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Can A Tablet-Oriented GPU Handle Desktop Gaming?

Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T: An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet
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If you follow our tablet coverage, you've seen our GLBenchmark charts with Imagination Technologies' PowerVR hardware riding high and mighty up on top. But that's a synthetic, mostly intended to represent tablet-oriented gaming. Can the SGX545 apply those chart-topping GLBenchmark numbers to an entry-level PC title?

WoW: MoP on Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500TWoW: MoP on Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T

This was probably wishful thinking, but since we have an x86 processor with Windows 8, we had to install a mainstream game like World of Warcraft to see if the little Atom could handle it. After all, what good is the freedom to install whatever you want on a device without benchmarks addressing the viability of such a position.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria @ 1366x768 & Fair Quality On Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T

We've seen World of Warcraft run acceptably on netbook-class hardware at the lowest detail settings. Unfortunately, even at 800x600, we wouldn't consider the Atom Z2760 to be powerful enough for a workload like this one.

We are left with a few interesting thoughts, though. First, the single-core PowerVR SGX545 is a little quicker than the older Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 found in Intel's Atom N450. The iPad 2's dual-core SGX543MP2 should deliver close to two times as much performance, while the third-gen iPad's quad-core SGX543MP4 might be expected to increase that result four-fold. Given that Qualcomm's S4 Pro tops both Apple SoCs, it wouldn't be unrealistic for it to drive a game like World of Warcraft smoothly.

Of course, that's all theoretical since those other graphics engines are part of ARM-based SoCs. Intel would need to license a more advanced GPU in order for us to confirm, which would require dedicating more power budget to graphics. More power means less battery life, and we know the direction that goes. Alternatively, AMD could show us a tablet-oriented APU, which would be interesting, too.

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