Kal-El has had a lot of news since it was first announced, but now NVIDIA have said it will not only arrive sometime in Q4, but it will sport a fifth core which is a "companion" core. This is built using a "special low-power silicone process" which works on tasks at a low frequency. NVIDIA calls this approach "variable symmetric multiprocessing" and it basically allows it to use this extra core for handling low overhead tasks such as e-mail syncs, social media syncs, etc.
Each core is an ARM Cortex A9 CPU that is individually enabled and disabled based on the workload or task, but all five can't run at once. The low-power 'companion' core runs at a lower voltage than the other four cores and is only used when the performance state requested by the OS/apps isn't higher than a predetermined threshold. Once the threshold is reached, the low-power core is disabled and the high-performance A9 cores take over, enabling between 1 and 4 cores as needed.
The result? A quad-core processor that consumes less power and yet provides higher performance than the Tegra 2.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer 2 is rumored to launch in October, so we might see this five-core NVIDIA Kal-El chip rocking inside of it shortly.
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