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GPU Performance: Tegra 2

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: A Second-Gen Android Tablet
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As we’ve mentioned in the past, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets use what’s known as a system-on-chip (SoC). This integrates the processor, GPU, RAM, and several other subsystems onto single device. Since all of those components sit next to each other on the same chip, there is greater efficiency in data transfers, while reducing the amount of space consumed on the PCB.

SoC
Apple A4 (iPad)
Apple A5
Nvidia Tegra 2
Tablets
Apple iPad
Apple iPad 2
Acer Iconia Tab A500
Asus Eee Pad Transformer
Motorola Xoom
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Processor
1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 (single-core)
1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 (dual-core)
1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 (dual-core)
Memory
256 MB 333 MHz LP-DDR (single-channel)
512 MB 1066 MHz LP-DDR2 (dual-channel)
1 GB 667 MHz LP-DDR2 (single-channel)
Graphics
PowerVR SGX535 (single-core)PowerVR SGX545MP2 (dual-core)ULP GeForce (single-core)
L1 Cache
(Instruction/Data)
32 KB / 32 KB
32 KB / 32 KB
32 KB / 32 KB
L2 Cache640 KB
1 MB1 MB


Tegra is Nvidia’s SoC brand, and it symbolizes the company’s effort to tap into the mobile market beyond its desktop-derived GeForce graphics processors. For those unfamiliar with Tegra 2, read page eight of our Motorola Xoom review for a full discussion GPU architecture. On the CPU side, Tegra 2 shares the same dual-core Cortex-A9, which offers a substantial boost from Cortex-A8 used in the first-generation iPad. Read Apple's iPad 2 Review: Tom's Goes Down The Tablet Rabbit Hole for a full discussion of Cortex-A9 performance.

While we've already covered Tegra 2, it's important to examine the graphics performance of each tablet. Sy Choudhury, director of product management at Qualcomm, once stated, "There is a misconception that the same processor and operating system gives the same performance." That's a phenomenon found on every tablet and smartphone. Why is it wrong to expect the same performance from all Honeycomb-based Tegra 2 tablets? Hardware vendors get access to the same optimizations from the SoC developer, but not all of the software-based tweaks are enabled by OEMs.

GPU (System-on-Chip)
PowerVR SGX 535 (Apple A4)
PowerVR SGX 543 (Apple A5)
ULP GeForce (Tegra 2)
SIMD
USSE
USSE2
Core
Pipelines
2 (unified)
4 (unified)
8 (4 pixel / 4 vertex)
TMUs
2
2
2
Bus Width (bit)
64
64
32
Triangle rate @ 200 MHz
14 MTriangles/s35 MTriangles/s?


The ULP GeForce has a maximum operating frequency of 300 MHz, but device vendors can tweak this setting to save on power. Nvidia provides less information on the Tegra 2 than it does for its desktop GPUs, so it’s best to move on to benchmarks. As in our iPad 2 review, we're turning to GLBenchmark 2.0.

In terms of frames rendered in a set period, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 performs as well as other Android-based tablets running Honeycomb 3.1. Interestingly, the TouchWiz UI update enables graphics performance closer to the Eee Pad Transformer with Honeycomb 3.2. This implies one of two possibilities.

  1. Samsung could be enabling performance enhancements in the UI update.
  2. The TouchWiz UI is less resource-intensive than Honeycomb 3.1.

Whatever the reason, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 leads the pack as the best-performing Tegra 2-based tablet.

If you want to go into more depth than what is provided here, the full results of GLBenchmark 2.0 have been posted on Google Docs.

Display all 25 comments.
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  • 2 Hide
    Martell77 , October 4, 2011 6:10 AM
    I'm going to be in the market to buy about 150 tablets soon and from this article it appears that the ASUS 3.2 is the best all around for price/performance/recharge. While it doesn't win alot, it appears to be a consistant performer and has a relativly short recharge time.

    Or am I missing something here?
  • 0 Hide
    dthx , October 4, 2011 8:37 AM
    The reason why Samsung doesn't want to lower it's price is easy to understand: there are many (stupid) persons who are convinced that the iPad is superior to any other tablet just because it's priced higher... Samsung wants to make sure they capture that part of the market.
    But the author is right: if there is one reason Apple should sue Samsung, it's for copying the price structure of the iPad!
  • 1 Hide
    Haserath , October 4, 2011 11:32 AM
    Samsung Galaxy Tab needs a split keyboard feature in portrait mode; it isn't comfortable enough to have to stretch to hit the virtual keys.

    The 10.1 is still too slow for certain browsing. Flash is good as long as you don't want to rewind or fast forward through it. It sometimes slows down when I try typing also.

    Since Apple produces both hardware and software, they can optimize their OS for the exact hardware they put out.

    After trying the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, I would say it's just a little too immature still. A good year or two and tablets will be perfect for browsing, gaming, and some other tasks while also being lightweight and easy to use even compared to laptops.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 4, 2011 12:22 PM
    Hmmm, many talk about iPad dominance but don't know all the facts. Just looking at a device in the store doesn't cut it folks. Android tablets are going to start cutting into market share, like it or not. For an IT person or true techie, most would choose an Android tablet. 4 core coming soon and they are going to rock the scene. Example: my Acer Iconia costs quite a bit less than iPad2.
    -Full USB port for mouse, keyboard, portable hard disks/thumb drives, cameras
    -Overclocked and stable dual core CPU @ 1.504 Ghz (big change in performance)
    -Customizable and open operating system (and it's going to get better with ICS)
    -Honeycomb 3.2
    -Netflix and Hulu working
    -Mount drives from Linux, Windows, and OSX
    -Websites with Flash that look the same as on a PC browser (now theres a concept)
    -Wide screen 16:9
    -5MP rear camera + front facing camera.
    -HDMI out
    -Charges back up in 1hr
  • 1 Hide
    dennisburke , October 4, 2011 4:35 PM
    Price, proprietary cable management, and lack of expandable storage all lead me to want to wait to see what happens after Windows 8 becomes available.
  • 0 Hide
    iceman1992 , October 5, 2011 4:05 AM
    Quote:
    PowerVR SGX545MP2 (dual-core)

    i think it's supposed to be SGX543MP2?
  • 1 Hide
    tacoslave , October 5, 2011 5:40 AM
    call me when Kal-el comes out
  • 0 Hide
    damric , October 5, 2011 11:09 AM
    I'll be getting this for $199 with my Sprint upgrade :D 
  • 1 Hide
    thrasher32 , October 5, 2011 2:28 PM
    Wake me up when someone does something innovative.
  • -1 Hide
    superbeast406 , October 6, 2011 12:42 AM
    Quote:
    While the iPad wasn’t particularly slick or slim (compared to today's standards, at least), it benefited from being the first tablet.

    The iPad wasn't the first tablet. They had been around for years before the iPad. Depending on what you're using for the definition of a tablet you could even say they were made as far back as in the 80's. We'll just say 2001 for functionality sake. iPad just crossed a tablet with the useful qaulities and good looks of an iPhone and marketed it right. I thought these articles were supposed to be written by techies? Not even gonna read the rest now.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 6, 2011 9:13 PM
    The comment about multitasking is dead wrong on this review.

    First, it states that Android does no multitasking, that's simply wrong. What Android doesn't allow is to have multiple apps showing at the same time on the screen, you can have an app doing some long job while you work on another, if that's not multitasking I don't know what is.

    Second, one paragraph later it tells the Galaxy task killer doesn't remove the thumbnail from the "multitasking switcher" (didn't the reviewer just said Android does no multitasking?). That switch is really an "app history" switcher rather than a multitask switcher, because even if the app is no longer in memory Android will reopen it for you, so no reason for Touchwiz task killer to remove the thumbnail from it.

    It is a good review, but I wish the reviewer had done his research on some topics like this one before alienating readers with wrong information.
  • 1 Hide
    the fong , October 7, 2011 3:22 AM
    The underlying issue with anyone knocking Apple off its throne is the 3rd party developer base and insane customer support Apple has. Until Android improves its model for the app store, they are never going to be a real contender against Apple in the general consumer market. Oh sure, tech heads and the like love android (myself among them), but Apple is shinier, simpler, with more apps, and more support, and the impressionable masses care little for native flash support as opposed to getting the latest angry birds update first.
  • 0 Hide
    sundragon , October 7, 2011 3:52 AM
    yawn...
  • 0 Hide
    in_the_loop , October 7, 2011 4:14 PM
    Totally misleading headline.
    This is by no way a "second generation" android tablet.
    It still has the Tegra 2 and the specs are identical to the other big names (Acer, Asus and the likes) and the performance is the same!

    No, the first "second gen" android tablet will probably be when the Asus transformer 2 is released.
    Or maybe ZTE will beat them all with the first Tegra 3 based (quad-core)tablet:
    http://www.androidauthority.com/zte-quad-core-tablet-leaks-26228/
  • 0 Hide
    invlem , October 8, 2011 4:31 AM
    after using an android device for a while I have to say the versatility is amazing compared to the iPad.

    I can browse my local Lan network with ease, copy files across the network, bridge any device to anything else (beam a youtube video from my 3g or wifi, via wifi, to my tv, etc)

    all feature which I can get for free from the market place.

    Not to mention standard USB and SD card support

    I'll admit the iPad has a nice interface and in general is a good tablet, but apple's death grip on what the developers are allowed to publish crushes the iPads capabilities... It could do so much more, and that's where the android market shines.
  • 0 Hide
    maltocro , October 8, 2011 6:47 PM
    My god, those specs are both in inches and in decimals?! Am I missing somthing (I am from Europe.)
  • 0 Hide
    husker , October 10, 2011 9:18 PM
    maltocroMy god, those specs are both in inches and in decimals?! Am I missing somthing (I am from Europe.)

    Here is what you are missing. All of these are the same thing:

    One tenth of an inch
    1/10 inch
    0.1 inch

    Is that really so hard to believe?
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , October 13, 2011 12:55 PM
    Quote:
    oogle and its hardware partners all seem focused on video content, based on the 16:10 displays on all of the competing tablets in the chart above. As a result, you'll feel compelled to hold the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in landscape mode.

    I always hold my 16:10 (why not 8:5?) eeePad Transformer in portrait mode. What's so hard about it? Or am I just weird?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 17, 2011 4:27 AM
    I have one, and the GALAXY tab having a different charger than my GALAXY S2 is unforgivable.
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