During the launch of the new iPad, Apple's Phil Schiller, senior VP of worldwide marketing, displayed a graph that made the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 look like a pokey old man next to the Apple A5 chip and a towering A5X chip. In graphics performance alone, the A5X is reportedly 4x times faster than Tegra 3 -- even the A5 is twice as fast, according to Apple.
Of course, Schiller didn't provide any hard facts like benchmarks and footnotes -- he merely spouted a generalized "we're better" presentation and a pretty graph (lol at shadows). Naturally most of us -- including Nvidia -- questions those claims. As ZDNet muses, "any [benchmark] chart has more footnotes than a commercial for antidepressants."
Ken Brown, a spokesman for Nvidia, said the company was actually flattered to be called out by Apple. But as most have already agreed, the claims are "sketchy" without additional hard evidence.
"We don’t have the benchmark information," said Brown. "We have to understand what the application was that was used. Was it one or a variety of applications? What drivers were used? There are so many issues to get into with benchmark."
"At some point it will become more clear what the performance really is," he added, indicating that Nvidia plans to get its hands on an iPad 3 when it becomes available on March 16 to perform its own benchmarks. "For now, Apple has a really generic statement."
Nvidia will undoubtedly provide a different, more detailed set of results. Even more, there's speculation that Apple was trying to divert attention away from the fact that its A5X chip is only dual-core, whereas the Tegra 3 is "4-Plus-1." So like Nvidia, we want to see how Apple came up with the 4x performance claim.
"It's nice to hear Apple compare themselves to Tegra 3," Nvidia told Tom's in a statement. "It truly underscores the importance of graphics, which is what we've been saying all along."
In the meantime, Asus has come out to bat for the Tegra 3, jumping on Twitter and stating, "New Apple #ipadhd to have a quad-core GPU. Darn! The ASUS Transformer's GPU is only 12-cores..."