A5 Vs. A5X Vs. Tegra 3: Thoroughly Benchmarked, The Winner Is Rather Surprising

Phil Schiller made sure to mention the A5X processor found in the new iPad performed 4x better than NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chip. With a quad-core GPU, the new chip was also said to boast twice the graphics output compared with the iPad 2.

Although NVIDIA – along with some experts – were naturally skeptical, benchmarks taken just after the device was released to the public seemed to confirm Schiller’s claims weren’t unfounded, with the A5X outperforming a Transformer Prime running Tegra 3 in most of the key test.


IGN has provided further data, though, which actually pitches the iPad 2′s A5 chip as the a superior performer than both the A5X and Tegra 3. Of course, pound for pound, the A5X is a better chip, but finds itself sapped by powering the new iPad’s much-lauded Retina display. Indeed, the only time the A5X really gets an opportunity to shine and exercise its superiority over the iPad 2 and Tegra 3 is in "off-screen" benchmarks, whereby the chip isn’t obliged to power the Retina display.

IGN ran three tests in total: GeekBench for raw CPU power, GLBenchmark 2.1 Egypt, and GLBenchmark 2.1 Pro for graphics. In addition, those  "off-screen" GLBenchmark tests allowed the A5X to be tested minus the Retina display.




In terms of raw CPU power, an ASUS Transformer Prime and Galaxy Tab 10.1 powered by a Tegra 3 fared better in GeekBench tests than both the iPad 2 and new iPad.

Unsurprisingly, the Tegra 3’s quad-core configuration massively outperformed dual-core A5X, with GeekBench scores of 1540 and 750 respectively, IGN reported.



That said, it’s key to remember that Schiller’s 4x performance boast relates to the A5X chip’s quad-core graphics. In the GLBenchmark graphics tests, the iPad 2 scored higher than the third-gen iPad in both tests, although both topped the Android tablets.

In the off-screen tests, the A5X produced 15,412 frames at a rate of 138 FPS, compared to 10,143 frames at 90 FPS for the iPad 2. As you may expect, the A5X trounced the Tegra 3 when not powering the Retina display, although results did suggest Schiller’s 4X claims were a little exaggerated.

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