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NVIDIA Tegra T20 (Tegra 2) and T30 (Tegra 3) chips.

Tegra is a system on a chip (SoC) series developed by Nvidia for mobile devices such as smartphones, personal digital assistants, and mobile Internet devices. The Tegra integrates an ARM architecture central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), northbridge, southbridge, and memory controller onto one package. Early Tegra SoCs are designed as efficient multimedia processors, while more recent models emphasize gaming performance without sacrificing power efficiency.


The Tegra APX 2500 was announced on February 12, 2008, the Tegra 6xx product line was revealed on June 2, 2008,[1] and the APX 2600 was announced in February 2009. The APX chips were designed for smartphones, while the Tegra 600 and 650 chips were intended for smartbooks and mobile Internet devices (MID).[2]

The first product to use the Tegra was Microsoft's Zune HD media player in September 2009, followed by the Samsung M1.[3] Microsoft's KIN was the first cellular phone to use the Tegra;[4] however, the phone did not have an app store, so the Tegra's power did not provide much advantage. In September 2008, Nvidia and Opera Software announced that they would produce a version of the Opera 9.5 browser optimised for the Tegra on Windows Mobile and Windows CE.[5][6] At Mobile World Congress 2009, Nvidia introduced its port of Google's Android to the Tegra.

On January 7, 2010, Nvidia officially announced and demonstrated its next generation Tegra system-on-a-chip, the Nvidia Tegra 250, at Consumer Electronics Show 2010.[7] Nvidia primarily supports Android on Tegra 2, but booting other ARM-supporting operating systems is possible on devices where the bootloader is accessible. Tegra 2 support for the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution was also announced on the Nvidia developer forum.[8]

Nvidia announced the first quad-core SoC at the February 2011 Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. Though the chip was codenamed Kal-El, it is now branded as Tegra 3. Early benchmark results show impressive gains over Tegra 2,[9][10] and the chip was used in many of the tablets released in the second half of 2011.

In January 2012, Nvidia announced that Audi had selected the Tegra 3 processor for its in-vehicle infotainment systems and digital instruments display.[11] The processor will be integrated into Audi's entire line of vehicles worldwide, beginning in 2013.

In summer of 2012 Tesla Motors began shipping the Model S all electric, high performance sedan, which contains two NVIDIA Tegra 3D Visual Computing Modules (VCM). One VCM powers the 17-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and one drives the 12.3-inch all digital instrument cluster."[12]

In March 2015, Nvidia announced the Tegra X1, the first SoC to have a graphics performance of 1 teraflop. At the announcement event, Nvidia showed off Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 "Elemental" demo, running on a Tegra X1.


Tegra APX[edit]

Tegra APX 2500
Tegra APX 2600
  • Enhanced NAND flash
  • Video codecs:[13]
    • 720p H.264 Baseline Profile encode or decode
    • 720p VC-1/WMV9 Advanced Profile decode
    • D-1 MPEG-4 Simple Profile encode or decode

Tegra 6xx[edit]

Tegra 600
  • Targeted for GPS segment and automotive
  • Processor: ARM11 700 MHz MPCore
  • Memory: low-power DDR (DDR-333, 166 MHz)
  • SXGA, HDMI, USB, stereo jack
  • HD camera 720p
Tegra 650
  • Targeted for GTX of handheld and notebook
  • Processor: ARM11 800 MHz MPCore
  • Low power DDR (DDR-400, 200 MHz)
  • Less than 1 Watt envelope
  • HD image processing for advanced digital still camera and HD camcorder functions
  • Display supports 1080p at 24 frame/s, HDMI v1.3, WSXGA+ LCD and CRT, and NTSC/PAL TV output
  • Direct support for Wi-Fi, disk drives, keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals
  • A complete board support package (BSP) to enable fast time to market for Windows Mobile-based designs

Tegra 2[edit]

The second generation Tegra SoC has a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, an ultra low power (ULP) GeForce GPU,[14] a 32-bit memory controller with either LPDDR2-600 or DDR2-667 memory, a 32KB/32KB L1 cache per core and a shared 1MB L2 cache.[15] Tegra 2's Cortex A9 implementation does not include ARM's SIMD extension, NEON. There is a version of the Tegra 2 SoC supporting 3D displays; this SoC uses a higher clocked CPU and GPU.

The Tegra 2 video decoder is largely unchanged from the original Tegra and has limited support for HD formats.[16] The lack of support for high-profile H.264 is particularly troublesome when using online video streaming services.

Common features:

  • CPU cache: L1: 32 KB instruction + 32 KB data, L2: 1 MB
  • 40 nm semiconductor technology
Model number CPU GPU Memory Adoption
Processor Cores Frequency (GHz) Microarchitecture Core configuration1 Frequency (MHz) Type Amount Bus width (bits) Bandwidth (GB/s) Availability
AP20H (Ventana/Unknown) Cortex-A9 2 1 GHz VLIW-based VEC4 units[17] 4:4:?:? 300 MHz LPDDR2 300 MHz
DDR2 333 MHz
 ? 32-bit single-channel 2.4
Q1 2010
T20 (Harmony/Ventana) 333 MHz
AP25 1.2 GHz 400 MHz Q1 2011


Model Devices
AP20H Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Droid X2, Motorola Photon, LG Optimus 2X / LG Optimus Dual P990 / Optimus 2x SU660 (?), Samsung Galaxy R, Samsung Captivate Glide, ZTE Mimosa X, Micromax Superfone A85, T-Mobile G2X P999, Acer Iconia Tab A200 and A500, LG Optimus Pad, Motorola Xoom,[18] Sony Tablet S, Dell Streak 7, Dell Streak Pro,[19] Asus Slider, Toshiba Thrive[20] tablet, T-Mobile G-Slate
T20 Avionic Design Tamonten Processor Board,[21] Exper EasyPad, Notion Ink Adam tablet, Olivetti OliPad 100, Point of View Mobii 10.1, ViewSonic G Tablet, ViewSonic ViewPad 10s, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Toshiba AC100, Toshiba Folio 100, Advent Vega, Hannspree Hannspad, Aigo n700, CompuLab Trim-Slice nettop, E-Noa Interpad, Malata Tablet Zpad, MSI 10-inch (250 mm) tablet, Toradex Colibri T20, Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, Velocity Micro Cruz Tablet L510, Zyrex Onepad SP1110, Zyrex Onepad SP1113G, Acer Iconia Tab A100
AP25 Fusion Garage Grid 10[citation needed]

Tegra 3[edit]

The Ouya uses a Tegra 3 T33-P-A3

The Tegra 3 (codenamed "Kal-El")[22] is functionally a SoC with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU, but includes a fifth "companion" core in what Nvidia refers to as a "variable SMP architecture".[23] While all cores are Cortex-A9s, the companion core is manufactured with a low-power silicon process. This core operates transparently to applications and is used to reduce power consumption when processing load is minimal. The main quad-core portion of the CPU powers off in these situations.

Tegra 3 is the first Tegra release to support ARM's SIMD extension, NEON.

The GPU in Tegra 3 is an evolution of the Tegra 2 GPU, with 4 additional pixel shader units and higher clock frequency. It can also output video up to 2560×1600 resolution and supports 1080p MPEG-4 AVC/h.264 40 Mbit/s High-Profile, VC1-AP, and simpler forms of MPEG-4 such as DivX and Xvid.[24]

The Tegra 3 was released on November 9, 2011.[25]

Common features:

  • CPU cache: L1: 32 KB instruction + 32 KB data, L2: 1 MB
  • 40 nm LPG semiconductor technology by TSMC
Model number CPU GPU Memory Adoption
Processor Cores Frequency (GHz) Microarchitecture Core configuration1 Frequency (MHz) Type Amount Bus width (bits) Bandwidth (GB/s) Availability Utilizing devices
T30L Cortex-A9 4+1 1.2 GHz (up to 1.3 GHz in single-core mode) VLIW-based VEC4 units[17] 8:4:?:? 416 MHz DDR3-1333  ? 32-bit single-channel 5.3[26] Q1 2012
T30 1.4 GHz (up to 1.5 GHz in single-core mode) 520 MHz LPDDR2-1066
 ? 32-bit single-channel 4.3
Q4 2011
T33 1.6 GHz (up to 1.7 GHz in single-core mode)[26] DDR3-1600 ? 32-bit single-channel 6.4[26] Q2 2012

Tegra 4[edit]

The Tegra 4 (codenamed "Wayne") was announced on January 6, 2013 and is a SoC with a quad-core CPU, but includes a fifth low-power Cortex A15 companion core which is invisible to the OS and performs background tasks to save power. This power-saving configuration is referred to as "variable SMP architecture" and operates like the similar configuration in Tegra 3.[41]

The GeForce GPU in Tegra 4 is again an evolution of its predecessors. However, numerous feature additions and efficiency improvements were implemented. The number of processing resources was dramatically increased, and clock rate increased as well. In 3D tests, the Tegra 4 GPU is typically several times faster than that of Tegra 3.[42] Additionally, the Tegra 4 video processor has full support for hardware decoding and encoding of WebM video (up to 1080p 60Mbit/s @ 60fps).[43]

Along with Tegra 4, Nvidia also introduced i500, an optional software modem based on Nvidia's acquisition of Icera, which can be reprogrammed to support new network standards. It supports category 3 (100Mbit/s) LTE but will later be updated to Category 4 (150Mbit/s).

Common features:

  • CPU cache: L1: 32 KB instruction + 32 KB data, L2: 2 MB
  • 28 nm HPL semiconductor technology
Model number CPU GPU Memory Adoption
Processor Cores Frequency (GHz) Microarchitecture Core configuration1 Frequency (MHz) Type Amount Bus width (bits) Bandwidth (GB/s) Availability Utilizing devices
T114[44] Cortex-A15 4+1 up to 1.9 VLIW-based VEC4 units[45] 72 (48:24:4)[17][45] 672 MHz[46] DDR3L or LPDDR3  ? 32-bit dual-channel up to 14.9 GB/s (1866 MT/s data rate)[47][48] Q2 2013[49]

1 Pixel shaders : Vertex shaders : Pixel pipelines

Tegra 4i[edit]

The Tegra 4i (codenamed "Grey") was announced on February 19, 2013. With hardware support for the same audio and video formats,[43] but using Cortex-A9 cores instead of Cortex-A15, the Tegra 4i is a low-power variant of the Tegra 4 and is designed for phones and tablets. Unlike its Tegra 4 counterpart, the Tegra 4i also integrates the Icera i500 LTE/HSPA+ baseband processor onto the same die.

Common features:

  • 28 nm HPM semiconductor technology
  • CPU cache: L1: 32 KB instruction + 32 KB data, L2: 1 MB
Model number CPU GPU Memory Adoption
Processor Cores Frequency (GHz) Microarchitecture Core configuration1 Frequency (MHz) Type Amount Bus width (bits) Bandwidth (GB/s) Availability Utilizing devices
T148?[53] Cortex-A9 "R4" 4+1 up to 2.0 VLIW-based VEC4 units[45] 60 (48:12:2)[45] 660 MHz[46] LPDDR3 32-bit single-channel 6.4 GB/s - 7.5 GB/s (800 MHz - 933 MHz)[48] Q1 2014

1 Pixel shaders : Vertex shaders : Pixel pipelines

Tegra K1[edit]

Nvidia’s Tegra K1 (codenamed "Logan") features ARM Cortex-A15 cores in a 4+1 configuration similar to Tegra 4, or Nvidia's 64-bit Project Denver dual-core processor as well as a Kepler graphics processing unit with support for Direct3D 12, OpenGL ES 3.1, CUDA 6.5 and OpenGL 4.4/OpenGL 4.5.[59] Nvidia claims that it outperforms both the Xbox 360 and the PS3, whilst consuming significantly less power.[60]

In late April 2014, Nvidia shipped the "Jetson TK1" development board containing a Tegra K1 SoC and running Ubuntu Linux.[61]

Model number CPU GPU Memory Adoption
Processor Cores Frequency (GHz) Microarchitecture Core configuration1 Frequency (MHz) GFLOPS Type Amount Bus width (bits) Bandwidth (GB/s) Availability Utilizing devices
T124[63] Cortex-A15 R3
4+1 up to 2.3[64] GK20A (Kepler) 192:8:4[65] 852 290 - 365[citation needed] DDR3L
max 8 GiB (with 40-bit address extension2) 64-bit 17[65] Q2 2014
T132 Denver
2[65] up to 2.5[64] max 8 GiB  ?  ? Q3 2014

1 Unified Shaders : Texture mapping units : Render output units

2 ARM Large Physical Page Extension (LPAE) supports 1 TiB (240 bytes). The 8 GiB limitation is part-specific.

Tegra X1[edit]

Nvidia's Tegra X1 (codenamed "Erista") features four ARM Cortex-A57 cores and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores in big.LITTLE configuration, as well as a Maxwell-based graphics processing unit.[74][75]

  • CPU: ARMv8 ARM Cortex-A57 quad-core + ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core (64-bit)
  • GPU: Maxwell-based 256 core GPU
  • MPEG-4 HEVC & VP9 encoding/decoding support[76]
  • TSMC 20 nm process
  • Power consumption less than 10 Watts[76]
Model number CPU GPU Memory Adoption
Processor Cores Frequency (GHz) Microarchitecture Core configuration1 Frequency (MHz) GFLOPS Type Amount Bus width (bits) Bandwidth (GB/s) Availability Utilizing devices
T210 Cortex-A57 + Cortex-A53 4 + 4 GM20B (Maxwell) 256:16:16 1000 512 (FP32) / 1024 (FP16) LPDDR4 64-bit 25.6 Q2 2015 Nvidia Shield Android TV,[77] Nvidia Shield Portable P2523(Loki), Jetson TX1 development board[78] Google Pixel C

Upcoming releases[edit]


Nvidia Tegra "Parker" will feature Nvidia’s own custom general-purpose ARMv8-compatible core code-named Project Denver as well as code-named Maxwell graphics processing core with GPGPU support. The chips will be made using FinFET process technology, which likely means that it will be made using TSMC's 16 nm FinFET+ manufacturing process.

Nvidia Tegra “Parker” is due some time after Nvidia Tegra X1 (Erista).

Linux support[edit]

Nvidia distributes proprietary device drivers for Tegra through OEMs and as part of its "Linux for Tegra" (formerly "L4T") development kit. As of April 2012, due to different "business needs" from that of their GeForce line of graphics cards, Nvidia and one of their Embedded Partners, Avionic Design GmbH from Germany, are also working on submitting open source drivers for Tegra upstream to the mainline Linux kernel.[79][80] Nvidia co-founder & CEO laid out the Tegra processor roadmap using Ubuntu Unity in GPU Technology Conference 2013.[81]

Similar platforms[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]