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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  • Exodite - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    The real questions is how popular tablets are though.

    I've yet to see any evidence that actual people, as opposed to organisations, purchase tablets in any significant numbers.

    Not that I'm denying that the iPad 2 is the best tablet out there, I'm just not seeing how market share in an insignificant market plays any real part.
  • Concillian - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    "I've yet to see any evidence that actual people, as opposed to organisations, purchase tablets in any significant numbers."

    Hey, we own a tablet... because my wife's work gave one to every employee as a Christmas gift.

    Otherwise, we definitely would not.

    Most often used for:
    Angry Birds

    Not exactly pushing the envelope on technology... lol. Definitely wouldn't go buy one ourselves. It's a huge pain to use this thing on the web. easierr to use my wife's blackberry than to type on a touchscreen.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Compare it with other consumer electronics. In the first year the iPad sold more than the Nintendo Wii, and it took three years for the XBox 350 to hit 15 million sales.

    It is a blockbuster product by any measure, and I think it is pretty safe to call it "popular" :)
  • EarthCore - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    The iPad sold more than the Wii in its first year? Hmm, I highly doubt that. I remember the Wii being sold out everywhere online and retail for at least its entire year if not longer.

    The Wii sold something like ~85mil units in a little over 4yrs.

    Now, you just sound like a fan boy.
  • rquick - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    Yeah - go look it up on Wiki - iPad sold more units in its first 9 months than Wii. While they were both clearly wildly popular and to some extent supply limited, the Wii apparently sold about 10 million units in the first nine months while the ipad sold about 14 million. Not that it matters, the point is that the device is too popular for the only purchasers to be corporate. I would even bet that the corporate buyers were actually pretty late to the party as they usually are. Everybody I know (except me) bought their own ipad. Mine was a gift. I didn't want it but I couldn't talk her out of it - probably because she knew me better than I do.
  • vision33r - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Maybe you live in a small town or campus. The iPad is everywhere in NYC. 14 million sold last year is no small number. Analysts are predicting 25 million iPads this year. With the strong initial sales, there's no doubt Apple will achieve that number in less than a year.

    Netbook is dead, I don't own any Netbook anymore. They are just subpar notebooks and not a replacement for a full notebook. iPad beats a netbook when it comes to web browsing and gaming.
  • eriku16 - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    I live in LA and only saw just 2 or 3 ipads. I don't hang out where they would typically be seen, ie Starbucks...

    The netbook is not dead. They serve a purpose as intended. They are full, fledge PCs with standard ports ,REAL OSs using REAL applications. Not some toy cellphone OS.

    My Atom/ION based, Ubuntu nettop HTPC can play 45Mbs M2TS streams the ipad/2 would choke on.
  • Aloonatic - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    Your response seems like he classic Apple hater/denier that we see on here all the time, who might know a great deal about technical aspects of computing and what can be done on a device like a linux netbook, but have almost zero comprehension of what the general pubic actually want.

    When will people here (and on DT) get it that a lot of people don't care about having "full fledged PCs..." and "...real OSs using real applications", whatever a "real" OS or application is?

    They want something that is fun and easy to use, that gets the job done, that's it. The technicalities of how it gets done is not something that the vast majority care about.

    People largely use MS OSes (windows) purely out of familiarity, and that they know about nothing else. Give people a go on these "unreal"(??) Oses and maybe you will be surprised at how easy people find the transition.

    The only thing that I can really agree with you about is the standard ports issue, which bugs the hell out of me. That companies like Apple and SONY insist on their proprietary stuff is so irritating.
  • EarthCore - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    How is not being able to view over 40% of the internet that uses Flash & Java getting the job done?

    Netbooks, my Apple fan boy friend, do NOT pose this problem.

    The average consumer doesn't know the technical specs of their netbook OS, but they sure do appreciate being able to share files with their friends and family w/o having to hook up their netbook to a....what do you call it? Real OS?

    The fact that ALL iOS devices have to be tethered to a "Real OS" to do any simple file management job sort of kills your whole argument of, "iPad it gets the job done" doesn't it?
  • Azethoth - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    What is this 40% of internets I cannot see? Should I care about it? I mean I see "The Shockwave / Flash plugin has crashed" CONSTANTLY on my PC using Chrome. Am I missing out on something? Because even tho I had a Flash Crash, the website is still miraculously available ...? Weird rite? Was it like authored to be usable without flash?

    If I went there with my iPad would it say "go away iPad user" or will I just see a website and navigate around it?

    What is the benefit to me of some Adobe crapware that has outlived its usefulness and now serves only as an attack vector for malware?

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