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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  • jabber - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    For years I have been pleading for someone to take note of PowerVR.

    Shame its been relegated to the iPad but I hope this enables a few folks to wake up and realise that there is a good alternative to brute force rendering.

    I have been a fan of the PowerVR tech since the Matrox M3D days from the mid-90s.

    Please can we reintroduce this tech into the next generation of PC graphics cards so we can start to reduce power consumption and up efficiency.

    The current road we are on for PC graphics isnt the right one. With PowerVR we could maybe get a 6990 capable card with the power consumption of a 5770.

    Worth a try surely?
  • jmcb - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    Some Android phones used the PowerVR last year, at least one upcoming Android phone will use it this year too.

    Some of us Android users are fans of it from last year. I dont know if they will be using this version tho.
  • Aziz - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    It is a Super Cool Device that I don't need, honestly.
    Thats not to say I am not tempted, I wouldn't mind if someone if gifted it to me. Too bad none of my family members are reading this.

    As far as the Xoom, I will buy one when The xoom is 399 or less.
    -Tempting options for the Xoom is native HDMI out although my netbook with HDMI out on integreted intel graphics would hang up alot with trying to stream hd content to my TV so our family could watch hulu content.
    -love the honeycomb idea although my android 2.2 device is a bit unpolished

    Overall, there is some healthy competition. WHo will be the winners. Would love to invest my money so I can easily afford the devices. Broadcom, apple, or nvda? I have a feeling nvda will lose some of the coolness that it wrapped itself with in the last 2-3 months with tegra2.
  • edsib1 - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    Its pointless having all that graphics power anyway.

    To play games u need BUTTONS - and preferably also a joystick.

    I have a psp anyday. I have yet to see a single decent game on a phone (any phone, ever).
    I bought Asphalt 5 on Android just to check out a latest game, and its rubbish. in comparison to dedicated portables.

    Remember Apple's Ipad has to be competitve for the next 12 months. The next revision of Droids will push the bar higher. Should be thankful for the battle between Droiddom and Apple for pushing tech ever higher.
  • Juzcallmeneo - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    I agree..I've tried lots of games and touchscreen buttons are a pain to use for this department. FPS is probably the worst. I do kind of like the idea of that PSP phone coming out tho.. should be interesting.
  • mrdeez - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    My opinion as well.

    Ipad=tablet games, basic os

    Honeycomb=basic gaming, options galore,power user who likes to tweak it.

    I have no plans on gaming with this device only work,web,email, and reading.
  • vision33r - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Then, the ipad 1 for $349 is the best tablet for you. The cheapest and best hardware at this price level.

    There are no android tablet at $349 that comes close to the iPad 1 in hardware and build quality.

    Every android tab south of $300 has a terrible screen or need reboots every day.
  • StormyParis - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    looking at the game pictures, the graphics don't actually change the game. a tad more eye candy, that's all. who cares ?
  • pubjoe - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    "Who cares?"

    Ironically, mostly just the benchmark obsessed, anti-Steve Jobs Résistance.
  • PeteH - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Are you honestly saying that a drastic improvement in performance is meaningless because developers haven't yet had the chance to write apps that take advantage of it?

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