popular apps were used for the assessment. We did not doubt Nvidia measurements, but verified them on similar products and received virtually identical results. In the article we will quote Nvidia data as they are quite reliable and true to life.

For the comparison we selected three devices with various hardware components (different RAM size, for example, but models were similar and represented contemporary flagships). In all cases apart from several exceptions background apps were disabled. In the test we had LG Optimus 2X, Samsung Galaxy S, Motorola DROID2 (Milestone 2 Worldwide) and HTC Desire HD. All competitors of LG Optimus 2X use А8 core processors of different clock speeds and graphic coprocessors.

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Processors speed and multitasking

To measure the performance we used CoreMark 1.0 and the results clearly underline the advantage of Tegra2 over the current offerings.

Multitasking was measured with the help of a big file download and simultaneous operation of Pandora player (stream video). Tegra2 came on top again.

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Browser performance

WebKit based browser can capitalize on advantages offered by two cores of Tegra2, because different elements of a page can be downloaded at the same time. The speed of page graphic display is also important. Measurements were taken with the help of Sunspider, Browsemark, Peacekeeper and Moonbat test utilities.

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Performance in online Flash games: HTML5

An integrated graphic module handles flash and offers better performance. The operation scheme is shown in the graph together with the use of GPU.

Alternatively, you can analyze the performance in online games with flash.

Finally, let's have a look at HTML5 results.

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What do we get?

The comparison was not completely fair as we paired a 2011 model with its 2010 rivals. In March several other Nvidia Tegra2 models will become available. Samsung will also offer Galaxy S2 based on dual core processor with similar clocking rate and other parameters. Until this product reaches the shops Tegra2 will reign supreme. Other companies, for example Qualcomm will have dual core solutions in 2011 as well, but manufacturers will employ these processors only in flagship models due to the high price. Nokia is not planning dual core Symbian devices and this market share is still huge. Dual core solutions will be initially available for Android handsets only, but other platforms will join in 2012. For 2011 Tegra2 and Samsung Onion are top solutions, so you cannot expect them in mid range models yet. The situation will change in 2012 when Tegra3 becomes available.

Tegra2 gives better interface speed, while several apps and features become possible to use for the first time. This is a new performance level.

Some practical implications of Tegra2 use (operation time and performance in games) will be analyzed in the review of LG Optimus 2x, which is coming soon.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion to be known to the author and everybody else.

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Related links

CES 2011. Alliance of Nvidia and Microsoft. Computer processors under Nvidia brand

Impressions from LG Optimus X2 and Motorola ATRIX 4G

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 02 February 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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