GLBenchmark 2.0

GLBenchmark 2.0—as its name implies—tests OpenGL ES 2.0 performance on compatible devices. The suite includes two long benchmarking scenarios with a demanding combination of OpenGL ES 2.0 effects - texture based and direct lighting, bump, environment, and radiance mapping, soft shadows, vertex shader based skinning, level of detail support, multi-pass deferred rendering, noise textures, and ETC1 texture compression.

GLBenchmark 2.0 is the best example of an even remotely current 3D game running on this class of hardware—and even then this is a stretch. If you want an idea of how the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 stacks up to the competition however, GLBenchmark 2.0 is probably going to be our best bet (at least until we get Epic to finally release an Unreal Engine benchmark).

GLBenchmark 2.0 Egypt

Without AA, the Egypt test runs at 5.4x the frame rate of the original iPad. It's even 3.7x the speed of the Tegra 2 in the Xoom running at 1280 x 800 (granted that's an iOS vs. Android comparison as well).

GLBenchmark 2.0 Egypt - FSAA

With AA enabled the iPad 2 advantage grows to 7x. In a game with the complexity of the Egypt test the original iPad wouldn't be remotely playable while the iPad 2 could run it smoothly.

The Pro test is a little more reasonable, showing a 3 - 4x increase in performance compared to the original iPad:

GLBenchmark 2.0 PRO

GLBenchmark 2.0 PRO - FSAA

While we weren't able to reach the 9x figure claimed by Apple (I'm not sure that you'll ever see 9x running real game code), a range of 3 - 7x in GLBenchmark 2.0 is more reasonable. In practice I'd expect something less than 5x but that's nothing to complain about. We'll be doing power analysis over the weekend so expect more detail in our full review.

Putting the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 to Use: Infinity Blade

As we pointed out in our iPad 2 Preview, at least one developer already picked up on the amount of extra GPU horsepower in the new iPad 2. Epic put out an updated version of Infinity Blade with support for the iPad 2. Run it on an iPad and you'll get the same old Infinity Blade, but run it on an iPad 2 and you'll get more detail, higher resolution textures and anti-aliasing.

Remember that iPad and iPhone devices are more closed than your PC. There's no adjusting detail settings or resolution, so the target frame rate is usually what's fixed. Developers are simply able to deliver a better looking experience at roughly the same frame rate with upgraded hardware. In the case of Infinity Blade, load times are reduced thanks to the Cortex A9 CPU cores and there is some improvement in frame rate but the biggest impact comes from the improved visuals.

Below is the comparison beween Infinity Blade on the iPad and iPad 2 we ran in this morning's preview:

Mouse over to see Infinity Blade on the iPad 2

There's far more detail in the character models as well as the environment. Lighting looks improved and the AA is definitely appreciated.

Mouse over to see Infinity Blade on the iPad 2

The gallery below has a bunch of side by side shots showing the improvements made to Infinity Blade for the iPad 2 vs. what you get when you run the game on a first generation iPad.

To Be Concluded...

We're still hard at work on our full iPad 2 review. We've got no less than four units running through battery life tests right now and there's still more to talk about in the review. We'll keep you posted, thanks for reading!

Benchmarking the PowerVR SGX543MP2
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  • Gherkin - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Actually it is quite light and elegant. I have had the first iPad for almost a year and it has proven itself to be very useful. I have a feeling that if the iPad 2 were exactly the same as it is but had any other brand on it than Apple, you would be all over it.

    Apple-hater: Xoom is the greatest, iPad is junk.

    Reviewers: iPad is clearly super AND costs less.

    Apple-hater: how much is CrApple paying you! Xoom out-specs the iPad!

    Reviewer: Benchmarks show the iPad is 4x faster than the Xoom. And costs less.

    Apple-hater: yea but the iOS is garbage!

    Reviewer: Honeycomb is buggy and feels rushed out before it was ready.

    Apple-hater: Who would want a tablet anyway?!

    Meanwhile Apple can't make the iPad fast enough to keep up with demand.
  • Juzcallmeneo - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    many people have been constantly arguing that a tablet such as this in general is useless since the original ipad. what exactly makes them "apple-haters"? many with these opinions own macbooks and iphones.
  • rquick - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    Some opinions are meaningful and some are not. When someone says that they do not have a use for a tablet, that is a valid opinion. When someone says that no one has a use for a tablet, that is an invalid opinion that wastes everyone's time. Slickr's comment was useless and meaningless and could possibly indicate he/she is simply out of touch with reality. Another possibility being expressed by Gherkin is that slickr is disappointed that Android and Xoom a not comparing well to current Apple products and is responding by saying tablets have no value anyway so Apple's current success with the iPad2 is meaningless.
  • Juzcallmeneo - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    I just don't see how he's a Xoom fanboy.. he's badmouthing tablets in general. Sure, he is a little aggressive about it..and commenting on an ipad post..but he doesn't mention any brands at all.
  • vision33r - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    I know a number of people at my job who use the iPad to read books and they don't care about cameras or dual core. It doesn't improve human reading speed.
  • Gherkin - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Yes, but it does so much more. Have you had your hands on an iPad 2. I have and it is truly impressive. It is so light and thin and everything is smooth, snappy, and slick. It really is an amazing technological achievement.
  • gus6464 - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    The pictures of increased graphics performance for iPad 2 optimized games do not do it justice. Dead Space looks and plays fantastic. Got mine yesterday and I have not missed my laptop one bit. I tried out the xoom and the only thing I was impressed with was Chrome on Honeycomb.
  • ra540i - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    So, funny story. My wife took me to Nebraska Furniture Mart in KC for the first time and I must say that it is an amazing store!!! While there I naturally went straight for the electronics dept. and They actually have an Apple store built in!!! So, anyway, my wife was like, "Is the new Ipad here?!?", and I was like yup, but it's sold out. She said that she just wanted to see it. Keep in mind that my wife is rockin a POS sprint flip phone and is technologically r-tarded. So she messed with the ipad 2 for like 3 minutes and was like. "I don't see what all the hype is about." I just laughed at her and we wandered in the opposite direction. Low and behold we ran right into the XOOM. And I was like, oh sh*&!! This is supposed to be the ipad killer, so I let her mess with it first before I got my mitts on it. After about 2 min she was like "WTF?, This sucks!! Who would buy this if the other one is cheaper (ipad)." I said that only true geeks would understand. Then I played with the XOOM for about 5 minutes and I have to say, WTF!!! How is honeycomb even acceptable by anyone's standards at this point? Laggy as hell, and most of all, my wife, a true virgin to this market segment, would choose the ipad over the xoom. In my eyes, with first hand experience, I would choose the Ipad 2 without a heartbeat. Anyone that owns a xoom and brags about it is only trying to justify the cost of the device. Congratulations to everyone who waited to buy the ipad 2 as their first tablet. My wife ENVYS YOU!!!!!!!!!!
  • shiro910 - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    I'm in the market for a tablet or a ebook reader. I like the instant-on feature and the fact that I can use it around the house and in bed So I was looking at the ipad, ipad2 and xoom. If i didn't read any reviews or researched on the web. Simply based my purchase on how useful the product is from actual usage. Hands down the Apple's Ipad 2 will be the winner. Even the Ipad 1st generation felt much more polish than the Xoom. What idiot would purchase something like the xoom? Even the geeky side of me can not justify buying it at this point. People are in lalaland when they simply look at paper specifications. Give me real world specs please. Forget about the open/close OS and Itune sucks donkey nuts. Honestly, the Xoom felt like a half ass rushed out product so the consumer can be the beta tester...sorry no thanks.

    One Ipad 2 please.....until something better comes along.
  • snoozemode - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    And Motorola wants $800 for the Xoom? wow.

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