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New iPad's A5X beats NVIDIA Tegra 3 in some key tests

updated 11:50 am EDT, Mon March 19, 2012

New iPad outruns Tegra 3 in gaming and web

A fresh comparison has validated many of the suspicions that the new iPad's A5X may well be faster than NVIDIA's Tegra 3 processor in a large number of tests. Apple's slate, despite competing against a quad-core chip from a company considered an expert in graphics, was faster in visually-oriented tests conducted by Laptop. While a standard GLBenchmark test showed it about 13 percent faster, a texture fill rate test in the same suite showed it having almost five times the processing power in that area.

The testing likewise showed a performance edge hinted earlier for web browsing. Using the stock browsers on each, the iPad's A5X finished the Sunspider JavaScript test in 1,810ms, in line with Electronista's own results and much faster than the 2,216ms of the stock Android 4.0 browser. Its benchmarking didn't include Chrome for Android, which we've found should improve the Tegra 3's speed if still leaving it behind the A5X. A more generalized web test, Peacekeeper, saw the two even despite the purported core and clock speed advantages.

One test, the purely synthetic Geekbench, did show the effect of having the quad-core Tegra 3 in play. The individual test showed the Tegra 3 slightly more than doubling speed overall, although Apple could claim a faster streaming test.

Visual tests showed advantages to both. NVIDIA could clame more visual effects in a game like Riptide GP, which has had special Tegra 3 optimizations, but Apple could claim a much sharper picture through the 2048x1536 display. Tegra 3 tablets will get high-resolution displays through designs like the Acer Iconia Tab A700 and ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity, but the much lower fill rate may prevent them from running as well as the iPad.

The results suggest that, despite NVIDIA's ambitions, Apple may continue to dominate tablet gaming in 2012 and may have a sustained performance edge in general areas like browsing. Software plays at least some part, since iOS has typically been much leaner and can often run as well on half the RAM.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Thecombinationis12345

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You forgot the video...

    The video of those "visual tests" (a.k.a. actual usage) paints a different picture...

  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The video

    They added blowing flags on the Tegra version, that don't blow the same direction the smoke and fog are blowing!?

    At the same time, the smoke in the Tegra 3 version was more discrete and less realistic. Likewise the jetski game had water effects that looked simplified and artifacted, except for the gratuitous water on the lens.

    Not really impressed at this point. At least nVidia is attempting to be competitive. This will help us out in the A-series camp.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The new 'hard core gamer'

    The new 'hard core gamer' rig is a 64GB LTE iPad.
    (Overclocked and liquid nitrogen cooled, of course.)

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