Was the iPhone 4 underpowered?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by anonymous guy, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. anonymous guy, Feb 5, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013

    macrumors 6502

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    #1
    On release, the phone itself was sufficient with iOS4 - but it felt only marginally faster than its predecessor, the 3Gs. For example - on release I was hoping that the iPhone 4 would process touch typing keystrokes faster than my 3Gs would. In most cases, there wasn't much of an improvement in keyboard responsiveness (in some cases, processing text even slower than the 3Gs when typing on pages with heavy HTML content)

    As the iOS release cycles have gone, the iPhone 4 continues to get bogged down with the newer software, as to be expected - but the 4S was the first iPhone 4 that felt like a significant speed upgrade over the 3Gs/4 model and performed up to par with what was being displayed on screen.

    What I'm getting at is, was the iPhone 4 underpowered, relative to the "retina" resolution it ran software at?
     
  2. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    The jump between the 3Gs and the 4 was the second smallest bump over the nearly nonexistent bump from the 2G to the 3G. The iPhone 4 was underpowered in regards to the GPU. It used the same GPU as the 3Gs, but had to power about 4 times the pixels. This shows in nearly every graphical benchmark that includes the 3Gs and the iPhone 4. This is also why the 3Gs preforms much better with graphic intense games.
     
  3. macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Actually even with 4 x the resolution, the 4 performed ~14% faster than the 3GS graphics wise.

    The 4 was ridiculously fast when it was released, but software bloats, and computers get faster.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Makes sense, thanks for the explanation. Reading up on the specs, the highly-touted "A4" was only a slightly upgraded version of the off-the-shelf CPU on the 3Gs.

    It seems like the iPhone 4 was only given enough muscle to be up to par with its prior incarnation, rather than a top of the line unit.
     
  5. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    That would be incorrect. Even though the 4's GPU clock was slightly higher, it produced much worse framerate when benched against the 3Gs. And in some cases, the 3Gs' GPU was up to 3 times better than the iPhone 4's.

    11x0402n81sdf.jpg
     
  6. macrumors regular

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    Jun 16, 2011
    #6
    Thats a native resolution test,since the 4 has a bigger native resolution it will obvious perform worse,a true test would be on a off-screen test.
     
  7. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #7
    Unfortunately, iOS only runs at the native resolution of 960x640. Because of that, the iPhone 4 almost always has a worse overall graphical performance. And if I recall correctly, the iPhone 4 has sub-par off screen graphical performance as well, when compared to the 3Gs.
     
  8. macrumors 68020

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    #8
    The iP4 was given about as much processing punch as was possible when it was released. It was more than good enough to debut a new era of screen fidelity. Also despite not being that much faster in raw CPU speed, I found the experience generally smoother due to it having double the RAM over the 3GS.
    I think user will find most annual upgrades don’t revolutionize a device. That’s why I stick to a two year upgrade cycle. Two years of incremental improvements feels great in the hand.
     
  9. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #9
    I agree that the double ram of the 3Gs was very helpful. Look at the iPod Touch 4. It has the same GPU and ram as the 3Gs, but the 4's faster CPU. It doesn't cope with iOS 5 or 6 as well as the 4 does and about the same as the 3Gs. Then there's the iPad 1, it had a much faster CPU than the iPhone 4, but the same ram as the 3Gs and iPod Touch 4. It's performance on iOS 5 was abysmal, considerably worse than the iPod Touch 4 and the 3Gs.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #10
    I only have limited experience with an iPod Touch 4th gen, but I can recall that it did have difficulties with cached Safari tabs and maintaining backgrounded apps.

    Haven't touched a 3Gs in years, but would love to compare them if I got the chance.
     
  11. macrumors 68030

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    Oct 21, 2012
    #11
    And I can show you numerous tests that show otherwise, such as this one. Benchmarks are relative, I'm not "incorrect" as you say.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8jrb6KTSHk&feature=related
     
  12. macrumors 65816

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #12
    The 3GS beat the 4 in shader score, and was much smoother in the benchmark at around 1:05.

    The 4 is a weak machine. Knew that when it came out, so stuck to the 3GS at that time. The 4S destroyed the 4.
     
  13. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #13
    Even though the tests differ, gaming wish most people state that the 3Gs preforms better when playing games. Even more people state that the 3Gs has a more fluid user interface, likely because of the higher framerate its GPU provides. Because of the increased pixels the 4 has to drive more, it suffers from more jitters resulting in worse performance. That coupled with the fact that the 4's GPU was not "ridiculously fast when it was released", being a year old, makes your statements incorrect. Even high end Android phones at the time surpassed the 4's graphical abilities, and yet a few fell short of the 3Gs'. It wasn't until the 4S and the iPad 2 that iOS was once again powered by the most powerful GPU in mobile devices.
     

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