Geez, you step away from the computer for just a couple of hours and all hell breaks loose over in Spain at the Mobile World Congress.  NVIDIA decided that just a month or so after the official release of the Tegra 2 dual-core processor was a great time to let loose information on project “Kal-El”, the next step in the Tegra chip line that first entered the NVIDIA offices only 12 days ago.

In this demonstration NVIDIA showed the new Kal-El chip running video on a 2560×1600 resolution display as well as browsing the web and playing some incredibly high quality games.  Video output was incredibly smooth at 2560×1440 and could also allow a 10.1-in tablet to push a 300 dpi display with ease. 

Inside the Kal-El SoC is the first quad-core ARM processor and a 12-core NVIDIA built GPU bring an estimated 5x increase in overall performance over the Tegra 2 chip available in phones and tablets later this month.

NVIDIA announces quad-core Tegra SoC and demos performance - Mobile 3

Also in the presentation, NVIDIA shared some basic information on its future Tegra SoC roadmap going out into 2014.  In 2012 the “Wayne” chip will offer 10x the performance of Tegra 2 while “Stark” promises ~80x the performance.  (By the way, I really dig the comic book references to these code names.)  NVIDIA is dead set on bringing the annual iterations of the GPU world to SoC and mobile devices – this is a transition that will definitely revolutionize the industry and other companies struggle to keep up.

NVIDIA announces quad-core Tegra SoC and demos performance - Mobile 4

Finally, as further proof of the performance that Kal-El is going to bring to tablet devices, NVIDIA showed benchmark results from Coremark v1.0 that even beats a Core 2 Duo processor!

NVIDIA was even open on a time frame for Kal-El: they are sampling to customers today and they say tablets using this chip will be ready in August.  That is a VERY aggressive schedule considering we are just now getting the very first dual-core SoC products in customers hands today.  NVIDIA promises this isn’t too much too soon and that efficiency has increased to a point that battery life isn’t an issue.

We’ll have to see on that – but for now, these performance results are enough to ‘wow’ us.