Published in PC Hardware

Logan Tegra 5 comes without integrated LTE modem

by on11 November 2013

You need i500 for LTE

The tradition continues. Our sources are confirming that Nvidia’s Logan SoC, possibly called Tegra 5, doesn’t come with an integrated LTE modem. Just like Apple, Nvidia makes a big fast chip with impressive Kepler based GPU, but it won't put a an icera LTE solution inside the same chip.

Icera i500 is Tegra 5 compatible and it has AT&T certification. As the launch draws near, it should become compatible with other US and international LTE carriers like Verizon and T-mobile.

This should not be a big issue for Nvidia’s target market, manufacturers will have to choose two chips instead of one, a clear competitive disadvantage compared to future Qualcomm chips with Adreno 400 graphics and updated CPU cores, expected in early 2014.

During Nvidia’s recent conference call, CEO Jen Hsun Huang said devices based on the new Tegra 4i with integrated LTE should be announced in Q1 and ship no later than Q2. Jensen also mentioned that people are going to be "delighted by the OEM that it comes from" which is probably his way of of announcing some big brand design wins, but he also emphasised that the designs will be global rather than US. For US success you need CDMA Jensen said, but as far as we know Verizon is the only company using it.

Since Apple can pull of two chip designs from day one, we can only assume that two chip approach won't cost much battery life compared to single chip design that has LTE on board (Snapdragon 600 and 800 ed. ). However, Nvidia is likely going to be making bets on its Kepler based GPU, expected to be the fastest graphics core ever integrated in a mobile SoC that will rock tablets and some phones around the world. The fact that Logan is likely to pack very powerful graphics sans on-die LTE makes it a bit more interesting for tablets than phones, which is exactly what we saw with the Tegra 4.

We expect to see Tegra 5 devices announced at CES 2014 so early January and with some luck we might see them shipping very early in 2014.

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