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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  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - link

    And because iOS is where the technical userbase is.

    Professional applications flourish on iOS. Android apps are categorically limited and low end. The ones that aren't are ports from iOS that took months or years to come over.

    Also, people talking about Android usage being "technical" is hilarious. There is nothing technical about tinkering with your tablet. Next you'll be saying that messing around with your game console is "technical".
    Reply
  • techconc - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    That's a rather ignorant assumption. Many highly technical people prefer iOS. There are many legitimate reasons for this choice including the hardware, the software, the overall ecosystem, etc. Claiming technical people prefer Android is just as ignorant as claiming you prefer Android because you're poor. Though stereotypes do exist, these generalized claims never hold up. Reply
  • sonicmerlin - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    To be fair iOS's lack of a file system makes something as simple as e-mail attachments a headache. Reply
  • ws3 - Saturday, November 8, 2014 - link

    Of course iOS has a file system, it's just not available to the user. Reply
  • carloshehe - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - link

    I don't know what you mean by file system and attachments.

    Are you having issues finding documents in your iPad?

    I have Documents 5 installed. It is a complete file browser for iPad. Works like Explorer on windows. And you can add Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.
    Reply
  • NEDM64 - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - link

    Ftp, sftp, and with now with iOS 8 additions, is unstoppable... Reply
  • akdj - Monday, November 10, 2014 - link

    What can't you attach to an email?
    Usually directly from the app you can email, post, tweet, message or FB
    Hold your finger down while composing an email and you can insert what you need (native iOS mail app, but I like Mailbox for other reasons, and that's the cool thing, if the ios native app doesn't do want you want there's doxens, hundred or thousands of choices from developers ...not the case in the Play Store). It's been an option for a while and continues to get better
    If you need different results look around The App Store for a third party option. They're abundant
    Reply
  • tralalalalalala40 - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Any file can be emailed. Dropbox/onedrive/box etc. you just email a link to a file. It's all very easy, takes 5 min to learn. Reply
  • robinthakur - Monday, November 10, 2014 - link

    I'm technical, I develop in SharePoint and Drupal and support Applications and I use a Macbook Pro and an iPhone 6 Plus, as do most people in my team, so no, you are way wrong there. I also own an HTC One M8 which is fun to play around with and customise, but for a day to day phone I rely on for business, it has to be the iPhone and by extension the iPad. Reply
  • melgross - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    Too bad you can't get any really good serious apps for Android. Reply

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