Apple was accused of employing a marketing gimmick recently when it announced a new 64-bit processing core for the A7 ARM chip, which powers the new iPhone 5S. The benefits of moving to 64-bit processing on mobile devices aren’t yet clear, but that hasn’t stopped other ARM chip makers from lining up to mention their own 64-bit plans.
Nvidia announced several years ago that it had licensed ARMv8 technology to build its own custom 64-bit core, and the time draws near when that endeavor will come to fruition. Tegra could finally be ahead of the pack.
All of Nvidia’s current and past ARM chips have used CPU designs licensed directly from ARM Holdings, which are then paired with Nvidia’s custom ultra low-power GeForce GPU. Together these components make up the Tegra system-on-a-chip (SoC). Tegra 4 uses the fastest ARM-designed cores currently available — the Cortex-A15 — but even with these top-of-the-line cores Nvidia is at a disadvantage thanks to custom mobile CPUs.