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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  • adntaylor - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    On your side note, NEON is just an optional extra logic block - you don't need to use it and can save money by missing it out and still just use the off-the-shelf ARM synthesized A9 core design.

    In fact, it's Apple who are the ones who are likely to have re-jigged the Cortex-A9 core here for extra performance; they bought the team from Intrinsity who did their own optimized version of the Cortex-A8 for the Apple A4 and the Samsung Hummingbird.
  • coldpower27 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    The performance increase is incredible, I can't wait to get this device in my hands to play with in the near future.. well worth the wait over then 1st Gen iPad...
  • mitodna - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    It would be great if can have an adjusted Xoom value running on 1024 * 768?.However iPad 2 is simply amazing at amazing price.
  • rish95 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Just increase the Xoom's score by 25% each time. iPad 2 still has huge margin.
  • ncb1010 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Well, the xoom actually has more like 30% more pixels to deal with.
  • winterspan - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Regardless if its 25% or 30%, the end result is still the same. the combination of SGX543MP2 (and to a lesser extent the OpenGL implementation of iOS) just slaughters Tegra 2 on Android...

    It'll be interesting to see an SGX543MP2 in a Honeycomb+ device and compare it to the Xoom.

    At first, I really though Nvidia would step in and slaughter IMGTEC (and they still might in the future), but its obvious IMGTEC is not going to go down easy and they have the brains to make it a real fight...
  • nafhan - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    This also makes it pretty clear why Nvidia is already talking up their "Kalel" devices!
  • Ringer9 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    What's the point of taking real-world performance and converting it back to unrealistic benchmarks? The Xoom doesn't run at 1024x768, and the performance hit is Moto's sacrifice for more pixels.
  • rish95 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    If the SGX543MP2 can do so makes me wonder what the NGP's SGX543MP4 can do.
  • tipoo - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Yeah, that will be a screamer. It probably won't scale perfectly, but thats roughly double the performance of the iPad 2's GPU, which in turn already trounces other mobile GPU's.

    I wonder how the MP4 would compare to desktop chips, I wonder if they are getting into the territory of low end cards from a few years ago?

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