GPU Performance

While we don't quite have real games to benchmark against, we do have benchmarks that are reasonably good approximations of games, which heavily stress the GPU. For the most part, this means that we can see the performance of the A8's PowerVR GX6450 GPU but there are some aspects that are CPU-bound, which we'll discuss after the results.

Edit: Before I get into the results, I must caution that Basemark X will have inaccurate on-screen results as the benchmark was made using XCode 5.x in order to keep scores comparable between versions 1.1 and 1.1.1. This doesn't affect the overall score, which is solely calculated based upon off-screen performance.

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Overall

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Graphics

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Physics

BaseMark X 1.1 - Overall (High Quality)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

For the most part, we see that the GX6450 is at about the same level as Qualcomm's Adreno 420, which seems to track closely to expectations given that the A7's GPU was around the same performance as the Adreno 330. The 3DMark test does have an interesting result, but it seems that this is because 3DMark's physics test has a strong amount of data dependency that restricts the level of out of order execution that can be done. NVIDIA's Tegra K1 is the current leader in graphics performance, but of course it's also in a tablet instead of a smartphone so it's not a direct competitor.

NAND Performance

As we move towards the goal of seamless performance in everyday tasks, one significant factor is IO performance. While there's definitely a minimum level of performance that allows for generally acceptable smoothness, there's value in having higher storage performance (e.g. prevent bottlenecking in situations such as updating apps in the background). In order to test this, we use Androbench with some custom settings on Android and a custom utility developed by Eric Patno for iOS, who has been quite helpful with furthering our efforts to test storage performance.

Internal NAND - Sequential Read

Internal NAND - Sequential Write

Internal NAND - Random Read

Internal NAND - Random Write

As this is the first time that we've looked into NAND performance on iOS devices, it's definitely worth scrutinizing the data a bit more closely than in most cases. There are a few notable cases here, which are the class-leading speeds for sequential reads and writes on the iPhone 6, but also the rather middling random read and write speeds for the iPhone 6 and 5s. The oddest result is definitely the iPhone 5, which is Ryan's personal unit and while the random read speeds are on the low side, random write speeds are easily record-setting.

In practice, with tablets and smartphones being less multitasking heavy than PCs/laptops, the sequential scores are probably slightly more relevant to the overall user experience. The iPhone 6 results show a significant increase in performance over the iPhone 5s in all of the tests, which is always good to see.

CPU Performance Battery Life and Charge Time
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  • thrasher32 - Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - link

    That must be some really good crack there chief Reply
  • GerryS - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    Absolutely. If it can't be built into the price of the product, there's no incentive to innovate, at all. Reply
  • perpetualdark - Friday, October 3, 2014 - link

    Not true, you innovate to stay in the game, not to increase your price point. Part of the "innovation" of the android flagships has been their ability to increase technology, form, and function while reducing or maintaining costs. Both the M8 and the S5 were selling for $99 on contract within a month of launch (by Verizon). Apple might have sold a lot of phones in this launch, but that was mostly due to the fact that there hasn't been an "innovation" in several years, and very little reason to buy an Apple product for at least 2 generations. Just keep watching to see how sales hold up after the initial storm is passed. In a few months when you can buy an S5 or M8 for $99 on contract, or an iPhone for $299, which do you think will sell better? And in 6 months, both companies will have the next gen of flagship out, with superior specs across the board and will launch at the same price as Apple, because the iphone 6 will STILL be $299. Reply
  • bigstrudel - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Samsung uses Off-the-shelf SoC's for every flagship device outside of Korea. Nothing impressive about that. Reply
  • techconc - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    @danbob999 - Samsung's SoC designs are basically equivalent to Apple's early A4 and A5 work. They essentially just use off the shelf reference designs and put them together to meet their own specifications. Yes, there is some work involved with doing that, but to date, this hasn't been a competitive advantage for Samsung like it has for Apple. In fact, Samsung ends up using Qualcomm chips for a very large percentage for their devices. Likewise, putting them in the same league as what Apple, Qualcomm or even nVidia is doing isn't quite right. They're not in the same league design wise.
    Samsung attempts to add layers of customization (Touchwiz, etc.) on top of Android, but it just feels like a clumsy layer on top and ends up dropping performance and resources for the device overall. Such customizations are no substitute for writing your own OS and controlling the entire technology stack. That's why a Samsung phone will always feel clumsy as compared to an iPhone. Samsung would have to to the Tizen route to attempt to compete on that level.
    Reply
  • Chaser - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    Now this is amusing. The OS hasn't changed since it launch except for, wait for it: pull down notifications! Amazing. But seriously its the same floating blobs that sit in rows on a screen. Designed for teenagers and grandparents in mind. Reply
  • techconc - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    @Chaser - Thanks for sharing your ...wait for it... ignorance on OS design and what's actually changed over the years. It should suffice to say that you clearly don't know what you're talking about. Reply
  • shm224 - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    @techconc : Sure, would you mind giving us some examples of such "changes" in iOS? Reply
  • techconc - Monday, October 6, 2014 - link

    @shm224 - LOL! Not interested in doing a commercial for Apple and the listing surely wouldn't fit in a forum post. Google is your friend... If you're really interested, you can start with something like the Wikipedia entry for iOS and of course consult the release notes for each iOS release on Apple's developer site. Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    What? It gained an app store, popup notifications, printing, multitasking, search, pull down notifications, pull up settings, folders, multiple homescreens, enhanced notifications (reply, dismiss, widgets), and file sharing. Reply

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