Nvidia no comment, sources yes, Microsoft says it’s ARM
Microsoft’s first Windows RT tablet is powered by Tegra 3. We wanted to get official confirmation, but Nvidia declined to comment on Microsoft products and Microsoft itself simply tells the world it’s an ARM chip. Mighty Microsoft is not telling us exactly which ARM processor it is using.
Our sources are telling us it’s a Tegra 3 based processor inside and that Tegra is the only platform that has all the drivers ready for Windows RT at launch. If you remember Nvidia was partner of choice for the failed Zune HD player with its first Tegra chip, and with that in mind, it doesn’t comes as a big surprise that Microsoft picked Nvidia again.
Tegra 3 has been in production for a long time and it is a 40nm part, so it will not face any shortages this year. Had Microsoft opted for Qualcomm’s S4 based on 28nm, the world + dog know that it would face the possibility of shortages throughout the year due to high demand. It is also possible Microsoft wanted a quad core as it could run Windows RT faster than duals, at least it should in theory. Aside from using the more advanced 28nm process, Qualcomm’s S4 also packs LTE, so it would have been the preferred choice of heavy 4G users.
We expect to see Microsoft Surface based on Tegra 3 around the official Windows RT launch that is still expected in October. At this point it’s safe to assume that we should see Surface shipping in Q4 2012, ready at latest for Xmas time giving.