A long-time frontrunner in the desktop graphics market, Nvidia Corporation, located in Santa Clara, California, has recently expanded their product line to feature mobile devices. The Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip (SoC) integrates Nvidia’s latest central processing, graphics processing, and memory controller hardware into a single chip. Unlike typical desktop processors, mobile processors are limited by a device’s battery and the energy it is capable of delivering. Providing the right balance between processing capability and battery life requires the optimization of hardware-kernel interaction, as well as the processor’s reaction to the demands of software.
Sai Charan Gurrappadi, a fourth-year Mechatronics Engineering student, was asked to analyze the central processor usage and its impact on power consumption and battery life.
The teaching objectives of this case study are to introduce the basics of power within an integrated circuit, the power management as specific to the Tegra 3 architecture, to provide an explanation for current power management policies and to necessitate the development of a suitable replacement/addition to current power policy in order to reduce power consumption. This case study can be used as effective material for Digital Hardware Systems (ECE 327).