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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  • LaughingTarget - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    14 million is remarkably small, actually, compared to just the total tablet PC market. The reason most of us don't see them very often is most of us aren't regularly in light use markets. I spend a lot of time in office environments and manufacturing floors, not children's soccer fields. There isn't a single iPad in these places because they don't do any good there. We do have tablet PCs though, because we can actually put programs on them that do what we need, something Apple is grossly deficient in.
  • DesktopMan - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Any plans for video playback tests? At minimum avi and mkv containers, divx/xvid and h264 codecs. For h264 720p and 1080p at main and high profile, seeing as how the Tegra 2 "no high profile"-debacle needs some closure.
  • PeteH - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I seriously doubt that video playback uses the GPU in either the Tegra 2 or the A5.
  • TakeToTask - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    Lots of valid points, but as usual, the main points are missed by techies who have a "god complex" about their knowledge of the computer industry and hardware.

    Android is, at best, good for techies. It's not refined for the general population, many of whom *still* don't have a grasp on technology as a whole. Don't believe me? Go do help desk for a month and come back. Sticking with my accusation of "god complex," the techie will push Android on their relatives so they can look like the savior when things go wrong. This is not to say that there aren't problems that arise on the iOS from time to time, but already, malware is making the rounds on Android. It's ok. "God person" will come to the rescue.

    For all the techies who ripped Apple for not originally coming with a 2-button mouse, I'll show you people who:
    * didn't know the right button did something different
    * didn't know they had to use the left button to select something from the context menu
    * didn't know if double-clicking meant "left double-clicking" or "right double-clicking"
    etc. This was in 2010.

    The iPad (2) offers a simple experience for the regular person and offers far more to the TRUE hackers who know how to unlock the device and make it do what they want anyway.

    Bash away, but from what I can tell, techies have no *valid* argument against my post...
  • LaughingTarget - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I'm not a techie, I'm a business person, and the iPad2 is still lightyears away from anything worth getting. The system is so hobbled that I can't do anything with it that Apple doesn't deign give me permission to do, first. I can't tie it into any of my business systems. It's useless for me. It's an expensive and underfunctional Netbook.

    If I was only in the market for checking e-mails, playing games, and engaging in limited web browing, the iPad2 would be just fine. But I actually want it to do more than that. How fast the processor is at rendering 3D games is meaningless to me. I have a home PC and a travel laptop that does far more in that department. What good is all that power if it doesn't do what I want it to do? The iPad2 is a Maserati in a school zone. It looks nice, but it's all wasted effort.

    Android isn't just a techie system, it's positioning itself to take on the business world, where the major profits are. Until Apple can do that, which includes not locking the system down and funneling everything through their store, they will remain an overall bit player that strangely get a lot of media attention relative to their size and market presence.
  • PeteH - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I would argue that the major profits in personal computing hardware are actually in the consumer space. Deutsche Bank published a study claiming that Apple commands 35% of the total PC market operating profits on just 7% of total revenues, and I'm pretty sure consumers make up the bulk of Apple's sales. I don't see why the tablet space would be any different.
  • retnuh - Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - link

    LOL, this makes me laugh. First since this is a business use, signup for the iOS Developer Enterprise Program, second code up and deploy WHATEVER YOU WANT TO INTERNALLY. Now if you only care about your own needs a single regular iOS Developer Program subscription will do fine and allow you to install any app you've written to tie into your business systems as needed. Oh and the apps don't have to go through the App Store (since its internal and you wouldn't be selling them anyways), been like this since app development started.

    Next solution, do your business systems not have a html interface? Any kind of easy to tie into API? I mean seriously, you could create a webapp for internal use and then use whatever tablet/netbook/etc... you wanted.
  • vision33r - Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - link

    That's why you have an IT dept for a non-tech like you. You shouldn't be poking around and connect to business systems without configuration from IT.

    Android just gives you open access but IT will still need to due diligence and lock it down to prevent tampering and idiot proof it.
  • wallet99 - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    ipad2 is awesome, double the speed, nice! but too expensive, right? well there is a way to get 400 dollars a week for 20 dollars a month, yes. check is out Join 180,000+ members. this is revolutionary!
  • dcnarad - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    I understand that there is a difference in performance due the resolution of the screen, so pulled up G-tablet specs (screen resolution slightly lower than ipad2) on GLbenchmark

    looks like the cheap tab matches and in some cases outperforms the ipad2. It it true or am I interpreting it all wrong.

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