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Benchmark Shows iPad 2 GPU Thrashes Competition

A series of benchmarks carried out by hardware website Anandtech found that the GPU solution found in the iPad 2, the PowerVR SGX543MP2 designed by Imagination Technologies, is far faster than anything on the market.

Not only is the shader pipeline on the 543MP2 (opens in new tab) able to execute twice the number of instructions per clock, it has also four times as many pipes compared to the 535 which is found in the Apple iPad and the iPhone 4.

In other words, a dual core 543MP2 should, in theory be eight times faster than the 535 at equal clock speed and that's before any other efficiency improvements, all of which allows Apple to claim that the iPad 2 is nine times faster than the previous generation.

In practice though, the gap between the two generations is not as large as that partly due to the law of diminishing returns and possibly because developers themselves haven't been able to fully utilise the raw power of the 543MP2.

In a fragment lit triangle test for example, the latter generated 20 million triangles compared to four million for the iPad. The gap is just as important with competing products; the Motorola XOOM, which comes with the Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC reaches a mere 12fps on the GLBenchmark 2.0 Egypt test, compared to 44 fps for the iPad 2 (ed : note that the XOOM has a resolution 30 per cent higher than the iPad 2 and runs Android rather than iOS).

Anandtech says that a 5x performance should be expected in real life. In addition, image quality on the iPad 2, especially with higher resolution textures and anti-aliasing, is significantly better than the original iPad.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.