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
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Technically Sony's been planning on having 4 Cortex A9 CPUs inside the Playstation Vita since it was announced in January (plus the very powerful PowerVR SGX 543MP4)
  • Klinky1984 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    ...and where might I obtain a Playstation Vita? What other four core ARM chip is available in mainstream products as of today?
  • Klinky1984 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Maybe I should I have phrased that as "available for use in mainstream products as of today", I don't think Sony is going to let anyone use their SoC in a phone or tablet.
  • MrMilli - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Both NEC (now Renesas Electronics) and Marvell beat nVidia to it. NEC focuses more on the industrial side of things and Marvell (Armada XP) more on storage/server applications. But NEC chips often find their way into automotive electronics (I believe some GPS systems use their ARM11 quad core from years ago).
    I don't know what you see as a mainstream products. But GPS systems and low-end servers can be seen as mainstream.
  • Klinky1984 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    Enterprise, industrial & embedded products are not mainstream. The Tegra3 is going to be a selling point for the products that use it & those products will be advertised prominently on the TV, print & the Internet. I highly doubt you'll see that for the chips you mentioned, I don't think I've ever seen a car commercial tout that their GPS is powered by NEC or Marvell or whatever platform they're using. I've seen plenty of phone commercials touting Tegra2 or Snapdragon.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    I disagree, and I am not sure you are aware of the meaning of mainstream. As its all dependent on point of view.

    Mainstream is something which is purchased, used or accepted broadly rather than by a tiny fraction of population or market; common, usual or conventional.


    Nowhere is it stated that something has to be on TV to be mainstream. It simply has to be popular in the market that it is aimed at. And NEC is most definitely mainstream in the markets that they target.
  • eddman - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    But the question was: can you buy a phone or tablet with an NEC or marvell quad-core SoC?

    Maybe Tegra 3 wasn't the first quad ARM chip, but it is the first quad for mobile devices.

    TI doesn't have any in its roadmap for now.
    Same thing for St-Ericsson as TI.
    Qualcomm's quads won't appear until Q4 2012.
    Samsung hasn't announced any yet.
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - link

    This is true. The NEC would not be suitable for a mobile device, and is not available for them. So nVidia is first in that market space.
  • Penti - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Renesas do offer quad-core mobile cpus. As does any one else, it's just a matter off when they are actually available. They do have an more impressive overall offer in the mobile space though.
  • Klinky1984 - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    Almost 1/3rd of the US population has a smartphone, how many of those consumers have an enterprise NAS, SAN or ARM based cloud server or even know what one is & even if they do know what one is do they actually have a desire to buy one? As for embedded GPS devices, which devices used the prototype quad-core ARM11 from Renesas Electronics?

    Additionally I am not finding actual products containing a Marvell Armada XP or Renesas Electronics R-Car H1, The R-Car H1 doesn't even start mass production until almost 2013. Renesas Electronics' Quad ARM11 NaviEngine looks like it was used by Alpine Car Information Systems in 2010, but finding out what Alpine product uses it & where I could buy it is a challenge.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now