The world of tablets just got a whole lot faster, with Asus announcing a new tablet featuring a new ultra-fast processor from Nvidia.

The follow-up to the Nvidia Tegra 2 – a chip that appeared in almost every iPad competitor released this year – ups the ante in more ways than one. Announced this week, Nvidia’s Tegra 3 is a quad-core CPU with loads more graphic and gaming power to boot.

Nvidia let us know that it has also made its new chip more efficient, providing “up to 61 percent lower power consumption” than the previous chip, essentially offering more battery life while increasing performance.

The first tablet to take advantage of this is from Asus, and is a follow-up to one of our favourite models from this year.

The Transformer Prime takes the new Tegra 3 processor and combines it with the look of the recently launched ZenBook, while keeping the keyboard-battery dock from the original TF101 model.

Set to be launched in America in December for $499 (USD) – and we hope shortly here – the Transformer Prime will feature up to 18 hours of battery life when using the optional keyboard dock, an 8 megapixel rear camera with flash, aluminium chassis, microSD slot, GPS, WFi 802.11 b/g/n, and a 10.1 inch screen with Corning’s Gorilla Glass protecting it.

Furthermore, the new tablet manages to be thinner than the iPad 2, with a thickness of 8.3mm compared to the iPad’s 8.8mm. That’s just for the slate itself, however, with the keyboard-battery dock adding another 10.4mm when it’s docked.

Asus Australia has yet to make an announcement on when this model will land here, but we hope it’s soon.

Near-console quality graphics on a tablet? Colour us interested.