Tegra 3 GPU: Making Honeycomb Buttery Smooth

The bigger impact on the overall experience is the Tegra 3's GPU. If you remember back to our initial analysis of Tegra 3 you'll know that the GPU is not only clocked higher but it also has more execution resources at its disposal. To further improve performance, per "core" efficiency is up thanks to some larger internal data structures and tweaks. The end result is much better gaming performance as well as a much smoother UI.

Tasks like bringing up the apps launcher or even swiping between home screens are finally far above 30 fps. While Tegra 2 didn't have the fill rate to deal with some of the more complex overlays in Honeycomb, Tegra 3 does. The move to Tegra 3 makes the Honeycomb experience so much better. This is what it should've been like from the start.

Gaming performance is also significantly better as you can see from our standard collection of Android GPU benchmarks:

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen 720p

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen 720p

BaseMark ES2.0 - Hover (1024 x 768)

BaseMark ES2.0 - Taiji (1024 x 768)

Performance is still not quite up to par with the iPad 2, but if we look at GLBenchmark's Egypt test Tegra 3 doesn't do too bad. The gap grows in more texture bound tests but in a heavier shader environment Tegra 3 isn't too shabby. While it's clear that Tegra 2 wasn't enough to deal with the 1280 x 752 resolution of Honeycomb tablets, Tegra 3 seems well matched.

Note that the BaseMark ES2.0 tests run at FP16 on Tegra 2 and 3 vs. FP24 on the PowerVR SGX 543MP2.

CPU Performance The Display: Perfect
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  • jleach1 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    What the hell are these "Normal","Power Saving", and "Balanced" labels?

    I'm not going to read a single page more of this article. The benchmarks mean nothing when not explained.

    I'm using a transformer sans prime, and have no such ability to choose some type of profile, or whatever the heck they are.

    I've never been frustrated or a tad bit angry with an a and article before....but I suppose there's a first time for everything, eh?
    Reply
  • thunng8 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    WTH?, there is a whole page explaining the 3 power profiles. Please read the article Reply
  • Abini - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    I read the review by Josh Miller on CNET and they also had a model that had WiFi issues. I am looking to replace my old clunky laptop and an ereader with this model, so I'm hoping it is just a fluke, but with two different reviewers getting "bad" items, that makes me suspicious. Like the Apple denials of iPhone antenna issues, I don't want to buy version 1.0 and find out that it can't handle better than 2MBPS connections due to a hardware issue.

    I'm holding off for few months to see how the WiFi works for the rest of the people before I jump onboard.
    Reply
  • kenyee - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    That's not good.

    I was going to get on the preorder list for this...sounds like it's finally a good Android tablet (or at least on par w/ the Galaxy Tab).
    Wish it had a built-in USB port, but there's an inexpensive dongle for it...
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Battery life is just wrong on these things. An ipad 2 would never get 12 hours battery life. After using one for 3 months you'd be lucky to get 9 hours in that same test. Real world usage goes down to about 6. Gaming, less than 2 hours, again after a few months of use. That's just annoyingly bad for such an expensive device. This model HAS to at least beat that. By all rights it should be doubling that. These things are too weak, too light, and run out of juice too quick. They should have at least double the battery capacity. The fact that they dont even offer a higher capacity battery really irks me.

    I rant and rave about how my ipoop can barely even load a youtube video. I set it down so it can buffer for a few minutes, and I come back and the screen is locked and when I unlock it I have to reload the stupid video. These things are just so much junk its not even funny. As I said all along ...
    Reply
  • billus - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    My original iPad-1, pre-ordered and heavily used since day one, plays video for 11.5 hours straight...still...with 3G off and Wi-Fi on.

    YouTube videos don't reload when the display locks, at least not with iOS 5, and video playback takes only 2-3 seconds to start for me.
    Reply
  • Sevenfeet - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    First, congrats to Anandtech for a great review as always, despite the time constraints.

    So here's the takeaways I get from reading this:

    1. Asus really managed to get a well designed piece of physical engineering out the door and in people's hands. That's better than HP, Motorola and a host of other iPad wannabees. Well done.

    2. The screen is nice and apparently class leading. Again, well done, although you shouldn't pat yourself on the back too much for surpassing something that Apple built two product cycles ago and will likely blow away next quarter. Just sayin... For right now, it's the leader, and will continue to be in 3, 2, 1....

    2. As with everything in the Android world, it was necessary to ship early rather than complete. With Ice Cream Sandwich literally making the scene now, it would have been a great addition to this machine. As it stands, it's yet another upgrade users have to do...assuming they every get it which is sadly the way of things with Android upgrades from manufacturers. Lots of promises, poor execution. I could understand it if the issue was shipping ahead of Christmas but the window for that was a number of weeks ago, not early December. Even Amazon was pushing it by having the Kindle Fire launch around Thanksgiving.

    3. The NVidia Kal-El chip has been the talk of tech blogs for months. Quad-core + one low power core sounds pretty cool. But a chip clocked at 1.3 Ghz with 4 cores is barely outrunning a 1 Ghz dual-core A5 that Apple designed a year ago, and gets mostly worse battery life despite the smaller die size of the SOC. Really Nvidia? This is the best you got? The real story should be how Apple is managing to get their performance out of underclocked CPUs and still gets better battery life.

    4. Which brings me to video. Again Nvidia, this is your core competency...graphics. When your butt is getting kicked by a product designed a year ago, that tells me you still have a ways to go in the mobile space before you are truly competitive. The playing of m4v and high profile formats is way cool...props there. But you're still getting boat-raced in the one space where you should be king. C'mon, man...

    Yes, I do like my iPad but I also want these tablets to get better because it makes the entire industry better. But watching some of the comments in these parts strikes me of the upmost in homerism. True, some like being able to warp Android into whatever they want, but many of us grownups have families and frankly, things to do. I don't have the time to fool with tweaking stuff I used to 20 years ago. I want the thing to work the first time. Which brings me to my next point...all that configuration potential is terrible for certain applications. I have an iPad for my special needs son and iOS is the gold standard for special needs applications. Why? Because my son can understand it and not break the thing. Sometimes I don't think many of you realize how hard simplicity really is to achieve. I could never put an Android device in front of him without him putting through a freaking window.

    Lastly, iTunes isn't the world's greatest app but considering all the things it has to do, I amazed it works as well as it does. Most of you have no idea how difficult it is to manage a storefront of its size communicating to what's probably the world's largest ERP system. Is is the best in performance? No, it could be much better. But it chokes on 200 gig of music? My library of 420+gigs of lossless music + another terabyte of ripped video content would like to have a world with you.

    Ice Cream Sandwich looks cool and we'll see Windows tablets sometime in 2012. But for right now, I still haven't seen anyone who can mop the floor with the iPad, no excuses.
    Reply
  • billus - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    One of the first comments that makes sense.

    I see so many people saying that they would never get their parents or kids an iPad. Hate to tell you, but you're not doing them any favors by getting them an Android tablet with the possible exception of the Kindle Fire. You've missed the entire point. Nobody except uber-geeks wants to deal with all that stuff. Say what you will, but for most people, iTunes works just fine and has a low learning curve.

    Now, ICS may be a better much for this tablet, but it's hilarious that, in terms of performance, the iPad beats an nVidia quad-core, has better battery life and even whips it in graphics performance. You've finally matched the original iPad and you're proclaiming victory?

    Regardless, why would I care about all quad-core vs. single-core as long as the darn thing works and is fast enough for me to not notice? My Galaxy is a pain in the *** compared to my iPad-1 and far less useful.
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Sunday, December 04, 2011 - link

    The original iPad? It was the iPad 2 in the charts. Reply
  • TareX - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    You said most what I wanted to say; I too have a busy career and don't have time to switch ROMS, and do the tweaking I used to do with my purchases. I have an Atrix and it's running Froyo for heaven's sake.

    I will be holding out till ICS gets released with the Prime. But I'm getting the Prime. I can't wait till next year; and I know I won't be getting an iPad.
    Reply

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