Apple iPad Air 2 bests NVIDIA Shield tablet, Google Nexus 9 in benchmarks

Apple iPad Air 2 bests NVIDIA Shield tablet, Google Nexus 9 in benchmarks

At the iPad keynote last week, Apple said the spanking new iPad Air 2 was capable of console-quality graphics, and ultimately a bit of a gaming beast.

That notion is given credence by spanking new benchmark results that see the iPad Air 2 giving the former champion a run for his money, namely the NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

We’re looking at GFX Benchmark results (via GSMArena) for graphical performance, a category formerly dominated by the NVIDIA Shield Tablet and the Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9, both of which are powered by the Tegra K1 processor.

Measuring raw GPU power, the iPad Air 2 actually bests the NVIDIA Shield Tablet and Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9 in 1080p offscreen tests, and isn’t far off the top in onscreen results (the iPad Air 2 scores slightly lower than the Shield since it has a higher resolution).

Further test results – from Geekbench, relayed by Apple Insider – suggest the Apple A8X processor puts pretty much every other tablet to shame, in both single- and multi-core performance.

The 64-bit Tegra K1-fuelled Google Nexus 9 unsurprisingly improves upon the 32-bit Tegra K1-powered NVIDIA Shield tablet, but it’s still some way behind the iPad Air 2 in multi-core performance.

Of course, this stuff is largely the domain of the mega-geek. Give us some real-word side-by-side comparisons any day of the week. But in any case, it looks like the iPad Air 2 is indeed a bit of a beast.

Read more about: iOS

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8 comments

rrrrrrrrrrg  Oct. 23, 2014 at 12:56

More like a bloated pig!

JanSt / MOD  Oct. 23, 2014 at 17:47

More like a bloated pig!
Oh, gee...

toastymc88  Oct. 25, 2014 at 11:20

Why even compare these? One is £240 the other is £400... of course its going to be better!!! The Shield still kicks ass for price/quality though unlike the apple which is as normal overpriced :p

ttjkhg  Oct. 26, 2014 at 13:53

Actually the Nexus 9 (Tegra K1 Dual core Denver) beats Apples iPad Air 2 (A8X triple core) on single thread (Geekbench3) performance and on graphics benchmarks ( the A8X processor seems to post quite weak 3DMark Graphics, 3DMark Physics, 3DMark IceStorm scores) performance - the two most important parameters for a tablet. The single core performance determines responsiveness and speed on most tablet app and user interface code, and 3D graphics is the big future area of app growth and usage in tablets. Basically it looks like Apple has cherry picked the benchmarks that show it in a good light for release.

What is more, the Tegra K1 Denver chip does this on cheap last Gen 28nm planar process with fewer transistors, whereas Apple achieved it by using the latest 20nm FinFET process which should be twice as fast, but still required an extra core to achieve it. nVidia has used innovative architectural design to deliver much higher performance per core, whereas Apple has just taken an older design and added more cores and more transistors.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-ipad-air-2-vs-nexus-9-spec-analysis
Imagine what will happen when nVidia introduces 14nm/16nm FinFET versions of the Denver chip in mid 2015 - it isn't just going to be tablets and smartphones, there is going to be a viable competitor for 14nm Intel Core M for desktop class devices.

As it is, while the overall philosophy for fewer but faster CPU cores is similar between the 64-bit Tegra K1 and Apple's A8X, actual execution is very different. Nvidia's approach is to go for raw processing speed - the Denver core is clocked at 2.5GHz. The A8X CPU cores run at relatively modest speeds - 1.5GHz, to be precise. Apple's approach is to physically dedicate more transistors to the CPU, as opposed to clocking the cores higher, with even more CPU area taken up by the third core.

That leads us on to a crucial technological difference between the processors in the Nexus 9 and iPad Air 2 - the fabrication technology. We strongly suspect both chips are manufactured by the same company, TMSC, but Tegra K1 is a 28nm chip, while the A8X is using a next-gen 20nm process. This gives Apple the luxury of cramming more transistors into the same area of silicon - indeed, theoretically, we're looking at anything up to 2x as many. Apple has said that the A8 found in the iPhone 6 is a two-billion transistor chip, while the A8X ups that by 50 per cent. To put it into perspective, the Intel Core i7-4790K - pretty much the best quad-core desktop CPU you can buy right now, fabricated at 22nm - features just 1.4 billion transistors. Tegra K1's transistor count is unknown, but it's likely to be a lot less, so the notion that it is competitive with the A8X at all is quite remarkable.

jangor  Oct. 26, 2014 at 19:18

Why even compare these? One is £240 the other is £400... of course its going to be better!!! The Shield still kicks ass for price/quality though unlike the apple which is as normal overpriced :p

Cool story bro. Let me know when the Shield runs ios. People buy Apple products because they prefer the OS. Deal with it

JanSt / MOD  Oct. 27, 2014 at 14:08

Why even compare these? One is £240 the other is £400... of course its going to be better!!! The Shield still kicks ass for price/quality though unlike the apple which is as normal overpriced :p

Cool story bro. Let me know when the Shield runs ios. People buy Apple products because they prefer the OS. Deal with it


Hahaha...

kinda right.
We could also make a list of Android devices that are more expensive than the Moto G without
being any better AT ALL.

bloggery  Nov. 23, 2014 at 04:22

Why even compare these? One is £240 the other is £400... of course its going to be better!!! The Shield still kicks ass for price/quality though unlike the apple which is as normal overpriced :p

Cool story bro. Let me know when the Shield runs ios. People buy Apple products because they prefer the OS. Deal with it


I have both. Prefer android.

JanSt / MOD  Nov. 23, 2014 at 13:53

Why even compare these? One is £240 the other is £400... of course its going to be better!!! The Shield still kicks ass for price/quality though unlike the apple which is as normal overpriced :p

Cool story bro. Let me know when the Shield runs ios. People buy Apple products because they prefer the OS. Deal with it


I have both. Prefer android.

Good for you :D
But that is not the point. It never is :p

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