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Graphics Handhelds Apple Technology

NVIDIA Challenges Apple's iPad Benchmarks 198

MojoKid writes "At the iPad unveiling last week, Apple flashed up a slide claiming that the iPad 2 was 2x as fast as Nvidia's Tegra 3, while the new iPad would be 4x more powerful than Team Green's best tablet. NVIDIA's response boils down to: 'it's flattering to be compared to you, but how about a little data on which tests you ran and how you crunched the numbers?' NVIDIA is right to call Apple out on the meaningless nature of such a comparison, and the company is likely feeling a bit dogpiled given that TI was waving unverified webpage benchmarks around less than two weeks ago. That said, the Imagination Technologies (PowerVR) GPUs built into the iPad 2 and the new iPad both utilize tile-based rendering. In some ways, 2012 is a repeat of 2001 — memory bandwidth is at an absolute premium because adding more bandwidth has a direct impact on power consumption. The GPU inside NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 is a traditional chip, which means it's subject to significant overdraw, especially at higher resolutions. Apple's comparisons may be bogus, but Tegra 3's bandwidth issue they indirectly point to aren't. It will be interesting to see NVIDIA's next move and what their rumored Tegra 3+ chip might bring."
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NVIDIA Challenges Apple's iPad Benchmarks

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  • PowerVR, eh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @01:44PM (#39318623) Homepage Journal

    I didn't know the PowerVR chips were still around. I had one of the early video cards based on the technology for my PC years ago. It worked ok, but that was long before things like shaders were an issue.

    Still, we are talking about a portable device, so I'd think battery life would be more important than having the latest whizz-bang shaders. And just look at all the grief people hare having with the Android lineup due to shader differences between vendors.

    Thank God I focus on business programming, not video games. I've yet to hear of ANY tablet or smartphone having problems displaying graphs and charts.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @01:52PM (#39318675)
    From what we know the A5X is pretty much the same as the A5 except it uses 4 PowerVR SGX543 cores instead of 2. Now this 4 core GPU configuration is the same as the PS Vita albeit the Vita uses a 4 core ARM as the CPU and the Vita runs a smaller 960 × 544 qHD screen. Comparatively, the Vita should beat the iPad on gaming given the hardware for intensely graphic games. For Angry Birds, it may not make much of a difference. At the present time, we don't know if Apple tweaked the A5X in other ways to boost game performance.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @01:54PM (#39318681) Journal
    Given Apple's (relative) hardware homogeneity(certainly more than Android; but the steadily accumulating pile of older iDevices is inevitable and not going away just yet...), I assume that iOS games will largely tax the GPU as hard as possible; but not try overshooting(just as console games generally push right to the edge, since the edge is a known quantity). It will be interesting to see if the new 'retina display' ipads end up seeing titles that sacrifice complexity in other areas to push native resolution, or whether we'll see a lot of 'well, it's smoothly upsampled; but fundamentally the same resolution as the iPad N-1' stuff...

    One thing that I don't think has come up yet; but would be interesting to see, is whether Nvidia tries to turn their disadvantage into a bonus by doing more aggressive power scaling...

    If, as TFA suggests, Tegra parts are held back by memory bandwidth; because faster busses are power hungry, this suggests that they might be able to substantially speed-bump their parts when the device is on AC power or otherwise not power constrained. So long as the switchover is handled reasonably elegantly, that could turn out to be an advantage in the various HDMI dock/computer replacement/etc. scenarios...
  • by volcanopele ( 537152 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:03PM (#39318721)
    The graphics capabilities of both the iPad (2nd and 3rd gen) and Tegra 3 tablets are more than capable of playing high quality games. At the very least, direct ports from the last console generation (like GTA III and The Bard's Tale) run just fine on both types of tablet devices. The problem is not the GPU of either Apple or Google's tablets. The problem is money -- how much money are developers willing to spend on producing a game where the max selling price is ~$10 (I've only seen >$15 on the Final Fantasy ports). This limits the scope of mobile games on either OS to either pretty tech demos (like Infinity Blade), games designed to the lowest common device (think Gameloft's games), cheaply designed casual games that don't push the GPU in the slightest (Angry Birds, Jetpack Joyride), or ports of older games (FF Tactics, GTA III, The Bard's Tale).
    Don't get me wrong, I love gaming on my iPad (or at least I like it enough to have no desire to get a PS Vita), but there are few games that truly push the GPU because there is just no money in it to do so. Until people are willing to pay $30-40 for a top-notch game on their mobile device, we won't.

    and before someone says that touchscreens are another factor, please, that's only a problem with ports (or developers who think touchscreen games are just like console or handheld games without thinking (*cough*EA sports*cough*). Fighting games that require you to hit a bunch of virtual buttons are wretched on a touch screen device. fighting games like Infinity Blade are pretty fun because they take advantage of the touch screen, rather than treat the screen like a virtual controller. I actually did like GTA III, but I often had to find alternative ways to complete missions because running and gunning was more difficult than using the sniper rifle.

  • Re:This is funny. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:26PM (#39318851)

    Smeared the floor with Tegra 3? I'm sorry, but meaningless benchmarks are meaningless. I hold both Tegra 2 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and iPad 2 devices in my hand at this very minute, and I can tell you that there is essentially no noticeable difference between the two in terms of responsiveness or 3D performance from the point of view of the end user (and that's despite the iPad 2 having a significantly lower-resolution screen than the Tegra 2 device. The latter has 30% more pixels than the iPad 2 does.)

    For the iPad 2 to "wipe the floor" with Tegra 3, it would have to be significantly slower than Tegra 2, and it isn't. Hence, these benchmarks can be nothing other than complete nonsense.

  • by TraumaHound ( 30184 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:33PM (#39318899)

    Considering that these graphics benchmarks from Anandtech [] show the iPad 2 GPU handily beating a Tegra 3, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch that the iPad 3 GPU should beat it further.

  • by Narishma ( 822073 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:37PM (#39318913)

    The Vita also has 128MB of dedicated VRAM which the iPad (or any other smartphone or tablet for that matter that I'm aware of) doesn't, making things even more difficult to compare.

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @02:42PM (#39318943)
    Having back-in-the-day written a fair bit of code that ran on both PPC and Intel x86, including a bit of assembly for both, I'd agree that Apple's comparisons were more a work of marketing than engineering but PPC legitimately had its moments. Apple used phrases like "up to twice as fast" and there were certainly cases where this was true, however these tended to be very specialized situations where the underlying algorithm played to the natural strengths of the PPC architecture. Such case do not represent the more general code and common algorithms. In general my recollection of those days is that PPC had about a 25% performance advantage over x86. However this advantage was nullified by Intel's ability to reach much higher clock rates.

    Overall, as a Mac game developer, it took a bit of effort to get Mac ports on a par with their PC counterparts. One caveat here, emphasize "port" - that the games tended to have been written with only x86 in mind. Contrary to popular belief it is entirely possibly to write code in high level languages that favor one architecture over the other, CISC or RISC, etc. So the x86 side may have had an advantage in that the code was naturally written to favor that architecture. However a counterpoint would be that we did profile extensively and re-write perfectly working original code where we thought we could leverage the PPC architecture. This included dropping down to assembly when compilers could not leverage the architecture properly. Still, this only achieved parity.

    Again, note this was back-in-the-day, games that were not using a GPU. So it was more of a CPU v CPU comparison.
  • Re:This is funny. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @06:42PM (#39320525) Journal

    Considering Apple typically doesn't play too lose with the marketing statistics

    What planet are you from?

    "After a legal complaint by 70-year-old William Gillis over the "twice as fast for half the price" statement found in iPhone 3G marketing, Apple responded with a 9-page, 32-point rebuttal—one paragraph of which included this overly harsh, but very telling, statement:

    Plaintiff's claims, and those of the purported class, are barred by the fact that the alleged deceptive statements were such that no reasonable person in Plaintiff's position could have reasonably relied on or misunderstood Apple's statements as claims of fact.

    In other words, if you believe what Apple says in an Apple ad, you are not a reasonable person.

  • Re:This is funny. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Prune ( 557140 ) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @09:34PM (#39321851)

    > 12 years of membership

    What is this, a comparison of e-penis size as implied by length of slashdot membership? Maybe instead of trying to lead attention away from the fact that you were called out as an Apple shill--which I don't need the anonymous coward to tell me because I know already is the case, this being not the first time I see your nick on this board over the years attached exactly to this type of post--you should take it like a man and hang your head in deserved shame.

  • Re:This is funny. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@ g m a> on Sunday March 11, 2012 @09:52PM (#39321967)

    I'll take any legitimate criticism if it's posted by an actual logged in member, and as long as it is accurate - I don't mind that at all.

    What I do mind is being accused of being someone else (I am not); being accused of being paid to post (I have never been, nor will I ever be); or, as in some other posts have suggested, been one of several sock puppet accounts for a PR firm.

    I mention the length of time I've been on /. merely as an aside. It's not a dick waving contest - I don't even have a particularly low UID so it's hardly something to drop trousers over since there are plenty of older veterans around - that said, I have been around here for a very long time (at least as far as forum memberships go), so the accusations that are being levelled at me (that have really only started in the last few months) would be amusing if they didn't make me sigh in pity for a site I've been a part of for so long really sinking to the level of a troll pit.

    This used to be a place where you could have a decent discussion on the net without an opposing opinion painting you as an "obvious" paid shill.

    I'll stand up and admit to anything I have *actually* done wrong, but I will not admit to something I have not done, no matter how much "proof" (as one post laughably put it) is claimed, since I personally know it's nonsense. I cannot prove the AC trolls wrong, of course, which is why the campaigns to silence "hostile" voices are so effective - it's very easy to accuse and whip up a froth of vitriol, but impossible to prove a negative. All I can do is try to weather the storm.

    Again, for the record. Not bonch, never will be bonch, never been paid to post, never will be paid to post, not a sock puppet account, never shared login details with anyone else.

    I'd make it a sig, but who reads those, right?

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!