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.
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.