iPad 3 Tested Against Tegra 3, Is It 4 Times Quicker?
The iPad 3 announced by Tim Cook back on March 7th is said to have a GPU 4 times faster than Nvidia’s Tegra 3. The iPad 3 has a dual core processor while Tegra 3 has a quad core processor. GeForce GPU is offered by Nvidia. It is thought that Apple’s multi-core graphics should kill the competition. But three times better than Tegra 3? This is an important question which needs to be answered as both are included in the hottest trending tablets in the market.
Pocket-Lint conducted a few tests to see if iPad 3’s GPU was faster in real operation rather than benchmarking. They used 5 tests for the GPU which include rendering a web page, streaming a 1080p video, playing a game, running an augmented reality app and video playback. Both the processors are tested.
The first way to test the GPUs capability with normal tablet situations is to see how they stream videos in SD and HD. The source used a combination of iPlayer, Sky Go, Netflix and HD videos on YouTube.
iPad 3 took 6 seconds to open up Netflix and 6.8 seconds to start playing back video. The Transformer Prime did almost the same. After setting it to performance mode, the Netflix application opened up in 5.9 seconds and the video started playing back in 7.6 seconds. Scrolling didn’t cause any issues.
Sky Go didn’t have any issues on either tablet, with near instant playback that was impossible to time on each of the tablet. iPlayer did the same but both Sky Go and iPlayer are clunky on Android than iOS.
Coming to HD content on YouTube, this was an exciting test. Both the tablets managed to load a video in under a second and scrolled instantaneously. No video content struggled in any way.
Loading a web page
Loading a graphically intensive web page, like vimeo.com, is a great way to push a GPU. Flash sites create problems for the iPad 3 so the test was conducted on a non-flash site. Vimeo is a HTML 5 powered website with high-quality videos. With Safari on iOS and Chrome for Android, no problems were found while buffering up the beautiful Yosemite HD video on either tablet.
To take it up a notch, nakshart.com was loaded. It is also powered by HTML5 and contains a 3D location-based star map. It lagged both the tablets. But the iPad 3 was 0.4 seconds faster as it managed 7.6 seconds while the Prime took 8 seconds. Once loaded, the iPad 3 showed more stability then Prime.
This was tested with a 720p video as the iPad 3 has a display of 2048 x 1536 resolution while the Transformer prime uses 1280 x 800. Once loaded on both tablets, they were pitted against each other in a similar speed test. iPad 3 took 2.9 seconds and scrolling was instantaneous. For the Prime, it was 0.8 seconds. For the 1080p, both tablets were connected to a television set, and the source pushed out locally stored content from tablet to TV. Issues would be caused by how Android handles external displays, which isn’t that straightforward. The actual video had no issues though.
This was a good test for the two GPUs. Shadowgun was used to get a decent idea on how both preform when it comes to gaming. The quad-core GPU in the iPad 3 will be under stress but should outdo the GeForce GPU in the Tegra 3. The game appears to be the same on both tablets but on iOS, it loads quicker and has a very smooth frame rate. iPad 3 may not necessarily be 4x faster when it comes to gaming but it will suit those who like pick up and play apps a lot better.
SoCs and GPUs are asked by augmented reality apps to do all sorts of complex tasks. You need to apply graphics over top of whatever the sensor sees, as well as look location-based data. It is a complicated process and takes advantage of all the technicalities a tablet provides.
The most established augmented reality app in the App Store and Google Play is Layar. From boot, the London Tube Layar took 6 seconds to launch on the Prime while only 3 seconds on the iPad 3. Yelp, which brings up all kinds of local businesses and icons on the screen, was smooth on both the tablets.
The end result
After all the testing that took please, there comes a realization that the claim by the fruit company on the launch day doesn’t hold true in the real world. Although tiny differences were noted in speed between the two tablets, there was nothing that extraordinary that indicates a 4x increase. It might have been a four times faster iPad 3 GPU if benchmarking apps were tested, but having the iPad 3 in your hands and running just benchmarking figures through it would be unjust to the tablet.
The difference between the speeds of the two tablets is negligible. It is the operating system and the apps that are really going to make things smooth for the users. Both the Tegra 3 and iPad 3 are extremely quick and perform the best when it comes to tablets. iPad 3 having a Retina Display, cool accessories and the upcoming jailbreak takes an edge.