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


View All Comments

  • thunng8 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Not sure about the discrepancies, however, 2.1 is the latest version and it should be the one tested.

    Also, iOS 5 brought significantly faster openGL drivers, maybe PCWorld were comparing result from a while ago on the ipad2 and iOS4. All onscreen tests are also vsync limited, so the maximum they will ever score is 60fps.

    offscreen is somewhat important, as some ipad2 games can render higher output via the HDMI accessory to an external device.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    GLBenchmark 2.1 allows for testing at the same resolution (720p) to enable true apples to apples comparisons of GPUs. There are some slight changes in the workloads as well, so 2.1 numbers aren't directly comparable to 2.0.x numbers.

    That being said, the iPad 2 should never be slower than the Prime even in an older version of GLBench. I'm not entirely sure what's going on there...

    Take care,
  • metafor - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    A new version of PowerVR drivers was released some while back (I believe it came with iOS 5) and improved performance dramatically. That may be the issue. Reply
  • GnillGnoll - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    46 fps is an old result on iPad 2. With iOS 5 the Egypt Standard test is almost permanently vsync limited at 60 fps (2.0.3 is gone from the online database, but the workload in the Egypt test hasn't changed between that and 2.1) Reply
  • araczynski - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    if this is supposed to be the next generation of the android tablets, getting slapped around by the ipad2, WHEN THE IPAD3 is 'just around the corner' makes it almost a joke of an upgrade.

    i don't have any love for apple (pc guy), but i'll be saving my mountain of pennies for an ipad3, rather than bother with an android tablet, have enough random issues with my free DroidX that i couldn't actually image wanting to pay for the 'experience' in a tablet.
  • vvk - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    If by "around the corner" you meant April or May of the next year than perhaps, based on your needs, you should wait but then if you wait another couple of month you could get the next gen super-duper tablet and so on and so forth. Anyway your life your choice I ain't canceling my preorder based on the Anand's review. Reply
  • gorash - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    No this is not the next generation of Android, next generation is ICS or Jelly Bean. And iPad 3 is coming next summer. Reply
  • steven75 - Saturday, December 03, 2011 - link

    Neither iPad was released in the summer. Reply
  • Ketzal - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    I'd like to congratulate on a truly superb review. Given the horribly short time you had to write it and do the testing. You did an amazing job.

    Your reviews are a true breath of fresh air.

    The quality of your reviews make the Engadget and like websites look like total amateurs.

    Basically it works like this...if you are pondering a new gadget. Wait for your review. If you say it's the one...it's the one. Buy said gadget.

    Live happily ever after.

    Congrats, I'll be singing your praises to everyone I know.

  • Wizzdo - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    You should consider getting a low-voltage brain in your next life since Anand does your thinking for you. This way your battery might last as long as the iPad2's.

    Anand may be good but regardless of his reviews "Happily ever after" is about 6 months in this industry.

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