GPU Performance

The 4th generation iPad integrates a quad-core PowerVR SGX 554 (MP4). The 554MP4 doubles USSE2 count over the previous generation PowerVR SGX 543MP4 used in the iPad 3, while keeping ROP and TMU counts the same. The result is a pure doubling of peak theoretical shader performance:

Mobile SoC GPU Comparison
  PowerVR SGX 543 PowerVR SGX 543MP2 PowerVR SGX 543MP3 PowerVR SGX 543MP4 PowerVR SGX 554 PowerVR SGX 554MP2 PowerVR SGX 554MP4
Used In - iPad 2/mini iPhone 5 iPad 3 - - iPad 4
SIMD Name USSE2 USSE2 USSE2 USSE2 USSE2 USSE2 USSE2
# of SIMDs 4 8 12 16 8 16 32
MADs per SIMD 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Total MADs 16 32 48 64 32 64 128
GFLOPS @ 300MHz 9.6 GFLOPS 19.2 GFLOPS 28.8 GFLOPS 38.4 GFLOPS 19.2 GFLOPS 38.4 GFLOPS 76.8 GFLOPS

The theoretical numbers validate Apple's "2x faster GPU" claims, but as always we'll turn to Kishonti's GLBenchmark to see how achievable that performance increase is.

We'll start out with the raw theoretical numbers beginning with fill rate:

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Fill Test

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Fill Test (Offscreen 1080p)

The peak fill rate test shows a ~16% increase in performance over the previous generation 543MP4. Since there's no increase in number of TMUs we're seeing the results of a higher clocked GPU in the iPad 4's A6X.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test (Offscreen 1080p)

There's a pretty hefty improvement in triangle throughput - we're seeing more than a 60% gain compared to the iPad 3.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Fragment Lit

At native resolution the fragment lit triangle texture test shows a big gain over the iPad 3 (~80%).

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Fragment Lit (Offscreen 1080p)

In both of the final triangle throughput tests the iPad 4 manages a 40 - 45% increase in performance over the iPad 3:

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Vertex Lit

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Triangle Texture Test - Vertex Lit (Offscreen 1080p)

With the synthetics out of the way, we can look at simulated game performance using the Egypt HD and Egypt Classic benchmarks. Remember the on-screen tests are run at native resolution with v-sync enabled, while the offscreen tests are run at 1080p with v-sync disabled for an architectural apples-to-apples comparison.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD

Despite sub-2x gains in a lot of the synthetic tests, Egypt HD shows us what's possible in a simulated game: the new iPad is roughly twice the speed of the previous gen model when running at the panel's native resolution. How we've seen this implemented in many cases is with titles finally running at native resolution on the iPad 4 vs. some lower, scaled resolution on the iPad 3.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Offscreen 1080p)

The Egypt Classic test is a much lighter workload, as a result most of these devices hit 60 fps at their native resolution:

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt Classic

Although Egypt HD is a bit overkill for today's games, Classic undershoots by a good amount. The offscreen test however does provide some guidance as to whether or not these devices would be able to hit 30 fps on an appreciably heavier workload:

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt Classic (Offscreen 1080p)

CPU Performance & Memory Bandwidth PowerVR SGX 554MP4 and iPad Retina Display: A Balanced Platform
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  • Pazz - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Just noticed grammatical correction required for "An Matter of Cost and Timing". Reply
  • Alucard291 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    "Produce boring products" that really summarises apple in the last half a year or so. Reply
  • name99 - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    Really? Not "produce products that will sell twice as well as their predecessors"?

    I'm sorry Apple is not entertaining you --- perhaps you did not realize they were not in that business? You might prefer to follow MS whose ups and downs over the next year should provide ample entertainment.
    Reply
  • danielfranklin - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Sorry Anand, ive just noticed the Ipad resolution on page is is listed as 2408 x 1536 instead of 2048 x 1536.

    Other than that thank you again for your reviews, your in-site and true technical breakdown is the best on the internet, you have been my favorite reviewer since this site started.
    Reply
  • danielfranklin - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Page two that is meant to read.
    Looks like its going to be that kind of day.
    Reply
  • whodakat - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Google really impresses me. It has to be hard work to pack in all the best specs and still get your ass handed to you. Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    in what way? I would argue that the Nexus 10 is a much better tablet. Stereo audio instead of mono, support for multiple separate users (excellent for families), a Proper aspect ratio... one appropriate for actually consuming media, unlike that iPad. A dedicated HDMI out is a nice touch. There are many, many things I could list. I'm really not even sure what you're talking about in your comment -- color calibration? I'm sure that will be the first thing most consumers check... Reply
  • EnzoFX - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    There isn't one that is clearly better. The iOS and app store is the biggest thing the iPad has for the average consumer. Proper aspect ratio? Who are you to say what's proper? lol Seriously though, it depends on WHAT you're consuming. 4x3 is ideal for reading, that is books and web browsing. THIS is why Apple sticks with 4x3, and it makes COMPLETE sense. Most of what people do is consume webpages, not videos. Webpages are the focus, and rightly so. I always say, if you want a more serious movie device, watch them on your TV. haha. Color calibration isn't something to check, you notice it right away by looking at it, that it's a more realistic representation of photos, etc. Your arguments are severely flawed, but yes the Nexus 10 is a comparable device and worthy of consideration. Reply
  • Zink - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    Tablet is for reading, LCD in living room is for TV and movies. The iPad and HP Playbook at 4:3 are doing it right. 10" 16:10 is ok, just not after adding in soft keys and notification bar that cut down landscape height. Reply
  • coder543 - Thursday, December 06, 2012 - link

    HP doesn't make the playbook. Making random observations doesn't impact anything, as reading on 16:10 is extremely feasible. Reply

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