A5X Proxessor vs Tegra 3

Discussion in 'iPad' started by iHuman1337, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. iHuman1337 macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
    We all know how Apple said that the A5X will cream Tegra 3 in graphics. My question is whether or not you seriously believe them. On another note, which one do you think will be faster in general?
  2. Nightprowler macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2012
    What they said was that it was 4x the processing power...

    That said, it might all be just marketing spin. The A5x chip appears to have 2 CPU cores and 4 GPU cores so they might be talking total theoretical processing power, not necessarily directly comparative.

    Also, the software has to be programed to effectively utilize all the cores. Software that is not properly optimized will obviously not perform as well in the real world as they might say on paper.

    I'm sure someone with a lot more technical know how then me will break it down better.
  3. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    From what I've seen, Android is just more power hungry overall, so it requires more "power" to do everything, even more so since since there are multiple OEMs for Android. On iOS, there's only one manufacturer, so all the R&D is put into one product, which means the marriage between hardware and software is more seamless. That's why iOS doesn't really need THAT much power to run.

    Granted, we will have to see what the new Transformer Infinity brings, since that is really the only mainstream tablet that has comparable specs to the new iPad.

    It's also worth mentioning that the Tegra 3 chip currently doesn't support LTE. All the tablets/phones that normally have Tegra 3 have to switch to a different chip (Transformer Infinity will be using the Snapdragon S4, which is dual-core) just for LTE. The S4 though, is quite powerful, and benchmarks have been very good so far. I'm guessing Apple is using something very similar to the S4 in the A5X.
  4. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Anandtech.com did a comparison between the Tegra (or GeForce?) GPU and the current A5 dual-core GPU found in the iPad 2.

    There is a story and article over there for you to read. Very interesting. However, Anandtech's numbers and benchmarks (even real-world testing) was inline with Apple's claims, months before today's presentation.
  5. eagandale4114 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2011

  6. zenit macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2010
    Nvidia was a bit crap with their Tegra 2 chip, so I don't really believe the Tegra 3 is going to be anything great, other than being one of the first to the market of quad-cores.

    The awesome Apple-alternative will be Snapdragon S4 Pro with Adreno 320 which comes out this summer.
  7. Buildbright macrumors 6502a

    Aug 25, 2011
    I agree the Nivida needs better Architechture not more cores of crap. The new Snapdragon looks good.
  8. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    The tegra3 has more CPU power, but even the A5 had more GPU power. The A5X has at least 2x more GPU power than the A5, so yes, it'll seriously cream the tegra 3 on graphics. You have to remember that the iPad 3 has 4x more pixels to draw though, so games might not run any faster than the iPad 2. (Games don't need 4x more power to draw 4x more screen by the way - I think 2x faster is fast enough).

    So A5X wins by a lap or two on graphics. CPU is more complicated: the tegra is 4 core, the A5X is only 2 core. I expect the tegra to be MUCH faster for anything really CPU heavy that's designed for multi-core. That's the catch though: very few apps are seriously CPU limited, and not that many are really optimised for multicore. The tegra 3 wins by a mile on paper, in practice it's likely a hollow victory because you'll see much more software that's GPU limited than CPU limited.
  9. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    AnandTech's benchmarks for the Tegra 3 don't show it to be significantly faster than the A5 or other dual-core SoCs for that matter.

    The A5's 543mp2 gets a ~2x performance score as a best case scenario, there was only one test in which it got this much of a lead. So, technically, Apple's claims of 4x could be true if the A5x is using 543mp4 like people think.

    This is all graphics power BTW, not CPU power but as iOS is heavily GPU accelerated, you may see benefits outside of UI speed and gaming.
  10. linkgx1 macrumors 68000

    Oct 12, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    You can't really compare unless both are running the same os. Kinda moot.
  11. Diversion macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Its hard to compare the ultra-optimized iOS and Apple's drivers to a run of the mill Android tablet with half-assed coded drivers (Yes I consider the drivers in the Transformer Prime to be half-assed in software side just like every other Android tablet i've owned).

    If Apple decided to go Tegra3 for the iPad3, I bet it would score better than what the Prime can squeeze out of it due to the man power and quality control Apple has for their products.

    Apple is comparing their platform as a whole (including iOS) to Android + Tegra3.

    The Tegra3 in the right hands would shine as bright as an Apple product, but it won't ever get the appreciation it deserves just like every other Android device and it's all due to quality control.

    From a very technical standpoint - it's also true that the PowerVR SGX543MP2 found in the iPad2 clock for clock seems to best the Tegra3 and Tegra3 came out 3/4 of a year after the iPad2. When more crazy layers, graphics/effects are involved, Tegra3 can handle more features at one time than the SGX543MP2 can due to having more cores. The raw power of the SGX543MP2 is obviously stronger in simpler tests, being limited by 2 cores.

    We're not quite sure exactly what graphics are being used in the iPad3, possibly the SGX543MP4 or SGX544MP4. It should easily overpower the Tegra3 in graphics performance at this point. However, gaming may not be very fluid on the iPad3 as it would be on a Tegra3 lower res tablet. The iPad3 has a ridiculous amount of pixels to push for gaming!

    We really need to see a teardown on the ipad3 soon!


    Also keep in mind, the dual-core A5 setup has obliterated the competition in pure CPU calc tests as well, as long as the tests were dual core, including a Tegra3 when you limit it to dual core.

    I am hoping they upped the clock speed on the A5 cpu's in the ipad3 at least to 1.2ghz or 1.5ghz to keep it leading the race.
  12. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    You have this kind of the wrong way round. The tegra may actually be more powerful in simple tests (like drawing a single 'layer' with a complex effect), but in complex scenes (say a game like infinity blade) the PowerVR has a huge advantage. It's because of the architecture difference, and has nothing to do with the number of cores. In fact doesn't the tegra 3 just have a single powerful GPU core?

    The difference is that the powerVR is "tiled". When the tegra renders a scene, it has to draw it in one go, all of the polygons (there might be 100,000 of them) at once. When the PowerVR renders it, it splits it into lots of very small tiles, and does one tile at a time. Because the tiles are small, a tile might only have 10 polygons in it. That's nothing, so you can afford to figure out which ones are in front of others, and only render the visible bits.

    There might be 3x more surfaces that are hidden behind things than there are visible surfaces, so if it does this it only has to draw 1/4 of the amount the tegra does. That means it might be slower than the tegra, but it will seriously outperform it because it does far less work. It also makes it much more efficient, and therefore better for battery life.
  13. Diversion macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Hmm, I thought sources said the other way, I could be misinformed.. It was my understanding Tegra3 was better at complex scenes where as PowerVR's stuff was faster at simpler scenes.

    Either way, good info, Thanks!
  14. dtlee1974 macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2010
    >The iPad3 has a ridiculous amount of pixels to push for gaming!

    If a game can't get the framerate they need at 2048 they can scale back to 1024 using pixel doubling. The resulting image will be no worse than it is on the iPad 2 but probably much smoother.

    Honestly, I'll be shocked (in a good way) if many 3d games are actually going to run at 2048. If so, they'll look amazing.
  15. whtrbt7 macrumors 65816

    Jun 8, 2011
    The A5X is going to perform better than the Tegra 3 where it really counts. It's not to say that Nvidia's processor isn't great but it's got a completely different focus. The Tegra 3 is a quad core or quad+1 core mobile processor designed for very fast computational processing. What that means for gaming is that it can calculate 3D vectors quickly but then using it's built-in graphics processing, it needs to render the 3D via the same processor so you're using up more bandwidth on the same processing cores. The A5X chipset design is pretty different. A5X uses centralized dual-core processing for computations so it will process raw numbers slightly slower than the Tegra 3. A5X however uses a quad-core graphics processing unit on top of the existing dual-core central processing. It's kind of like how a MBP uses a discreet graphic chipset except this chipset is on top of the central processor. The graphics should be much smoother on the iPad 2012 just due to this type of processing.
  16. Diversion macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Jacksonville, Florida
    You have to understand Apple is no way shape or form will let the competition beat them, it's not just a mind set, they WILL and ALREADY have thrown money to ensure they will be the best for the next year, as a whole. The best is not just making the most money, but they refuse to let someone have the upper hand in a performance standpoint. Right before the iPad3 came out, Android tablets and the hardware was barely approaching the performance of the iPad2..

    I am slightly afraid it won't be such a large gap this year.. The Exynos 2 and Qualcomm S4 might be enough to finally overtake the iPad 3's hardware from a performance standpoint in a few months.
  17. iHuman1337 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
  18. Galdom macrumors newbie


    Mar 8, 2012
  19. Tastydirt macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    To be honest, it doesn't matter how fast the A5X is compared to Tegra, as you'll never see a Tegra SoC in the iPad and you'll never see Apple reselling A5Xs to Android tablet makers!
  20. borgqueenx macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
  21. Buildbright macrumors 6502a

    Aug 25, 2011
    Apple has 1000 engineers on site designing these chips. That's pretty impressive.

    It does not matter why iPad is faster the most important thing to remember is it's faster.
  22. iHuman1337 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
  23. whtrbt7 macrumors 65816

    Jun 8, 2011
    What Apple means by 4x the performance is the combination of both GPU and CPU functions. The big difference is not the actual processor but the way the processors are align on the PCB. Apple engineers actually are "doing it right" funny enough. I think the best way of describing the process is "holistic". Apple takes a look at the final product and engineers a way to make it perform "right". Yes, it sounds like marketing but Apple's engineers focus on results, not just specs.
  24. DeathChill macrumors 68000

    Jul 15, 2005
    I was informed by someone on Hacker News that when NVidia says this they are referring to SIMD units, of which the Tegra 3 GPU has 12. Apparently the GPU in the iPad 2 (I believe he was referencing the 2) has 16 SIMD units.

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