GPU Performance

On the GPU side of things the iPad Air 2 seems to have a GX6650, which should provide a healthy boost to GPU performance when compared to the GX6450 in the A8. Apple has placed a strong emphasis on gaming for their iPad line, so there are some obvious comparisons to be made between NVIDIA's Tegra K1 and the A8X as well. To test this, we use a suite of benchmarks that can give a good idea of real world gaming 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)

In practice, while we see that the A8X's GPU is extremely close to Nvidia's single Kepler SMX across the board, with the sole exception of 3DMark which seems to be due to the dependencies present in the physics test that dramatically lower the overall score. NVIDIA's Tegra K1 seemed incredible for its GPU performance earlier this year, so it's just as surprising to see Apple successfully rival NVIDIA in this area. Of course, GPU performance is a function of both peak performance and sustained performance, so we'll have to look at the GFXBench battery rundown test to get the full picture here. If Apple can deliver far superior performance and battery life in such a situation, it's pretty clear that the jump to 20nm will be critical to pushing the limits on what's possible in a mobile device.

NAND Performance

As we've seen before on some tablets, poor storage performance can cause major issues with the overall experience as I/O pauses can far exceed just a few frame drops that one might expect from cases of UI lag induced by insufficient performance elsewhere. In order to attempt to quantify this performance we use a custom utility developed by Eric Patno. While such testing is far from a complete look at performance, this can give a rough idea of what to expect.

Internal NAND - Sequential Read

Internal NAND - Sequential Write

Internal NAND - Random Read

Internal NAND - Random Write

Overall, it seems that Apple does quite well on the storage tests. It seems that the iPad Air 2 shares its storage solution with the iPhone 6. While I don't have an iPad Air on hand for testing, it should match quite closely to the iPhone 5s. This represents a generally high-quality NAND solution, but as mentioned before random I/O could stand to improve a bit. Compared to most of the lower-cost Android tablets it's definitely as good as it gets though.

CPU Performance Battery Life and Charge Time
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  • tralalalalalala40 - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    If you want to tinker and fix something that keeps breaking (some people like to do that, that's why there is a used car market), then android is for you. This is changing every day and the two are converging as google makes android (the one you use) more and more closed source to leave aosp behind :) Reply
  • IUU - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    "If you want to tinker and fix something that keeps breaking.."
    So, are you that disappointed with your ipad?
    And what will you do with a device that never breaks but can't do anything with it;even this little thing, that is, proper communication between the user and the machine is out of the question with the ipad. I remember trying to be patient when testing an ipad for a whole week(god I have such a big patience) and trying to avoid the spontaneous urge to bang my head on the wall every five minutes or so.
    So, I didn't reply reasonably to you because you made a ridiculous comment, but it is true that I still try to forget the traumatic experience I had with the ipad. The only good thing about buying one is that raises the value of your Apple stocks.
    Reply
  • tralalalalalala40 - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    iOS 8 on the newest devices is amazing. With full Microsoft support and further enterprise support, the device is becoming more and more of a productivity device. If you have an iPad 3 or below, I feel your pain. Reply
  • Galidou - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    I don't know what kind of traumatic experience you can have with an iPad... unless you'Re a very big tech newbie. I'm with everyone here that I don't want to fix anything that's broken. I had to constantly work around bugs and problems on my Asus Transformer TF201. I bought an iPad 4 about 2 years ago, never plugged it in a computer and does everything I need from a tablet plus the screen, camera, OS responsiveness, stability and so on beats any android devices I've owned.

    My girlfriend has 2 ipod touch that still work wonders, she bought an android phone, and as good as it is and she likes it, there's a virus on it and as soon as it uses the home network, my upload goes crazy. Now I have to buy an antivirus or restore the thing. Never it has happened on her iPods touch.

    I've had one problem with an iPod touch it was under warranty, made a request to have it repaired, received a bos in which the iPod did fit like a glove didn'T cost me a penny back and forth one week later I had a brand new iPod touch. Not much to say, best experience I've had to deal with any piece of technology I've owned.
    Reply
  • akdj - Thursday, November 27, 2014 - link

    My two year old son uses an iPad. I'm sorry u weren't able to figure it out Reply
  • NEDM64 - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - link

    Boys trying to look like men.

    If you want to get deep, you won't be arguing about iOS or android, both are toys for kids, you would be instead arguing for tektronix vs Agilent for your next oscilloscope.
    Reply
  • extide - Monday, November 10, 2014 - link

    Screw Tektronics, they haven't been innovating in the last 10 years or so. All of their scopes are SO SLOW!! It's either Agilent or LeCroy :) Also Rigol is a great choice for lower budgets. Reply
  • blackcrayon - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    "almost all technical people prefer Android."
    citation needed.
    There are tons of technical people who prefer iOS, hell, look how many iOS app developers there are. The other side of the coin is, the vast majority of customers of any computing device are not technical anyway.
    Reply
  • Jumangi - Saturday, November 8, 2014 - link

    How many iOS developers there are has nothing to do with them "liking it more". They go there because of the money. Reply
  • akdj - Monday, November 10, 2014 - link

    Makes sense
    People buy, come back and buy again ...and continue to use one of their hundreds of thousands of tablet optimized iOS apps
    Ever look at the dismal 'app selection' in the Play Store for your tablet?
    Maybe I should say 'lack of selection'
    Sad, but yeah...I'd consider pilots, surgeons, Boeing and 95% of the Fortune 500 'customers of any computing device aren't technical anyway.'
    Ridiculous
    Ignorant
    Try one. I enjoy both. But Android for very specific needs. iOS covers literally EVERY base
    Reply

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