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Web Browser Performance: SunSpider, Octane, And BrowsingBench

Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T: An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet

As the tablet space becomes increasingly crowded, we look to compare the performance of multiple hardware architectures supporting iOS, Android, Windows RT, and now Windows 8 as well. That's not easy, since Microsoft and Apple, in particular, are restrictive about the software running on their platforms. As of now, there are no cross-platform benchmarks available for Windows RT.

Right now, Web browser-based benchmarks represent the only way for us to compare the Surface to other devices. We're consequently revisiting these tests to pit Samsung’s Windows 8-based tablet against the competition from Microsoft. 

These tests aren't the last word on performance, though. Browser support varies by operating system, and we know that, even on a consistent platform, performance varies between each Web browser. So, when you consider the many different tablets we're testing today, along with the permutations of software available for them all, these numbers are affected by several variables. Fortunately, Windows 8 lets us test IE10, Chrome, and Safari, creating parallels to other hardware with those same browsers.

Fortunately, we don't have do a ton of extrapolation in SunSpider, since the ATIV Smart PC 500T takes first, second, and third place running the three browsers we wanted to measure. Our results show that IE10 enjoys an advantage in JavaScript performance, something we've seen in past Web Browser Grand Prix stories, too.

Here's one sure to raise eyebrows. The V8 Benchmark Suite was created by Google specifically to test the runtime performance of JavaScript in Chrome, so it's little surprise to see the three platforms running Chrome secure the top spots. Only considering that trio of results, though, our Windows 8-based Samsung tablet takes a very commanding lead. 

We also see that the Atom/Windows 8 combination from Samsung is almost twice as fast as Tegra 3/Windows RT under IE10. Moreover, the ATIV Smart TV 500T gives you the freedom to ditch IE10 altogether and install Chrome to realize that first-place finish. The Surface lacks this flexibility.

Octane is Google's newest JavaScript-based benchmark. It incorporates the eight original tests from V8, along with five additional tests that focus on runtime performance. Regardless of the new content, we don't need to draw any new conclusions. The top three finishers are the same, and for the same reason. Windows 8 and IE10 remain notably faster than Microsoft's browser under Windows RT, likely due to the Atom's advantages over Tegra 3.

Our next test, BrowsingBench, was created by the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium, a non-profit organization tasked with developing testing methodology for embedded hardware. While it's meant for testing "smartphones, netbooks, portable gaming devices, navigation devices, and IP set-top boxes," it's just as useful for measuring browser performance in general.

Unlike SunSpider or V8, BrowsingBench evaluates the total performance of a browser: page loading, processing, rendering, compositing, and so on. This helps reflect real-world use, unlike an exclusively JavaScript-based metric.

Again, we see the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T demonstrate why an open ecosystem is a good thing, as Chrome on Windows 8 finishes in first place. Two iPads interestingly take second and third place, followed by Samsung's tablet running Safari and IE10. A trio of Tegra 3-based devices bring up the rear.

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  • 4 Hide
    knowom , January 2, 2013 3:47 AM
    Way overpriced would much rather just get a laptop.
  • 4 Hide
    tanjo , January 2, 2013 4:24 AM
    Too bad tablets can't get drunk and hook up; we'd love to see what the kids of Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T and Microsoft's Surface would look like.

    Don't know about the looks but they'd name it Samsoft.
  • 5 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , January 2, 2013 4:32 AM
    i wonder what a Surface with a Quad core Krait S4 would look like.
  • -9 Hide
    DjEaZy , January 2, 2013 4:43 AM
    ... An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet... two terrible things put together...
  • 7 Hide
    hp79 , January 2, 2013 5:23 AM
    I got one of these from Staples for $600 when they first released it.
    The battery life is amazing for me. Probably due to that fact that I never blast the brightness because it'll hurt my eyes. I usually recharge the battery overnight, once in 1-3 days. It's like a cell phone (I actually charge my Galaxy Note every night), where it stays connected. Press the power button or standby in the Windows menu, and the screen turns off, but everything else is still going on in the background. I can listen to music and press the power button, and it's just like a smartphone. All this while sipping very little power.
    I can play movies on my 1080p TV using cheap hdmi cable, and after watching 4 hours of movies, it still has 60% battery left.

    I really like the digitizer too since I also use OneNote 2010 on my x230t, which gets synched on the xe500t's OneNote 2010.

    Because I don't have to worry about the battery life at all, sometimes I just keep it on, running a movie or something while working on my desktop or laptop.

    Now the bad things are obviously the slower CPU, and everywhere-glassy plastic feel.
    There are also bugs in the drivers where the touch interface often stops working, especially in Skype. There were several updates on the drivers and bios, but I think they better keep working on it.
  • -6 Hide
    jonjonjon , January 2, 2013 5:46 AM
    this is so ridiculous how bad ms screwed this up. windows 8 could not be more a disaster. why would you release a arm and intel x86 version of the same tablet? with that said why use arm at all. maybe i don't see ms's infinite wisdom. if i buy a windows tablet i'm expecting that i can run all my x86 programs on it. i would love to be in some ms management meetings i'm sure you could get some good laughs. poor ms i almost feel bad for them.
  • 3 Hide
    demirci , January 2, 2013 5:49 AM
    "72% of Nvidia's Tegra 3, and 92% of Qualcomm's S4 Pro"
    This is not correct according to the graph.
  • -8 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , January 2, 2013 7:16 AM
    Talk to me when a tablet can run Crysis 3 on its highest settings. Then, I'll buy one. Then, the Desktop PC will be dead.
  • -4 Hide
    killerclick , January 2, 2013 7:59 AM
    Windows Vista had 2.2% after two months on the market.
    Windows 8 market share after two months - 1.65%, meaning it gained only 0.6% Nov 26 - Dec 26
    At the same time Windows 7 gained 0.4% to just over 45%.

    Metro is dead, it should be obvious even to Microsoft now.

  • 3 Hide
    killerclick , January 2, 2013 8:02 AM
    JOSHSKORNTalk to me when a tablet can run Crysis 3 on its highest settings. Then, I'll buy one. Then, the Desktop PC will be dead.

    No problem, they'll make Crysis 3 for Windows tablets, so it'll run exactly the same on the PC. It's what Microsoft is expecting devs to do with their apps.
  • 3 Hide
    serendipiti , January 2, 2013 10:44 AM
    "Too bad tablets can't get drunk and hook up; we'd love to see what the kids of Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T and Microsoft's Surface would look like."

    What have you been (or perhaps not been) doing lately, Andrew ? ;) 
    Christmas holidays and betrayals of the unconscious ? ;) 

    Happy new year !!!

  • 1 Hide
    ojas , January 2, 2013 10:51 AM
    It's strange, Tom's continues to use geekbench as a cross-platform benchmark, when AnandTech sated (in fact Anand himself did) that it isn't a great one to use...

    Anyway, why not use Sandra for Android and Windows? They've had working Android builds for quite a while now, and i'm sure Tom's Hardware gets beta software.
  • 1 Hide
    safcmanfr , January 2, 2013 10:52 AM
    Very interesting solution. I'd be tempted to leave the docking station on the desk (home or work) and use it as a simple tablet when on the move.

    I can't wait for the Surface pro with the touch/type keyboard, cos it should be lighter that the Samsung dock and easy to carry around.
  • 0 Hide
    safcmanfr , January 2, 2013 10:54 AM
    (especially as the tablet has a stylus, which means taking notes in a meeting doesnt necessarily need the keyboard...)
  • 0 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , January 2, 2013 11:31 AM
    windowsRT on exynos5 hardware should be Epic WIN.
  • 1 Hide
    damianrobertjones , January 2, 2013 11:52 AM
    DjEaZy... An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet... two terrible things put together...

    - Please grow up.


    During the review how many times did the keyboard disconnect, connect, disconnect, then repeat the cycle. Until this issue is CONFIRMED as being fixed it's not worth buying. Visit the 'tablet pc review forum for updates'. Other than that it's a very nice machine with wacom stylus. You can also grab back a load of space by disabling hibernation, virtual memory and system restore (if enabled).
  • 0 Hide
    damianrobertjones , January 2, 2013 11:53 AM
    killerclickMetro is dead, it should be obvious even to Microsoft now.

    Metro died a long time ago when they changed the name. I, personally, didn't see the sales as being anything other than what they are but once the 'games' start arriving and the kids take notice... .
  • 6 Hide
    cknobman , January 2, 2013 12:39 PM
    A windows 8 atom tablet might just be worth getting if Intel would stop using such POS graphics.
  • 5 Hide
    enewmen , January 2, 2013 12:57 PM
    I would have liked to see how and AMD C-60 does, even with a higher (9W) TDP.
    At least it CAN play Starcraft 2 at low settings.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , January 2, 2013 1:10 PM
    demirci"72% of Nvidia's Tegra 3, and 92% of Qualcomm's S4 Pro"This is not correct according to the graph.

    Fixed. Andrew had the S4 and Tegra reversed.
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