GPU Performance - GLBenchmark 2.1

While Intel's Atom core is a newcomer to Android, the PowerVR SGX 540 used in Medfield's SoC has been around the block quite a bit. Most recently, Samsung's Galaxy Nexus used an OMAP 4 that features the same SGX 540 GPU. The GPU clock is a bit higher than we're used to at 400MHz (vs 304MHz for the Galaxy Nexus), but otherwise the design and its performance are both known quantities.

We start with GLBenchmark, one of the better Android GPU tests on the market today. There are two benchmarks, Egypt and Pro, and each is run in two modes: native screen resolution and offscreen (vsync disabled) at 720p. The latter is more useful for apples to apples comparisons as everything is rendering the same number of pixels, whereas performance in the onscreen tests is determined by the screen resolution of the device along with the performance of its GPU.

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt

The X900 falls in just behind the Optimus 3D, which shares the same GPU but is running at a lower resolution. All things considered, the X900 does reasonably well here but it's definitely not leading the pack.

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen (720p)

At the same display resolution and without any vsync limits, the X900 falls significantly behind the cream of the crop. Despite the GPU clock advantage, Medfield is no faster than OMAP 4 in the Galaxy Nexus here which is a bit perplexing. We're either bumping into a memory bandwidth limit or some other CPU/driver limitation. Either way, Intel definitely needs a faster GPU. We'll get it but not until early next year with the 544MP2 in the Atom Z2580.

The Pro results actually show us more of what we expected to see:

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen (720p)

The offscreen tests give the Medfield based X900 a 25% advantage over the Galaxy Nexus, which makes sense. The Droid 4 is closer than that, despite also using the same GPU.

Basemark ES 2.0 V1

Rightware's Basemark ES 2.0 V1 is an aging GPU test that tends to favor Qualcomm's Adreno GPUs above almost all others. The Imagination Technologies based GPUs, such as the SGX 540 used in Medfield (as well as NVIDIA's Tegra GPU) don't fare as well here. Intel's GPU clock advantage does show up a little bit in these tests, making it the fastest PowerVR SGX based offering here:

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Taiji

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Hoverjet

Performance Battery Life
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  • Splynn - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    I'm curious as to if there will be cost saving in the software development side of a tablet or phone. Intel is very good at developing platforms at this point that have a consistency from a software point of view (for example, PCIe works like a super set of PCI from a software point of view which was a big factor in its adoption).

    If this saves enough on the cost of development and maintaining the software, then it would seem to be a good option. But it would be a new way of doing business for the embedded market.
    Reply
  • djgandy - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Not a bad attempt, sure there are better SoC's out there but considering the age of the current Atom architecture and how it began it's not faring too badly. Medfield is a pretty old chip in terms of design. I'd expect Intel to start tick-tocking with Atom soon Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, April 26, 2012 - link

    The whole POINT is that Intel probably can't spin this as fast as ARM can. That has always been the more intelligent argument against Intel in this space-not that x86 is too large or too power hungry, but that it is so so so much more painful to design and validate, but any attempt to cut corners has the potential for embarrassing bugs like the pentium FPU bug. Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    I wonder how much better this phone would do with ICS loaded instead of GB? Will AT give this phone an update when the official ROM is released?

    Please forgive my ignorance - you could load Windows XP or Windows 7 on this thing, correct? Dual boot? Is there hardware that would restrict one from doing so? Seems to me that if it's just a glorified X86 Atom, it could be done. Arguments about drivers, battery life, and overall functionality aside...

    I'll keep watch over at XDA...
    Reply
  • S20802 - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    How would it be with Win7 SE? Pretty Cool for fun. Reply
  • Rick83 - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    There might be some issues with Windows, as it probably expects some desktop hardware, such as PCI or PCIe buses.
    While the CPU is x86 (x64 supposedly), the systems is not necessarily what you'd call "PC-compatible".

    Plus, the boot-loader is probably locked tightly.

    It would be interesting to see how Windows 8 positions itself though. With the mobile version now being called Windows for ARM, I'm wondering if the normal version will run on the reduced platform that mobile Atom offers.
    Reply
  • superPC - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Windows 8 can run on x86 SOC with LPDDR2 and no PCI/PCIe buses ( http://phil-it.org/chris/?p=1179 ). This phone can't run windows 8 though because it doesn't have any DirectX 9_3 compatible GPU. Now if anyone started selling phones with Z2580 (it uses PowerVR SGX544MP2 that can run DirectX 9_3) than it's all fair game (provided we can tinker with the BIOS and bootloader). Reply
  • IcePhase - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    Doesn't Windows 8 also require a 768p screen? Reply
  • superPC - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    yes if you want to run metro apps. if you only use the desktop than it's all good (tried this myself with HP mini note with the exact same resolution as this phone, pathetic i know...). for benchmarking though desktop is all we need. if you want to use it as a phone though than it's going to be tough (to say the least). Reply
  • superPC - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - link

    yes if you want to run metro apps. if you only use the desktop than it's all good (tried this myself with HP mini note with the exact same resolution as this phone, pathetic i know...). for benchmarking though desktop is all we need. if you want to use it as a phone though than it's going to be tough (to say the least). Reply

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