GPU Performance

Prior to today there was a bug in GLBenchmark that prevented it from running on some Android 4.0.3 devices. Our Eee Pad Transformer Prime was one of those devices and thus we couldn't produce updated Tegra 3 scores using GLBenchmark. Thankfully GLBench 2.1.1 finally made it through testing/validation and includes a slightly different workload, with a number of bug fixes. Android 4.0.3 now works properly and we were able to continue our MSM8960 vs. Tegra 3 comparison. Note that the iOS build of GLBenchmark 2.1.1 is not yet available so we can't provide any iPad 2 comparisons yet.

Tegra 3's GPU performance is much improved compared to Tegra 2, and in the Egypt benchmark we see a tangible advantage over MSM8960. As we mentioned yesterday, only the first Krait SoC will use Adreno 225 - future versions will ship with Adreno 3xx, offering even better GPU performance. As the initial showdown is likely going to be Tegra 3 vs. MSM8960, this is a valid comparison.

GLBenchmark 2.1.1 - Egypt - Offscreen (720p)

Qualcomm and NVIDIA swap places once again when we look at the older GLBenchmark Pro test, although both perform well thanks to the lighter nature of this test.

GLBenchmark 2.1.1 - PRO - Offscreen (720p)

Basemark ES 2.0 is completely dominated by Adreno however:

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Taiji

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Hoverjet

I'm still not totally sure why Basemark favors Adreno architectures so much but the results are what they are.

We've also been playing with Electopia, another Qualcomm-friendly test:


We do bump into Vsync limits with both the Tegra 3 and Qualcomm MDP at 800 x 480. Unfortunately Electopia doesn't allow for custom display resolutions, the only options are WVGA or native. The MDP has a native resolution of 1024 x 600 compared to the TF Prime's 1280 x 800 making a comparison at native resolutions unfair. That being said, according to Qualcomm the MSM8960 should be able to deliver around 40 fps at 1280 x 720 compared to the 24.6 fps we measured on the Transformer Prime at 1280 x 800.

Although Electopia is a game, it's still tough to tell how killer 3D titles on Android will end up performing. Oh the things I would do for an Unreal Engine 3 benchmark on Android...

CPU Performance: Preferring Single vs. Multithreaded Performance Final Words


View All Comments

  • Arnulf - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    Quad core Krait in a tablet/notebook should do just fine competing not only with other ARM implementations but other architectures as well. I think this is going to be the Core2 of the ARM world, the first truly "good enough" CPU that can take all reasonable loads and last for 5+ years without becoming totally useless due to ubiquitous software bloat. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    I want your crystal ball! Nao! :D Reply
  • peter123 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    So can we conclude that a dual core krait will outrun any quad core A9 implementation?
    What about the omap4470?
  • metafor - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    OMAP4470's dual memory controller may help it. But in many workloads, Krait will obviously still be ahead. The 4470's SGX 544 would likely -- given TI's history of high clockspeeds on the GPU -- outperform the Adreno 225 and possibly by a wide margin. Reply
  • peter123 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    But besides a new GPU and a higher clock, the 4470 is a standard dual core A9 chip, isn't it? Or is there some other improvements? Reply
  • metafor - Friday, February 24, 2012 - link

    Well, it runs the A9's at 1.8GHz IIRC. So that'll close the margins between it and 8960. There's no getting around the inherent architectural deficiency, of course but judging by the few benchmarks in the article, they don't seem to rely all that much on architecture and are more a function of just clockspeed.

    High-clocked A9 devices will likely benchmark well. We need better benchmarks.
  • mutil0r - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    It all depends on the workload. Given most smartphone use cases, it wouldn't be difficult to imagine the krait being more useful. But it wouldn't be correct to write off the A9, especially compared to a krait which isn't a full blown A15. GPU seems to be another story can be seen. The MDP device which I assume is developer only and hence all-out, is bested by the Transformer Prime. Until the Adreno 305 comes out krait will be bring up the rear on GPU benchmarks Reply
  • peter123 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    Ok it's clear that until Qualcomm uses the Adreno 3xx the S4's GPU will be the not sso good side of this SoC. What I wonder is how the S4 will stand against a A9 quad core Exynos 4412 or other implementations. This will be I think the main contest over 2012 SoC supremacy. Reply
  • metafor - Friday, February 24, 2012 - link

    Hrm? I understand Adreno 225 isn't exactly blowing anyone's mind but Tegra 3's GPU was ahead in 1 out of 5 benchmarks. And looking at the Basemark scenes, Adreno can be significantly faster. Reply
  • Wishmaster89 - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    And there is still probably some place left for newer and more optimized drivers, so I wouldn't call 225 worse than T3 GPU.

    We need more demanding benchmarks to truly test those new high performance GPU's.

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