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GFXBench 3.0: A Fresh Look At Mobile Benchmarking

Going Beyond Performance Testing

Graphics standards continue to evolve, and benchmarks are frequently updated to keep pace. In many ways, GFXBench 3.0 is a new beast, featuring the suite's first OpenGL ES 3.0-based performance test, measures of image quality, system impact, and battery performance.

Previous GFXBench versions were comprised of traditional “high-level” game-like scenarios along with more “low-level” tests designed to measure specific subsystems. Version 3.0 expands the software's scope, retaining only one sequence from previous builds: the OpenGL ES 2.0-level T-Rex HD from GFXBench v2.7. The old faithful Egypt HD test from v2.5 retires, which makes sense, since even modern entry-level graphics engines power through it with ease. Naturally, it's no longer challenging for mid-range and high-end SoCs. In its place is the far more demanding Manhattan test, utilizing OpenGL ES 3.0-specific complex lighting, particles, and, most important, deferred shading.

The Low Level performance benchmarks have also been improved over v2.7. An ALU test was added to calculate raw shader performance, while the new Alpha Blending test does the same for rendering multiple transparent objects on top of each other. In addition, there’s a new set of render quality tests that evaluate a device's fidelity by comparing a single rendered frame to a reference, scoring the outcome in peak signal-to-noise ratio. One version forces the shaders to run with high precision, and the other doesn't. A Driver Overhead test shows how heavily a CPU complex is affected by draw calls and state changes.

Finally, a brand new battery test was added, rendering the T-Rex HD in a loop at 50% screen brightness and logging frame rate as the test iterates at least 30 times. While Manhattan may get all the spotlight for emphasizing current-gen graphics capabilities, this is also a very important addition. It, along with the quality metric, gives us a way to compare performance to output and longevity. Device makers and SoC vendors who optimize for one vector are going to negatively affect the others.

Today we’ll give you a test-by-test analysis of GFXBench 3.0 using a selection of devices that run the gamut of modern SoCs.

DeviceSoCCPU CoreGPU CoreMemoryDisplayBattery
Apple iPhone 5sApple A7ARM v8 (dual-core) @ 1.3 GHzImagination Technologies PowerVR G6430 (four-cluster) @ 300 MHz1 GB DDR34" IPS @ 1136x640 (326 PPI)1560 mAh
EVGA Tegra Note 7Nvidia Tegra 4 (T114)ARM Cortex-A15 (quad-core) @ 1.8 GHzARM Cortex -A15 (single companion-core) @ 500 MHzGeForce ULP (72-core) @ 672 MHz1 GB DDR37" IPS @ 1280x800 (216 PPI)4100 mAh
Google Nexus 5Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (8974-AA)Qualcomm Krait 400 (quad-core) @ 2.3 GHzQualcomm Adreno 330 (quad-core) @ 450 MHz2 GB DDR34.94” IPS+ @ 1920x1080 (445 PPI)2300 mAh
Google Nexus 7Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064-1AA)Qualcomm Krait 300 (quad-core) @ 1.5 GHzQualcomm Adreno 320 (quad-core) @ 400 MHz2 GB DDR37.1” IPS @ 1920x1200 (323 PPI)3950 mAh
Meizu MX3Samsung Exynos 5 Octa (5410)ARM Cortex-A15 (quad-core) @ 1.6 GHzARM Cortex-A7 (quad-core) @ 1.2 GHzImagination Technologies PowerVR SGX544MP3 (tri-core) @ 480 MHz2 GB DDR35.1” IPS @ 1800x1080 (412 PPI)2400 mAh (Li-Pro)
Oppo N1Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T)Qualcomm Krait 300 (quad-core) @ 1.7 GHzQualcomm Adreno 320 (quad-core) @ 400 MHz2 GB DDR35.9” IPS @ 1920x1080 (373 PPI)3610 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1" 2014 EditionSamsung Exynos 5 Octa (5420)ARM Cortex-A15 (quad-core) @ 1.9 GHzARM Cortex-A7 (quad-core) @ 1.2 GHzARM Mali-T628MP6 (hexa-core) @ 480-600 MHz3 GB DDR310.1” WQXGA TFT @ 2560x1600 (229 PPI)8220 mAh

Let’s start out with Manhattan, GFXBench’s newest High-Level test, and the first serious OpenGL ES 3.0 benchmark to hit the scene.

  • Cryio
    I was just about to write "why not WP", but then I remember WP games run on DirectX.
    Reply
  • panzerknacker
    Its cool u guys put so much effort into this but tbh most of the benchmark results seem to be completely random. Phones with faster SoC's performing slower and vice versa. I think there is no point at all benching a phone because 1. The benchmarking software is a POS and unreliable and 2. The phone OS's and apps are all complete POSs and act completely random in all kinda situations. I'd say just buy the phone with a fast SoC that looks the best to u and when it starts acting like a POS (which they all start doing in the end) buy a new one.
    Reply
  • Marcus Wandle
    You show those dumb nay sayers, Apple.
    Reply
  • umadbro
    What kind of bs is this? Force 720p on all devices and you'll see what happens to your precious 5s. Even my Zl murdered it.
    Reply
  • andreluizbarbieri
    Why No mention about MX3 and Note beat iphone 5s?
    Reply
  • jamsbong
    The only relevant benchmarks are the first two because they are full-fletch 3D graphics, which is won by the most portable device; The iPhone. The rest of the benchies are just primitive 2D graphics which is irrelevant. Android devices won all those in flying colours.
    Reply
  • rolli59
    Well I have a smart phone but that is so I can receive business emails on the go, I have a tablet because it is great for watching movies on the go. Do I want to find out if there are any faster devices to do those things, not really while what I got is sufficient. I leave all the heavy tasks to the computers.
    Reply
  • Durandul
    The only relevant benchmarks are the first two because they are full-fletch 3D graphics, which is won by the most portable device; The iPhone. The rest of the benchies are just primitive 2D graphics which is irrelevant. Android devices won all those in flying colours.
    If those are the only two benchmarks relevant to you, then I wonder why you are using a phone and not a 3DS or something. But seriously, most of the other devices have more than a million more pixels then the iPhone, so this benchmark is not so telling. It was mentioned before, but it would be nice to test at a given resolution, although as suppose applications don't give you an option on the phone.
    Reply
  • umadbro
    The only relevant benchmarks are the first two because they are full-fletch 3D graphics, which is won by the most portable device; The iPhone. The rest of the benchies are just primitive 2D graphics which is irrelevant. Android devices won all those in flying colours.
    If those are the only two benchmarks relevant to you, then I wonder why you are using a phone and not a 3DS or something. But seriously, most of the other devices have more than a million more pixels then the iPhone, so this benchmark is not so telling. It was mentioned before, but it would be nice to test at a given resolution, although as suppose applications don't give you an option on the phone.
    It does give the option to force some specific resolution. Don't know why this "review" didn't do it. That's what I've been trying to say from the start.
    Reply
  • umadbro
    The only relevant benchmarks are the first two because they are full-fletch 3D graphics, which is won by the most portable device; The iPhone. The rest of the benchies are just primitive 2D graphics which is irrelevant. Android devices won all those in flying colours.
    If those are the only two benchmarks relevant to you, then I wonder why you are using a phone and not a 3DS or something. But seriously, most of the other devices have more than a million more pixels then the iPhone, so this benchmark is not so telling. It was mentioned before, but it would be nice to test at a given resolution, although as suppose applications don't give you an option on the phone.
    It does give the option to force some specific resolution. Don't know why this "review" didn't do it. That's what I've been trying to say from the start.
    Reply