iPad 2 Graphics Engine – Full Benchmark Tests

Over the last couple of days, most of our benchmark tests were focused on the iPad 2 processor, to see how much additional performance the new Apple A5 was able to offer over its predecessor. Our tests showed a performance gain of at least 35 percent, and up to 65 percent, depending on the test. This new batch of tests is focused on the new graphics engine that comes with the iPad 2, the PowerVR SGX543MP2. During the iPad 2 announcement keynote last week, Steve Jobs promised a performance increase of up to nine times, so we decided to double-check his claims. Hardware
  • First generation iPad, restored to iOS 4.3 (build 8F190) – Apple A4 / SGX535 GPU
  • Second generation iPad, restored to iOS 4.3 (build 8F191) – Apple A5 / SGX543MP2 GPU
Note that the new SGX543MP2 offers four times as many shader pipelines as its predecessor, and each pipe runs about twice as fast. The chip also comes with improved hidden surface removal and texture filtering engines. Tests GLBenchmark is designd to measure both graphics engine and CPU capabilities of the iPad. The majority of the tests focus on graphic resources, measuring the quality and performance of the underlying OpenGL ES 1.x implementation. The benchmark, among other features, contains high-level 3D animations and low-level graphic measurements. Results We recorded graphics performance improvements of up to 600 percent, and overall, the performance gain is about 500 percent – about 5 times faster than the original iPad. Also note that for some tests, the iPad 2 offered such a high performance gain that GLBenchmark wasn’t able to record it properly (these tests were dismissed).

As for real-life results, the GLBenchmark Pro test feels a lot more fluid, smoother and quicker on the iPad 2 – see video below for direct comparison between iPad 1 and iPad 2.

Left: First generation iPad – Right: iPad 2

After thoughts When it comes to graphics performance, the iPad 2 is a screamer. If you happen to be a gamer, expect a slew of new games to come to the iPad 2 very soon, with better 3D performance, and dramatically improved graphics.