Here’s a non Windows Phone 8 related piece of news I came across a few days ago when looking around for real performance benchmarks and impression on the Microsoft Surface RT. As most of you have heard the Surface suffered/suffers from some performance issues according to most of the early rushed out reviews posted on the web. My own impression based on real users feedback/experience posted on forums and especially YouTube videos seems to indicate the opposite. Not really surprising to say the least but given that I have never touched a Surface in my life I can’t really judge one way or another. Anyway, I surprisingly found out that NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 SoC which powers the Surface and Asus Vivo Tab apparently doesn’t fully support Windows RT yet according to the company’s own product page. For those of you who aren’t aware; the Tegra 3 SoC packs 4 CortexA9 cores plus a 5th ARM core meant to take over all the low-power tasks like video,music, active standby. Turn’s out that the 5th core simply isn’t recognized by Windows RT yet and that one of the 4 CortexA9 cores is probably being tasked with all the low power workload.
Support for the 5th CPU will most probably have to come from Microsoft as I’m guessing that this must be implemented at the core level. But what’s rather alarming is that this hasn’t been done yet knowing that Tegra 3 has been out for a while now and the Windows RT hasn’t been developed overnight. You will also notice that the CPUs are clocked lower on Windows RT than on Android probably because of the lack of 5th so that the RT tablets can manage similar battery life as their green robot counterparts (that’s only my guess though). It would be interesting to see if and when this 5th core support will arrive and how this would affect the tablets battery life and/or performance (if the clocks are upped).
If you are still doubting the Surface multi-tasking ability just check out the video embedded after the break (fun starts around the 3mins mark):