Nvidia Tegra K1 Claims Fame as First 64-Bit ARM Chip for Android

Paul Lilly

Android enters the 64-bit ARM era

Say hello to "Denver," the codename for Nvidia's 64-bit Tegra K1 System-on-Chip (SoC), which also happens to be the first 64-bit ARM processor for Android . The new version of Nvidia's Tegra K1 SoC pairs the company's Kepler architecture-based GPU with its own custom-designed, 64-bit, dual-core "Project Denver" CPU, which Nvidia says is fully ARMv8 architecture compatible.

So, what's special about this chip besides a 64-bit instruction set? Nvidia designed Denver to offer the highest single-core CPU throughput and industry-leading dual-core performance. Each Denver core (and there are two) sports a 7-way superscaler microarchitecture and includes a 128KB 4-way L1 instruction cache, a 64KB 4-way L1 data cache, and a 2MB 16-way L2 cache that services both cores.

Using a process called Dynamic Code Optimization, Denver optimizes frequently used software routines at runtime into dense, highly tuned microcode-equivalent routines stored in a dedicated 128MB main-memory based optimization cache. This allows for faster access and execution, which translates into faster performance, in part because it lessens the need to re-optimize the software routine.

Denver will also benefit Android platforms with new low latency power-state transitions. This is in addition to extensive power-gating and dynamic voltage and clock scaling routines based on workloads. The end result is more efficient power usage, which allows Denver's performance to rival even some mainstream PC-class CPUs at significantly reduced power consumption, Nvidia says .

If you want to dig even further into the architecture, you can get more details here .

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