GLBenchmark 2.0

GLBenchmark 2.0—as its name implies—tests OpenGL ES 2.0 performance on compatible devices. The suite includes two long benchmarking scenarios with a demanding combination of OpenGL ES 2.0 effects - texture based and direct lighting, bump, environment, and radiance mapping, soft shadows, vertex shader based skinning, level of detail support, multi-pass deferred rendering, noise textures, and ETC1 texture compression.

GLBenchmark 2.0 is the best example of an even remotely current 3D game running on this class of hardware—and even then this is a stretch. If you want an idea of how the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 stacks up to the competition however, GLBenchmark 2.0 is probably going to be our best bet (at least until we get Epic to finally release an Unreal Engine benchmark).

GLBenchmark 2.0 Egypt

Without AA, the Egypt test runs at 5.4x the frame rate of the original iPad. It's even 3.7x the speed of the Tegra 2 in the Xoom running at 1280 x 800 (granted that's an iOS vs. Android comparison as well).

GLBenchmark 2.0 Egypt - FSAA

With AA enabled the iPad 2 advantage grows to 7x. In a game with the complexity of the Egypt test the original iPad wouldn't be remotely playable while the iPad 2 could run it smoothly.

The Pro test is a little more reasonable, showing a 3 - 4x increase in performance compared to the original iPad:

GLBenchmark 2.0 PRO

GLBenchmark 2.0 PRO - FSAA

While we weren't able to reach the 9x figure claimed by Apple (I'm not sure that you'll ever see 9x running real game code), a range of 3 - 7x in GLBenchmark 2.0 is more reasonable. In practice I'd expect something less than 5x but that's nothing to complain about. We'll be doing power analysis over the weekend so expect more detail in our full review.

Putting the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 to Use: Infinity Blade

As we pointed out in our iPad 2 Preview, at least one developer already picked up on the amount of extra GPU horsepower in the new iPad 2. Epic put out an updated version of Infinity Blade with support for the iPad 2. Run it on an iPad and you'll get the same old Infinity Blade, but run it on an iPad 2 and you'll get more detail, higher resolution textures and anti-aliasing.

Remember that iPad and iPhone devices are more closed than your PC. There's no adjusting detail settings or resolution, so the target frame rate is usually what's fixed. Developers are simply able to deliver a better looking experience at roughly the same frame rate with upgraded hardware. In the case of Infinity Blade, load times are reduced thanks to the Cortex A9 CPU cores and there is some improvement in frame rate but the biggest impact comes from the improved visuals.

Below is the comparison beween Infinity Blade on the iPad and iPad 2 we ran in this morning's preview:


Mouse over to see Infinity Blade on the iPad 2

There's far more detail in the character models as well as the environment. Lighting looks improved and the AA is definitely appreciated.


Mouse over to see Infinity Blade on the iPad 2

The gallery below has a bunch of side by side shots showing the improvements made to Infinity Blade for the iPad 2 vs. what you get when you run the game on a first generation iPad.

To Be Concluded...

We're still hard at work on our full iPad 2 review. We've got no less than four units running through battery life tests right now and there's still more to talk about in the review. We'll keep you posted, thanks for reading!

Benchmarking the PowerVR SGX543MP2
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  • tzhu07 - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    Trying to convince the other side that they're wrong when it comes to iOS vs Android debates is like trying to convert someone's religion or political affiliation. Plus, let's never forget this graphic:

    http://johns-jokes.com/afiles/images/arguing_on_th...
    Reply
  • spambonk - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    It doesn't make sense that there would be such a difference - isn't it more likely the benchmarking program doesn't use both cores when its doing whatever it is doing. Reply
  • mrdeez - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    I think you may have something there...this doesn't m ake any sense that the xoom would be so low. Nvidia has been known for graphics, especially open gl. Something tells me that some updates are in order and if this is true and this is the best gaming that the xoom can do then don't buy one if you plan on gaming on it. I for the life of me hate every touchscreen game that I've ever played. Reply
  • video guy - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Beyond H.264 that is accelerated in HW, i am curious to know if anyone has made any benchmarks for other codecs on iPad2 such as VC-1 (Microsoft camp, that will not deliver a tablet any time soon) or WebM (Google camp thta does not seem very strong on Video...). especially with the powervr sgx543mp2 core to accelerate some of the video primitives. Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I think you're vastly overestimating the role of the GPU in codec work. Almost all mobile SoC's have either dedicated fixed-logic for such things or power-efficient DSP's. Very little of the work is actually done on the GPU. Reply
  • PeteH - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Very true. No one wants to run a power-hungry GPU more often than absolutely necessary. Reply
  • professor78 - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    I see alot of this refers to Tegra comparions. This is incorrect.
    The Xoom is one deice that is currently un-optimised for a set of benchmarking tools. Check out other Tegra devices - even the £250 Advent Vega - It scores about the same, and in some cases MORE than the iPAD 2.
    So Tegra and the New A5 chip are about the same.

    Maybe Anand shoould run a retaction about Tegra comparisons, or test the iPAD up against a device that is half the price!
    Reply
  • GnillGnoll - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    The Advent Vega gets 20.8 fps in GLBenchmark 2.0 Egypt and 43.8 fps in GLBenchmark 2.0 Pro (see http://www.glbenchmark.com/phonedetails.jsp?benchm... ).

    iPad 2 gets 44/57.6 fps while rendering 28% more pixels. That's in no way "about the same".
    Reply
  • spin26 - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    good job apple for making the tablet space competitive
    i hope prices will go down faster than expected.

    NVIDIA is a graphics company, im pretty sure it can catch up on this performance gap.
    Android 3.0 is a version 0 release, optimizations can come just like it did on version 2, by that it can minimize the gap on performance. the Xoom is a great tablet, it just need to be priced reasonable to compete here as it no longer deserves the premium its asking for, ipad 2 is better in many ways.
    Reply
  • joeldm - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    . . . here in Atlanta I'm seeing iPads everywhere. Parents using them while at their kids' soccer games, at the dojo where I've seen a number of parents and practitioners using them, at the Atlanta airport there were at every gate and in Albuquerque's airport when I flew into there and yes, at Starbucks and other, less well-known coffee shops around town.

    They don't sell 14 million iPads and "no-one has them". The smell of "I hate Apple" fanboies is getting ripe on this list . . . . I don't have one yet, but I will be buying an iPad2. I have three kids in school and one in college, the device is just too darned useful in an educational setting to ignore. And that's where some crazy growth is going to come, in education.

    So all you anti-Apple whiners, it must suck being you these days, eh? ; - )

    JoeL
    Reply

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