ASUS' Transformer Prime: The First Tegra 3 Tablet

With Tegra 2, Motorola was the primary launch partner both for smartphones and tablets. Since then, ASUS has risen in the ranks and is now a serious competitor in the Android tablet space. It's no surprise that the first Tegra 3 tablet out of the gate is ASUS' Transformer Prime.

ASUS will launch the Transformer Prime in the US before the end of the year. The tablet's specs are below:

Tablet Specification Comparison
  ASUS Eee Pad Transformer ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Apple iPad 2 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Dimensions 271mm x 175mm x 12.95mm 263 x 180.8 x 8.3mm 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm 256.6 x 172.9 x 8.6mm
Display 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 Super IPS+ 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 IPS 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 PLS
Weight 675g 586g 601g 565g
Processor 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9) 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (4 x Cortex A9) 1GHz Apple A5 (2 x Cortex A9) 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9)
Memory 1GB 1GB 512MB 1GB
Storage 16GB + microSD card 32GB/64GB + microSD slot 16GB 16GB
Pricing $399 $499/$599 $499 $499

Final Words

At a high level Tegra 3 doesn't surprise us much. The improved GeForce GPU should deliver tangible performance gains both through increased operating frequency and more pixel shader hardware. CPU performance should also be better than Tegra 2 based designs thanks to an increase in clock speed, the inclusion of MPE and the availability of more cores for threaded applications. In the move from one to two cores we saw significant performance increases across the board in Android. I don't expect that we'll see gains of a similar magnitude in moving from two to four cores, but there will be some benefit.

For the majority of use cases I believe NVIDIA has done the hardware homework necessary to extend battery life. Individual cores can now be power gated and the companion core should do most of the lifting while your device is locked or mostly idle, processing background tasks.

How much of an impact we'll actually see from all of this remains to be seen. We hope to have our hands on the first Tegra 3 hardware in the coming weeks, so before the year is up we'll hopefully have some answers.

The Tegra 3 GPU: 2x Pixel Shader Hardware of Tegra 2
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  • Lucian Armasu - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Those probably use more power, too, so they wouldn't be suited for tablets and smartphones anyway. Tegra 3 is the first quad core to be optimized for them.
  • jeremyshaw - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    about as relevent as claiming the iPad 2 GPU doesn't matter since it doesn't use Android.
  • jeremyshaw - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    PS Vita is going on sale this Sat in Japan. For the rest of the world.... sucks to be you :p
  • Draiko - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    With a 3-5 hour battery life per charge. Disgusting.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Probably only 1 hour playing a game using the unreal engine or similar.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    They said 3-5 hours of gameplay on the Vita, other stuff is more.
  • tipoo - Saturday, March 10, 2012 - link

    Which is also what you get while gaming on any smartphone, if not less by the way.
  • GeekBrains - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Let's wait and see how it affects the real world bandwidth requirements..
  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Seems there's also a "lot of concern" too over the unchanged aspects of the Tegra 3 chip. They're shoving this entire design onto a 40nm process where every other competitor is focusing on 28nm which means greater power consumption at some point. Also, when you compare the numbers on the GPU, it seems that nVidia's got a rather weak offering comparing to the competition, which is kind of sad for a GPU company. What gives?
  • B3an - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    It's because of 40nm, with any more GPU power the chip would be even bigger. It's looking like there will be a 28nm version of Tegra 3 next year, but in order to be the first out with a quadcore SoC they have decided to use 40nm for now.

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