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


View All Comments

  • IUU - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    Like what? Reply
  • lucastbosa - Saturday, November 8, 2014 - link

    Like Paper, by 53. Or iMovie, Garage Band, and many others. Reply
  • carloshehe - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - link

    Yes. Actually just the apps that come with iPad for free from Apple there's nothing like it on Android.

    Then you actually open the App Store and it is game over for Android.

    Like I said. Some games. Email, video, web browsing and light work you can do on an Android tablet, but for anything heavier forget it. The iPad is still the very best.
  • carloshehe - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - link

    Like iDraw (vector design program like illustrator)


    There are so many I could go on forever.

    Android tablet apps are exactly 0. It sucks for tablets.
  • NEDM64 - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - link

    My favorite latex editor: TexPad.

    Mendley, etc...
  • tralalalalalala40 - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Check out pythonista, grafio, and get console :) Reply
  • tralalalalalala40 - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    Android isn't perfect either. It's more closed source every day.

    In the tablet space, you have to be a hardcore fanboy to get the nexus 9. There is an order of magnitude more apps custom built for the iPad.

    But if you just want a portable TV, get android tablets, they are much cheaper.
  • Guspaz - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    Considering the Nexus 9's reviews (pretty much every review I've seen is negative), you'd probably be better off with a tablet from Samsung or something. Reply
  • steven75 - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    The Nexus 9 could be a third of the price of the iPad and I'd still pick it because:
    -My data isn't being mined by the world's largest advertising company
    -iPad app ecosystem is *still* >>>>>>> Android tablet ecosystem
    -Resale value through the roof
    -After sale support in person. Imagine that!
  • steven75 - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    Pick the ipad, obviously. Reply

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