Published Kal-El (TEGRA3) performance: is NVIDIA SoC truly faster than a Core2 ?

Written by Gionatan Danti on . Posted in Hardware analysis

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Let me repeat that I'm very impressed by both Kal-El and by NVIDIA (as a company). The possibility to have a quad core ARM Cortex A9 chip and very capable graphic is nothing short of awesome, especially considering that Kal-El is expected to consume less power that the current Tegra2 design! In respect to power efficiency, the aging Core2 has no chance here. Moreover, we must consider that the current Kal-El silicon is a preproduction sample, and so performance can go higher (but also lower) that what NVIDIA anticipated.

However, the published Kal-El vs Core2 results are simply wrong. You can not compare two extremely different chips (and architectures) with different compiler version and different settings... this is meaningless. Moreover, CoreMark is a synthetic benchmark and so, while it is very useful in a broader hardware test, it has little value by itself. So, claiming by only a (wrong) CoreMark score that Kal-El is faster than a Core2 processor is a bit too optimistic to my eyes. The problem is not in CoreMark: it is a very good tool by itself. The point is that it has to be used correctly: if you want to compare two CPU, you had to use the same compiler version and settings.

So, while I'm generally impressed in how fine NVIDIA works, I think that its benchmark division performed poorly in this specific case.

If you want to further discuss the question, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


#1 Sina Saeedi 2012-04-21 18:44
Thank you. It's great

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