Nvidia unveils the Tegra 4i, with integrated 4G LTE processor

On Tuesday, Santa Clara, Calif.-based technology company Nvidia took the wraps off a new mobile processor part of its Tegra lineup, named Tegra 4i. The latest product comes with "fully integrated 4G LTE" connectivity, a first for Nvidia, and it is designed to fend off attack from similar solutions, like Qualcomm's newest Snapdragon lineup.

The new Tegra 4i sports 60 custom GPU cores and a 2.3GHz quad-core CPU that is based on the "newest and most efficient" ARM R4 Cortex-A9 architecture. The traditional Tegra battery-saver core is also present. The Tegra 4i, however, comes in slightly under the Tegra 4 processor unveiled at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, the latter of which features 12 more GPU cores and is based on the faster ARM Cortex-A15 architecture.

The 2.3GHz is a joint effort between Nvidia and ARM, with the former touting it as the "most efficient, highest performance CPU core on the market". Tom Cronk, executive vice president and general manager, processor division, ARM says: "ARM and Nvidia worked closely to further optimize the Cortex-A9 processor to drive performance and efficiency in areas such as streaming and responsiveness. This is an example of the collaboration and innovation that enables ARM technology-based solutions to be market drivers through multiple generations of SoC solutions".

The Tegra 4i delivers five times the number of GPU cores compared to the older Tegra 3 and the i500 "software-defined" radio modem which sports 4G LTE functionality. In the camera department the processor features Nvidia's Chimera Computational Photography Architecture which was introduced alongside the Tegra 4.

On Tegra 4i's integrated LTE chip, Stuart Robinson, director, Handset Component Technologies Program at Strategy Analytics says: "[...] appears to outperform the leading integrated LTE chip significantly, and also benefits from an integrated 'soft-modem' that can be re-programmed over-the-air to support new frequencies and air interfaces -- something other modem vendors can only dream of".

Basically what we're looking at is a slightly underpowered variant of the Tegra 4 that features a more battery-friendly CPU and a less powerful GPU. Nvidia will showcase the Tegra 4i at MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona.

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