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

  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Thank you, I appreciate the kind words :)

    Take care,
  • cotak - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Everyone seems so impressed but for me the big elephant is why is the GPU slower than the ipad2's from a GPU company? And to boot the CPU performance isn't significantly faster either? What's going on? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    CPU is pretty fast when you look at multi-core enabled Linpack. Other programs probably don't handle the 4 cores very efficiently.
    As for the GPU, Apple has been very aggressive in marketing iOS (specifically the iPads) as mobile consoles, so they really delivered in the GPU department. The downside of that is that the die size of the A5 is 122mm² according to Anand (4s review), whereas Tegra3 even with 5 CPU cores only has 80mm² (Tegra3 launched article). :-)
  • thunng8 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Not sure if they are equivalent tests, but in the ipad2 review, ipad2 scored 170.9 MFLOP which is higher than the Transformer Prime's score of 135.9.

    I don't think the average consumer cares about how big the die size is, they will however notice the extra GPU performance.

    Also, even with the bigger dies size, it doesn't seem to affected battery life either.
  • Blaster1618 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Power VR SGX 543MP2 (iPAD 2) 60 nm
    8 Pixel processor * maximum 4 separate address per vector per cycle= 32 addresses per cycle.
    Tegra 3 40 nm
    12 Pixel processors x 1 separate address per vector=12 addresses per cycle.

    Isn't there a secret slot where you can slip in a NV104 processor and give this story a happy ending. Last time I bought an apple was a Apple IIc. (google it), but in this case power's simultaneous multi-threading beats the brawn of 12 processors. (darn). maybe wayne will get smart and 28nm.
  • vision33r - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    There's nothing to be impressed with. It's another poor attempt by Nvidia to rush a product out the door and getting their ass handed by the iPad2's higher optimized design.

    How embarrassing to let a 1GHZ dualcore SOC spank a 1.4GHZ quadcore Tegra 3.

    I don't know people are excited especially that from what we know of the upcoming Apple's A6 designs and iPad 3 will make this thing forgotten very soon.
  • GmanMD - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Any idea as to whether you would be able to hook up a 4g wireless usb modem to the dock on this? It would be awesome to have that flexibility. Reply
  • medi01 - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    I hope one day Anand would stop judging screens only on min/max brightness and would do a proper test, that would also compare gamut. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    That day will come very soon... ;)

    Take care,
  • Toadster - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    how do the these stack up against each other? Reply

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