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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  • MamiyaOtaru - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    what i liked about sound*storm* and what has me using cmedia now is DDL
  • B3an - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Just a little thing, but the Transformer Prime has a IPS+ display, not a typical IPS display which you have listed. Asus clam the + version is 1.5x brighter than a normal IPS display.

    I'm impressed by the specs of the Prime, in literally EVERY single way (possibly apart the GPU) the Prime better than the iPad 2.... thinner, ligher, better display (apparently), higher res too, twice as much RAM, SD slot, and more than twice as many cores that are each also clocked higher...
    If it's this good in the real world then i'll be imprssed that Asus could afford to make such a product and keep it at the same price as the iPad.
  • name99 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    "in literally EVERY single way ... better than the iPad 2"

    You sure about that? You know, for a FACT, that the flash is faster? That the WiFi supports 5GHz and is faster? That there is the same range of sensors (including, eg, magnetometer, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, light sensor, and a dozen I've forgotten --- and that every one of them is better than on iPad2?

    There is a HUGE amount to iPad2 that people seem to forget because it's just hiding there under the covers, it doesn't advertise itself.
  • ncb1010 - Saturday, November 12, 2011 - link

    Yes, The prime has a magnetometer, a gyro, a compass and a light sensor according to staff). The base iPad base model is missing a key sensor(GPS) but this includes it at the same price point. The iPad has no flash in any sense of the word(Adobe flash or camera flash) while the transformer has both Adobe Flash and a camera flash so I really don't see how it has faster flash(do you mean shutter speed?). Besides, of all the specs we know on the camera, it looks to be a lot better than the ones Apple put in there to upsell people on the iPad 3. As far as a proximity sensor, what would be the purpose of it? The purpose in the iPad is to detect when the custom cover on the iPad is put on and removed. The Pros on the Optimus Prime hardware wise are numerious while the iPad have some theoretical benefits just because we don't know every single detail on the Prime. You are grasping at straws here.
  • AuDioFreaK39 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Quick question for Tegra 3 architecture engineers: Is the "companion core" identified as Core 0 or Core 4? Thanks in advance.
  • Draiko - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Good question. I'd love a solid answer myself but from the core demo video, it looks like it's core 0.
  • Anonymous Blowhard - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    IANAD (I Am Not A Developer) but I'm betting it's actually still tagged as 0, with lower-level firmware switching as to whether or not "core 0" is the companion core or a full core.

    Remember that the companion core cannot be run at the same time as the full cores, so it's likely that when the demand-based switching kicks in, "companion core 0" is spun down, "full core 0" is spun up, and the rest of "full core 1/2/3" come online as well.

    Since this is happening at the firmware/lower level vis-a-vis x86 "Turbo Core" it will be transparent to the OS.

    /but that's, like, just my opinion man
  • eddman - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    I agree with Anonymous Blowhard. The OS can't see all 5 cores at the same time, so companion core would be 0 when it's enabled.
  • mythun.chandra - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Core 0 :)
  • allingm - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    While you guys are probably right, and it is probably just core 0, there is the possibility that its cores 0 - 4. All 4 threads could simply be run on the one core and this would make it seamless to the OS which seems to be what Nvidia suggests.

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