Independent benchmark testing is lending a bit of clarity to Apple’s claim that the new A5X chip found in the latest iPad model far exceeds the performance of NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor. Laptop Mag pitted the new iPad against the ASUS Transformer Prime and found that the results were’t as one-sided as Apple would have us believe.
Apple boasted that the A5X CPU offers four times the graphical processing power of Tegra 3, and an OpenGL 3D benchmark confirmed that the new chip outperformed NVIDIA’s platform in this area. The new iPad rendered about two times the frames per second and over four times as many texture pixels. In terms of computation power, however, Tegra 3 was far and away the top dog. The quad-core tablet outperformed the iPad in integer, floating point, and memory performance.
The tests did not rely solely on benchmarks, though. The two devices were pitted head-to-head running two graphically intense games, Riptide GP and Shadowgun. Here thing came down to a bit of a draw. The Retina display of the iPad went a long in way in boosting the appearance of on-screen graphics, but the Tegra 3 versions of the games featured extra graphical flourishes such as splashing water and billowing flags. It isn’t clear if this can be attributed solely to the Tegra 3 chipset or also to in-game optimizations made specifically for the platform.
While the comparison should only serve to spawn new arguments, it is clear that both processing platforms hold their advantages. We’d still like to see Apple’s official test results (and NVIDIA does, too), but this is the best we’ll get for now. Picking the obvious winner isn’t so obvious after all.