When Apple announced the new iPad, they directly took a shot at Nvidia with their latest Graphics processor hybrid chipset: Tegra 3. Apple claimed that A5X is at least 3x times faster than the Tegra 3 and 4x times faster in graphics performance. Obviously, Nvidia wasn’t happy with pointless comparison till everyone saw it in practice.
Well, the first benchmarks are here and results have us under mixed feelings. Apple was right but it was wrong too. Read on to find out how.
The New iPad with A5X was competed headson with Asus Transformer Prime with Tegra 3 for Real life Gaming & synthetic Benchmarks.
The results were shockingly different across various Benchmarks, let go over them one by one.
Geekbench is a cross-platform benchmark that benchmarks the raw processing power (CPU power) rather than a more generic processing: graphics. Obviously, Tegra 3 is quad core and way more powerful than any dual core CPU like A5X or A5. The quad-core Tegra 3 blew A5X, and achieved an overall score of 1,571 to the A5X’s 692.
For Integer Tegra 3 vs A5X yielded 1391 to 614, floating point 2408 to 825 and memory subtests 1076 to 784. Clearly, Tegra 3 won this by a large margin.
GLBenchmark 2.1 measures Graphics performance for GL standards. It is a multi-platform Benchmark: available across iOS and Android.
GLBenchmark Egypt Standard test shows a 3D animation of ancient Egypt. For this test, the new iPad with A5X chip processed 6718 frames at a rate of 60 frames-per-second to the Transformer Primer’s 5,939 frames i.e. at 53 fps. That’s like new iPad was 10% faster than Tegra 3, no biggie, that much of variation can happen even between subsequent runs.
GLBenchmark Geometric test (vertex weighted), This test measures detailed low-level shader performance, the new iPad processed 7,530,524 frames at a rate of 57 fps while the Tegra 3-based Transformer Prime processed just 3,523,926 at a rate of 27 fps. Same results were observed for GLBenchmark’s Fill test, which measures texturing speed, as the iPad processed 1.98 billion textels per second to the Prime’s 404.61 million.
Overall, iPad with A5X was atleast 4x times faster in this area.
Browser Benchmarks: Peacekeeper and Sunspider
Well this is not a very accurate comparison but Both Android ICS & iOS 5.1 browsers are fast enough and are comparable. We tested Safari browser performance vs. ICS’s stock browser (not chrome) and results for two Benchmarks: Pacekeeper & Sunspider, both went in favor of Tegra 3.
Pacekeeper score: iPad 386, Transformer Prime: 387.
Sunspider time(lower is better): New iPad 1810 ms, Transformer Prime: 2216 ms.
But truth be told iOS 5.1 browser is nearly 20% faster than Android ICS browser. So overall, Tegra 3 wins in this department.
Real world Gaming Performance
You can go on arguing with Synthetic benchmarks forever and still keep arguing on what’s better. There’s nothing like the actual real-life results. We can’t have FRAPs to capture framerates, but what we can do is compare the visuals and smoothness of the gameplay across the tablets.
For Riptide GP, iPad is definitely way more sharper, thanks to the Retina display. Edges of objects, the walls on the racing course, and the writing on the scoreboard looked so much crisper on the iPad than on the Transformer’s low-res display.
For ShadowGun, however, there is a minor difference in the image quality, but he game looks smoother on Tegra 3, which could be because of lower resolution of Transformer Prime.
One thing we noticed that the version of the game playing on the Transformer Prime had some additional visual effects that were not present on the new iPad. In Riptide, we noticed more reflections in the water and a splashing effect that made it look like water was hitting the screen. On the iPad, it was not as good. It appears game optimizes the visual effects according to the capability of the device.
The real life gaming performance would always be hard to compare till we have Android Tablets with equivalent resolution, and same game titles. For now, the A5X offers better benchmark performance, while Tegra 3-optimized games offer more and better visual effects and Tegra 3 CPU is way more powerful than A5X, but GPU performance is yet to be explored.