NVIDIA Tegra 3 vs. Qualcomm Snapdragon S4: Performance Comparison

Today, many tablets contend in tablet arena to compete for monopoly in market. Manufacturers of many companies design tablets according to the taste of buyers. Many people are unaware of importance of processor specifications. So hard core readers interested in processor and comparison amongst latest processors will find this article useful. Smart buyers look into technical specifications of the tablet. One of the important technical specifications is processor which is heart and soul of the tablet. In 2012, many multi core processors like NVIDIA’s Tegra3, Samsung’s Exynos 4412 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 came roaring in tablet market. Folks say that Snapdragon S4 is king of processor jungle. HTC One X embodies Tegra 3 and HTC One S features S4.

NVIDIA Tegra 3

NVIDIA defines Tegra 3 as “4 plus 1 quad core with a 5th Battery Saver Core”. It means Tegra 3 is powered by 4 ARM Cortex A9 CPU cores and battery-saver core that act as fifth CPU core. Battery-saver core, also known as companion core, is capable of handling low-power tasks as required by OS and applications. This quad core processor enables snappy performance because each core can independently get enabled or disabled according to workload demands. NVIDIA’s DirectTouch architecture improves touch sensitivity.  Devices that sports Tegra 3 processor have reduced power consumption since DirectTouch helps in touch processing in Tegra 3. Tegra 3 boasts 3D stereo gaming. Tegra 3 embodies 12 cores ULP GeForce GPU.

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4

This year Qualcomm unveiled its new ace Snapdragon S4, a powerful quad core processor for tablets. On the heels of S4’s debut, tablets like HTC One S and Asus Transformer Pad Infinity featured S4. On-chip Adreno 225 GPU makes Snapdragon unique and gives it power of ruling jungle of processors. S4 is powered by 2 Cortex A15 “Krait” cores. Cores of S4 are also capable of scaling frequency according to workload demands.

CPU Performance

Krait CPU has clock frequency between 1.5-1.7GHz. This dual core CPU works more efficiently due to courtesy of its 22nm design. In benchmark tests S4 truly contends Tegra 3 because its Cortex A15 architecture which enhances speed by 40% as compared to Cortex A9.

GPU comparisons

Snapdragon S4’s Adreno 225 GPU has 8 cores GPU as compared 12 core GPU of Tegra 3. Tegra 3 wins GPU battle since it supports 3D stereo privilege suited for gaming.

Power Consumption

Automatic scaling of frequency as per system demands reduces power consumption. As we all know power consumption is directly proportional to operating frequency and square of operating voltage. Hence, scaling frequency helps in reducing power consumption. Hence, we can conclude that quad core CPU will consume lower power than dual core while processing same workload. According to Texas, A15 is more energy efficient than A9. Thus, we can say that S4’s 2 A15 cores can beat Tegra’s 4 A9 cores as far as power efficiency is concerned.


S4 has built-in LTE connectivity which Tegra 3 lacks. If you compare Tegra 3 and Snapdragon S4 in terms of CPU performance, S4 wins the race. In GPU battle, Tegra 3 wins. So tablet lovers who love gaming, can opt for Tegra 3 but who are interested in faster performance can go for S4.


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