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Nvidia's Tegra 3 Optimizations: THD Android Games, Tested

Test Setup And Benchmark Suite

For this comparison, we chose a series of games selected by Nvidia and optimized for Tegra 3. The only limitation we imposed was that the titles also had to be available for iOS, so we could compare the Tegra 3’s visuals to that of the iPhone 5. We added two more test platforms, a Samsung Galaxy S III and a pre-release Google Nexus 4, to compare Nvidia’s chip to GPUs from ARM and Qualcomm.

Test Setup

HTC One X+

Apple iPhone 5

Google Nexus 4

Samsung Galaxy S IIISoCNvidia Tegra 3 (AP37)Apple A6Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064)Samsung Exynos 4 (4412)CPUCortex-A9 @ 1.7 GHz (quad-core)Swift @ 1.3 GHz (dual-core)Krait @ 1.5 GHz (quad-core)Cortex-A9 @ 1.4 GHz (quad-core)GPUULP GeForce @ 520 MHzPowerVR SGX543MP3 @ 266 MHzAdreno 320*Mali-400 MP4 @ 400 MHzMemory1 GB1 GB2 GB1 GBStorage**64 GB16 GB8 GB16 GBDisplay4.7” S-LCD 2 @ 1280x720 (312 PPI)4” IPS LCD @1136x640 (326 PPI)4.7” WXGA IPS @1280x768 (318 PPI)4.8” Super AMOLED @1280x720 (306 PPI)MSRP***$650$650$300$700*Qualcomm does not disclose the frequency of the Adreno 320.**The Storage specs are off the base models to help with pricing.***Base models, as of 12/20/12.Benchmark SuiteTitleTegra OptimizationBeach Buggy BlitzYesDead TriggerYesFruit NinjaSeparate THD EditionGalaxy On Fire 2THD-only*Grand Theft Auto IIIHeroes CallYesPrincess PuntYesShadowgun: DeadZoneYesSprinkleYesSoulCraftSeparate THD EditionThe Dark Meadow: The PactYesZen PinballTHD-only*Also available for the Sony Xperia Play.

When available, we ran the Tegra HD (THD) version of each game on the HTC One X+. The standard Android version from Google Play was used on the Galaxy S III and Nexus 4. Obviously, the iOS version from the App Store was used on the iPhone 5. So that everyone can test at home, all but one of the games we’ve selected is a free title. Our one exception, Grand Theft Auto III is only five bucks, and in our opinion, well worth the price of admission considering the very un-mobile scope of this sandbox favorite.

Remember that today we’re concentrating on visual differences rather than performance, so don’t expect the usual frames-per-second performance data. Instead, we have side-by-side screen shots of the same area in each game on all four test phones. While we originally wanted to provide a video comparison between the various games, due to DRM issues, we weren’t able to. Besides, screen capture software for today’s mobile devices causes far too much of a performance impact to make the comparison valid.