Performance

Obviously the highlight from NVIDIA’s perspective is the Tegra 4 SoC inside Tegra Tab, which in this case is clocked at a maximum single-core CPU frequency of 1.8 GHz. This is just short of the 1.9 GHz max single CPU clock in Shield. Of course Tegra Tab lacks the benefit of the active cooling system Shield has and has an accordingly lower TDP.

After reviewing and investigating Shield I discovered a bit more about the different tiers or bins of Tegra 4 SoCs available to OEMs, which are binned into a few SKUs and capped with different maximum currents. I did a bit of digging, and the SoC inside Tegra Tab is T40S (as opposed to the T40X inside Shield, although the real name is T114).

 

The specific breakdown is that the SoC is a SKU 5 part, and has the 6 A current cap in place, or 8 watts. In addition to the CPU clock frequency differences I touched on, the GPU inside also sees its clocks go down a bit from the 672 MHz in Shield, to 600 MHz inside Tegra Tab, for a roughly 12 percent theoretical performance difference in GPU compute power.

We covered most of the performance breakdown with Tegra 4 in the NVIDIA Shield review, and at this point Tegra 4 is pretty well understood. That said I still ran the tablet through our usual set of tablet benchmarks to see how the device fares given the theoretical performance offset from Shield.

CPU Performance

We start with our CPU related benchmarks which consist of a mix of JS benchmarks and a few others.

Browsermark 2.0

WebXPRT - Overall Score

Google Octane v1

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark (Stock Browser)

SunSpider 0.9.1 Benchmark

Vellamo 2.0.2 - HTML5

Vellamo 2.0.2 - Metal

3DMark Unlimited - Physics Score

I only included sunspider 0.9.1 since oddly enough the Tegra Note gives not a number (NAN) results for a few subtests when running sunspider 1.0 both in Chrome and the stock browser. I recollect seeing this intermittently on a few devices in the past, but couldn’t get a score to generate despite repeated runs and reboots. The rest of the web benchmarks actually have crept up since we looked at Shield, which is my comparison point. There’s no doubt that 4 Cortex A15s with a 1.8 GHz maximum makes for a very speedy device, and the Tegra Note performs very well in essentially all the CPU bound tests.

GPU Performance

On the graphics side we turn to the usual assortment of 3Dmark, Basemark X, and GFXBench (formerly GLBenchmark 2.7) for comparing performance. Just to reiterate from the Shield review, the GPU performance story in Tegra 4 really changed versus Tegra 3, with enough die area dedicated to GPU to make it competitive with the best in the space. We turn to a mix of onscreen (remember that Tegra Note’s display is 1280x800) and offscreen (1080p) tests. 3DMark Unlimited is a new mode in that benchmark which we don’t have many scores from, but it allows for better resolution-independent testing thanks to a better offscreen mode. We have a smattering of scores from the normal and Extreme modes, but not everything because 3DMark now shows "Maxed Out" for these results that are at vsync. 

3DMark Unlimited - Graphics Score

3DMark Unlimited - Graphics Test 1

3DMark Unlimited - Graphics Test 2

3DMark Unlimited - Ice Storm

3DMark - Graphics Test 1

3DMark - Graphics Test 2

3DMark - Graphics Test 1 (Extreme)

3DMark - Graphics Test 2 (Extreme)

Basemark X (Offscreen 1080p)

Basemark X (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Fill Test (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Fill Test (Offscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput (Offscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Fragment Lit (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Fragment Lit (Offscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Vertex Lit (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Vertex Lit (Offscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD Fixed Time (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD Fixed Time (Offscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Offscreen)

Mostly we see the roughly 10 percent GPU performance delta fleshed out in the compute bound tests. There are a few outliers however, like the 3DMark on-screen tests which can go over 60 FPS on Shield but can’t on Tegra Tab, even in “maximize performance” mode which purports to rescind the app FPS limitation. In the offscreen tests however we see essentially what we’d expect. Tegra 40S obviously does very well compared compared to the Adreno 320 inside APQ8064 in the Nexus 7 (2013) as well. Coupled with a 1280x800 display resolution, I don’t think Tegra Tab is want for more GPU performance at all, it might even be overkill at that resolution for the current suite of games.

NAND Performance

Last up is NAND and storage performance. We’ve been tracking storage performance on these devices for a little while now and have noticed forward progress over the generations.

Storage Performance - 256KB Sequential Reads

Storage Performance - 256KB Sequential Writes

Storage Performance - 4KB Random Reads

Storage Performance - 4KB Random Writes

The Tegra Tab starts out strong with relatively fast sequential reads, but then starts falling behind. It’s ahead of the old Nexus 7 in sequential writes, but its random performance suffers. It’s clear that storage performance is one of the areas that took a hit on the Tegra Note. The upside however is that there’s a microSD card in Tegra Note, although SD isn’t exactly going to give an uplift on random read or write speed versus internal storage.

Battery Life Display Quality
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  • adityarjun - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    Is the pen lag even less than the galaxy note 10.1 2014 and the Microsoft surface pro 2? (I know they are in completely different price ranges but i want to compare)

    And i am quite surprised that the stylus has less lag than note 3? That is a very costly device. And it doesn't fell laggy at all.
    Reply
  • zodiacsoulmate - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    i think on my surface pro the pen lag is not bad considering pressure level sensitivity and the huge canvas and brushes i use. Taking note in onenote is awesome, although onenote is having hard time syncing a large print out document(no idea why). hover is critical when painting. Wacom layer is accurate if calibrated correctly, but it's basically impossible on the edges and corners. i'm using 300 point self calib , it's still very very bad on edge and corners. but for note taking it's good enough. Reply
  • althaz - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    Surface Pro 2 is much better around the edges and corners, just FYI :). Reply
  • newandroidfan - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    This EVGA Nvidia Note 7 tablet is a killer!! Check out the full review right here!! http://goo.gl/mMaaiA Reply
  • ethanolson - Tuesday, March 04, 2014 - link

    This tablet is the same one as the HP Slate7 Extreme. Well... the back is different. Everything else is the same, even the speaker grill. Reply
  • Mr smurf - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    I read in another article that the tegra note actually has a fifth core in its processor clocked at about 800mhz which is designed specifically for the pen and it also looks for where the pen is on the screen about 300 times a second making it amazingly smooth Reply
  • Yojimbo - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    a fifth core is standard in the tegra 4 line, it's a low-power core intended to save battery life while doing basic tasks by allowing the other cores to be shut off. This Anandtech article says that NVidia is using that low power companion core to also process the stylus input, although from my recollection, the author listed the frequency of the core at something around 670MHz. Reply
  • adityarjun - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    All in all which would be the best options for note taking (keeping in mind that larger screen is a plus but more weight is a minus)- note 10.1 2014, surface pro 2, this, or an ipad with an external stylus like wacom bamboo? Reply
  • GrzegorzWidla - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    If you are serious about your notes, Surface Pro 2 hands down. Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    I thought that... Then I saw a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro in a best buy. Really nice alternative... Reply

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