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Nvidia Joins the MIDs Race

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Nvidia – which Intel might say discounts the processor – has gone into competition with Intel and its tiny Atom MPU with a non-x86 family of processors called Tegra described as the first single-chip computer capable of accessing rich high-definition applications and the Internet on small pocket devices, what Intel calls MIDs. 

Nvidia says Tegra is a tiny computer-on-a-chip, smaller than a dime, designed from the ground up to enable the “visual PC experience” on a new generation of mobile computing devices while consuming the smallest amount of power. It uses Windows Mobile. 

Sounding like Intel, but producing a cheaper $200 gismo, Nvidia says Tegra will create a platform that “enables the second PC revolution”; it will be “mobile-centric, with devices that last days on a single charge, and yet has the web, high-definition media, and computing experiences we’ve come to expect from our PC,” according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. 

“Shrinking down a 50W PC architecture will not create the discontinuity this industry needs. The culmination of nearly 1,000 man/years of engineering, Tegra is a completely ground-up computer-on-a-chip architecture that consumes 100 times less power. Mobile internet and computing devices built with Tegra are going to be magical,” he said. 

The Nvidia Tegra 650 processor is the second product in the Tegra line, the first being the Tegra APX 2500 processor, which works in next-generation Windows Mobile smartphones. 

It’s now talking a Tegra architecture that offers ultra-low power graphics, an 800MHz cell phone-familiar ARM core, HD video, an imaging processor, an audio processor and advanced power management. 

Tegra processors are supposed to achieve up to 10 times the power efficiency of existing products in battery-operated computer systems running visual computing applications or roughly what Atom offers. 

The Tegra 650 features all-day media processing (130 hours audio, 30 hours HD video playback), HD image processing for advanced digital still camera and HD camcorder functions, optimized hardware support for Web 2.0 apps, 1080p HDMI, WSXGA+ LCD and CRT, and NTSC/PAL TV-Out and Wi-Fi support.

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