Dec 21 AT 7:33 PM Taylor Wimberly 44 Comments

Nexus S GPU benchmarks, significant improvements over Nexus One

Do smartphone benchmarks even matter? A lot of people would say “Nope” and I would agree with some, but we still like to run them every time a new version of Android is released or when a new processor hits the market. This last week Google launched the Nexus S with Android 2.3, so we ran it through some GPU benchmarks to see how it stacked up. Results are after the jump.

GLBenchmark 2.0

After several months in testing, GLBenchmark 2.0 is finally available for anyone to download. This benchmark suite contains over 30 tests to measure OpenGL ES 2.0 performance. We ran the Egypt and PRO tests (no FSAA) and the results were about what we expected.

The Nexus S offers the same performance as the Epic 4G (Galaxy S) because they are both based off the same Samsung Hummingbird processor, which features the PowerVR SGX540 GPU.

Note the huge performance increase of the Galaxy S phones over the original Nexus One. The first-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon found in the Nexus One is beginning to show its age and we have found that its Adreno 200 GPU is not able to keep up with most of the newer 3D games.


Next we ran An3DBench which is freely available in the Android Market. It runs a series of seven tests (from fill rate to complex scenes), then spits out a composite score at the end. The Nexus S came out on top, just in front of the Epic 4G.

3D Mark Mobile

We have tried 3DMarkMobile produced by Rightware in the past, but they just sent us a new build so we thought we should check it out. The scores we got this time were a lot different from last time and I’m not sure how reliable it is. The 3DMarkMobile benchmark is not publicly available, so I’m not sure if we will continue to keep using it.

This time the G2 with its 800 MHz second-gen Snapdragon and Adreno 205 GPU came out on top in the Taijii test and it was competitive in the Hoverjet test. The G2 normally falls behind the Galaxy S phones in other benchmarks, so I have no idea why it performs well in this one test.

For some reason the Nexus S actually scored lower than the Epic 4G, so you can see why I am hesitant to trust this benchmark yet.


When it comes to 3D games, I have not noticed any real difference in performance between the Nexus S and other Galaxy S phones. The PowerVR SGX540 is still the fastest GPU we have tested and it will continue to hold that belt until early next year when the first multi-core processors arrive.

If you go grab the GLBenchmark 2.0, please share your results for the Egypt and Pro tests (no FSAA) in the comments below.

Via: GLBenchmark

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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