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GFXBench 3.0: A Fresh Look At Mobile Benchmarking

High-Level Test Results: Manhattan

Manhattan is a complex OpenGL ES 3.0-based test that takes place in a city at night. Its graphics pipeline is based on deferred shading. The geometry pass employs multiple render targets (MRTS). Diffuse and specular lighting is calculated for more than 60 lights. And the test also features cube map reflection and emission, triplanar mapping, and instanced mesh rendering. There's even a cool Theora-based video playback system that leverages asynchronous texture streaming.

As you might have guessed, of GFXBench's components, this one is the most modern.

The Manhattan test uses a combination of traditional forward and more modern deferred rendering processes in separate passes, along with bloom and depth of field added in the post process pass. The rendering order is as follows:

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan Render Pipeline Diagram (Select To Enlarge)

It’s important to note that only some of our devices can run Manhattan due to its OpenGL ES 3.0 requirement, which means at least iOS 7 and Android 4.3.


Let’s see how our devices handle Manhattan at their respective native screen resolutions.

Apple's iPhone 5s easily walks away with the crown, turning in more than double the rendered frames as Google's Nexus 5. Clearly, its native sub-720p resolution is a huge advantage.

Of the Android-based devices, the Nexus 5 finishes in the lead with a substantial advantage over the larger Nexus 7. That's unsurprising, considering its Adreno 330 GPU tends to finish at the top of the charts. The 2013 Google Nexus 7 puts in a decent showing with a slower Adreno 320 implementation and a 1920x1200 native resolution. Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is the real disappointment, as its ARM Mali-T628MP6 GPU falls to last place. A native QHD resolution of 2560x1600 does the tablet no favors.


At a fixed resolution of 1920x1080 rendered off-screen, we get a better sense of each SoC's performance, separate of the device's display.

The order changes slightly, but Apple's iPhone still enjoys a substantial lead. The Nexus 5 takes second place once again as well, though it renders fewer frames than the previous test. That's strange since its target resolution is the same. Perhaps there is some overhead associated with rendering off-screen. Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1” 2014 Edition and Google's Nexus 7 swap places, with less than 10% separating them. Unfortunately, their performance is quite modest.