An interesting set of benchmark results were published yesterday afternoon. As you’ll recall, during the new iPad’s keynote event Phil Schiller attempted to pull us all in to the Jobsian reality distortion field by claiming that the new processor’s graphics unit could outperform the NVIDIA Tegra 3 by up to 4 times. If there’s one thing I know from being a salesman in a past life, it’s that you can always replace the words “up to” with “less than”.
A few tests were performed to compare the iPad 2, iPad 3 and the Tegra 3 processors in some benchmark tests. The tests were for overall CPU performance as well as comparing graphics. No surprise, in the raw power test, the NVIDIA’s quad-core chip outgunned the A5 and A5X.
When it came to graphics, there wasn’t much difference between them. In fact, looking at both the Egypt and Pro tests below, the iPad 2 comes out ahead of the iPad 3 – just. The ASUS Transformer Prime’s Tegra 3 was there or there abouts, the Galaxy Tab was no where to be seen, fading in the distance. This was running each display to its full potential. So, to have the iPad 3’s Retina pulling in close to the iPad 2 (which has half the number of pixels) is pretty awesome.
As mentioned before, Phil Schiller claimed that the A5X was up to 4x better at handling graphics than the NVIDIA chip, and twice as fast as the iPad 2’s A5. None of the above tests indicate anything of the sort. And here’s where the “up to” phrase comes in handy. The Offscreen tests show a remarkably different story. Check below:
“For a more accurate sense of true processing power, we had to utilize the off-screen tests, which run at a fixed resolution of 720p. On a level playing field, the A5X’s processing prowess came to light.”
Without the display being used to its full potential, the A5X managed over 15,000 frames at 138 frames per second. The A5 managed just over 10,000 frames at 90 frames per second. The ASUS? Almost 8,000 frames at 69 FPS. That was with the Egypt offscreen tests. The Pro test produced similar results with different values. The long and short of it is, that the graphics performance – when using the same resolution as the others.
So, what does this mean for you general consumers and end users? Not a lot. Yes, the A5X has a much more powerful graphics processor than anything, but it needs it. That Retina display sucks up all the power it can get. You will notice that graphics on the new iPad will be incredible compared to any other tablets, but the chip doesn’t achieve that on its own. It’s powering the awesome display.
For a full geek-out and report on the tests performed, check IGN’s original article.