Nvidia said its quad-core Kal-El features a "companion core" that runs at a lower frequency, drawing less power to run basic background tasks.
"During less power-hungry tasks like web reading, music playback and video playback, Kal-El completely powers down its four performance-tuned cores and instead uses its fifth companion core," said Matt Wuebbling, director of product marketing for Tegra, writing on Nvidia's blog.
"For higher performance tasks, Kal-El disables its companion core and turns on its four performance cores, one at a time, as the work load increases," Wuebbling said.
Nvidia describes the "companion core" as transparent to the OS - "meaning the OS and applications are not aware of this core, but automatically take advantage of it". That design means software and OSes won't need any alterations to use the core.
The next-generation Tegra processor was the first quad-core mobile chip to be announced - although its release date is yet to be confirmed. Wuebbling would only say that it's "coming soon".
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk