GPU Performance

Contrary to popular opinion prior to its launch, the Clover Trail platform and Cloverview SoC feature a PowerVR SGX 545 GPU. The rumored PowerVR SGX 544MP2 won’t show up until Clover Trail+ next year. The SGX 545 is clocked at a fairly aggressive 533MHz.

Architecturally the 545 is very similar to the PowerVR SGX 540 used in Intel’s Medfield smartphone platform, with a handful of additions. The shader array remains unchanged at four USSE pipes. The 545 adds four more 10-bit integer pipes, doubles the triangle setup rate and doubles the number of depth test units as well. DirectX 10 class texture hardware is also a part of the mix, as well as everything else needed to officially support DirectX 10 (D3D feature level 9_3).

Compared to what’s shipping in the latest iPads however, Clover Trail is horribly under-specced. We don’t have good cross-platform (Windows RT/8) GPU tests yet, but based on what I’ve seen thus far it looks like the GPU here is a bit slower than what you get in a Tegra 3.

Mobile SoC GPU Comparison
  PowerVR SGX 545 NVIDIA Tegra 3 PowerVR SGX 543MP2 PowerVR SGX 543MP4 PowerVR SGX 554MP4
Used In Clover Trail Tegra 3 iPad 2/mini iPad 3 iPad 4
SIMD Name USSE "core" USSE2 USSE2 USSE2
# of SIMDs 4 12 8 16 32
MADs per SIMD 2 1 4 4 4
Total MADs 8 12 32 64 128
GFLOPS @ 300MHz 4.8 GFLOPS 7.2 GFLOPS 19.2 GFLOPS 38.4 GFLOPS 76.8 GFLOPS

Looking at raw FP performance tells us a lot of the story. The 545’s high clock helps it punch above its weight, but it's still significantly less powerful than the 543MP2 used in the iPad 2/mini (and it’s nothing compared to what’s in the iPad 3/4).

Tegra 3-class GPU performance may have been acceptable a year ago running Android, but it’s just too little too late today. Since Clover Trail has full backwards compatibility with older Windows applications, I can put its GPU performance in perspective. Turning to 3DMark03 and 06, we can get a good idea of the class of performance we’re looking at. For complete (and consistent) comparison points, I've tossed the W510's results into Bench so you can compare to any notebook/mobile GPU you want to there.

Futuremark 3DMark03

Futuremark 3DMark06

Compared to the old Atom platform with Intel’s GMA 3150, the PowerVR SGX 545 based GMA is around 3x faster. Even Intel's old mobile G45 graphics are actually slightly slower. Performance is still far behind everything else modern though. The GPU is more than adequate for Modern UI acceleration, but if you have secret hopes of being able to run some of your older games on Clover Trail you’ll want to stash those dreams away.

None of this is really Imagination’s fault - Intel remains generations behind in implementing competitive GPUs in its ultra mobile SoCs. Even the jump to PowerVR SGX 544MP2 next year will happen just as Apple likely moves to Img’s Series 6 (Rogue) architecture. It’s definitely a problem if you’re a silicon company that delivers slower silicon than what your customers can put together.

CPU Performance WiFi & Camera Performance
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  • jeffkro - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    Didn't we see this atom chip get bested by the arm a15 in the new chromebook? Why would any manufacturer pay more for a lower performing atom chip? Until the latest and greatest atom chip comes out towards the end of 2013 its pretty clear the high end in inexpensive low power chips is going to be held by the a15 architecture. Reply
  • jeffkro - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    I think phone and tablet devices based on the tegra 4 are going to be the gold standard for 2013. Reply
  • hrrmph - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    How about:

    - Tegra 4 on the phone; and

    - Haswell on tablets?
    Reply
  • mrdude - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    Haswell's 10W ULV chips will be priced as much as competitors' tablets. And I don't mean just the SoCs, I mean the entire tablet.

    I'm sure Haswell will be great, but unless you're willing to fork over >$900 for a tablet, and very few are, it's not going to fly with the public at large. What Intel needs is Bay Trail, not Haswell. By the looks of it, the A15 will be the king throughout most of 2013
    Reply
  • semiconshawn - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    I will willingly pay a grand or more for a tablet that rans full win8 at intel core speeds that has 256gb,8-9hrs of batt, high qual/dpi screen, and is thinner/lighter the the surface pro. I think by fall of '13 my device will be ready. Probably several to choose from. There may be an SP by then as well. Current crop looks undercooked to me. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    Yes, but mrdude said explicitly, "it's not going to fly with the public at large."

    You might be willing to put down $1k late next year for the tablet PC of your dreams, but by then we'll likely be in a world of $100 7" tablets by Google.

    $100 vs $1k? Even RT devices will probably be $300-700. Meanwhile, Windows RT offers no benefit over Android besides a useless desktop and sync'ing at the cost of sheer multitude of apps available.

    I think I agree with mrdude. Not many people will fork over $1k for a tablet that is like their laptop if they can keep using their current laptop PLUS buy a new $100 tablet every year for 10 years for the same cost of that Surface Pro.
    Reply
  • nofumble62 - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    Tegra4 has a bunch of new graphic cores. Since it uses same 28nm process, I wonder how fast it sucks down the battery. Reply
  • Lonyo - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    Last I checked, ARM doesn't have any backwards compatibility with almost the entire library of x86 Windows applications. Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    Which means nothing, as these mobile chips are too underpowered to actually run the desktop x86 applications. It will run, just so slow you will throw the device in frustration. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    It means a lot to have x86 compatible.
    Not everyone wants or needs to run photoshop or autocad.
    But Knowing that your tablet/pc can run stuff like notepad++, chrome, java and flash is A LOT to everyday regular consumer.

    My girlfriend uses both ipad and my EeePC from 2 years. Both products has its usage. But with this, she can get rid of those.
    Reply

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