When the third generation iPad was announced on March 7th, Tim Cook claimed that the A5X chip in the tablet was able to outperform the Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 GPU (graphics processing unit) four times over.
Now that the iPad has been released into the wild, those claims can finally be tested. How will the new iPad actually perform when it is pitted against the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which spots a Tegra 3 chip?
Surprisingly well, actually. Using the GLBenchmark 2.1, which has versions for both Android and iOS, the new iPad scored much higher than the Transformer Prime. With the Egypt Standard test (which displays a 3D animation of ancient Egypt) the new iPad processed 6718 frames at 60 frames-per-second (fps). The Transformer Prime processed just 5,939 frames at 53 fps.
In the Geometric test, designed to measure low-level shader performance, the iPad was the star, processing 7,530,524 frames at a rate of 57 fps while the Transformer Prime lagged far behind, processing 3,523,926 at 27 fps. The Fill test was similar (measures texturing speed) and the iPad processed 1.98 billion textels per second compared to the Transformer Prime’s 404.61 million.
Using Geekbench, which is benchmarking software that measures raw processing power instead of graphics power, the Tegra 3 managed to beat out the iPad with a score of 1,561 to the A5X’s 692. The Transformer Prime also scored higher on the floating point and memory subtests, but was bested by the iPad on the stream subset.
The site that performed these benchmarks, Laptop Mag, also did a subjective test of the gaming performance of both tablets, and noted that the images looked “sharper and more colorful on the new iPad’s Retina display.” However, the Tegra 3 was able to render extra processor-intensive images and objects that were missing from the iPad. For example, in Riptide there were more reflections on the water and better splashing effects.
While it might seem like the Tegra 3 was the winner during the subjective test, neither game tested by Laptop Mag had been optimized for the iPad’s new processor, so it’s entirely possible that it, too, is capable of those extra effects over its iPad 2 predecessor. Check out the video to see their comments on each game – it seems like the new iPad, overall, won out on account of its crisp display, rather than its performance power.