GPU Performance: Leaving The Competition In The Dust
In addition to better responsiveness from its processing cores, the A5 also enables significantly better graphics performance on the iPhone 4S. If you remember our iPad 2 coverage (or took a peek on the previous page), the SoC effectively underwent a three-part upgrade. Aside from its processing cores and memory, A5 sports Imagination Technologies’ dual-core PowerVR SGX 543MP2. In contrast, the A4 employs a single-core PowerVR SGX 535. That's the same GPU Intel used on its GMA 500, built into the Poulsbo series of System Controller Hubs for Atom.
As usual, we're turning to GLBenchmark, a test coded by a bunch of former game developers, to quantify the performance gain. We think this metric does a fair job of demonstrating the performance differences expected in real-world mobile games.
As indicated by raw frames measured within a given interval, the A5 provides a big performance boost. We have yet to test the iPad 2 with iOS 5.0, but the scores speak for themselves. Compared to the iPhone 4, you can expect anywhere from three to six times better graphics performance from Apple's iPhone 4S.
GLBenchmark 2.1 also features the Egypt and Pro tests in an off-screen mode, which normalizes performance at 720p. This allows us to compare Tegra 2-based devices like Motorola's Xoom and Asus' Eee Pad Transformer.
The scores aren't really a surprise. The PowerVR SGX 543MP2 still beats the GeForce ULP found in Nvidia's Tegra 2. This really speaks to Imagination Technologies' ability to design a powerful mobile GPU, and it's precisely why Sony plans to utilize a quad-core PowerVR SGX 543MP4 to power its PlayStation Vita, the PSP's successor.