Mar 08 AT 9:33 AM Anthony Domanico 66 Comments

NVIDIA to challenge Apple’s claims that the A5X bests Tegra 3 graphical performance

Tegra 3

Well, Apple certainly pissed off our friends at NVIDIA yesterday when they claimed the quad-core graphics in the A5X processor found in the new iPad offers 4 times the graphical prowess of the 12-core GPU in NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 platform. Since Apple failed to produce any benchmarking data on which they’re basing their claims, NVIDIA is taking matters into their own hands by purchasing an iPad when it goes on sale next Friday to put the two GPUs to the test.

Personally, I have a hard time believing that a 12-core GPU from the industry-leaders in graphics could be bested by a quad-core GPU. Perhaps Apple was simply sitting there running various benchmarks until they were able to find one or two that supported these lofty performance claims. Alas, we’ll have to wait and see what nVidia fires back at Apple, hopefully later this month.

We’ll be prodding our contacts at NVIDIA to share their information as soon as they have it finalized. Meanwhile, we’ll keep enjoying our Tegra 3 games, which match and sometimes surpass the quality of those found in current consoles.

The new iPad vs Tegra 3. Image courtesy of

Via: The Verge

Source: ZDNet

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    Let’s go nvidia, this is the competition we know and love. Push yourself nvidia!!!!!!

    • kazahani

      This is not competition. This is Apple putting out unsubstantiated bullshit because they know that their captive audience will believe whatever they say.

      I hate them.

    • spazby

      android tablets are consistently better in technical terms but the content is unfortunately better with ipad at this point. You will never see people switching from ipad to google unless that changes. Let’s face it, most people don’t care about faster processors, they care about what they can do with the tablet…

      • Bluevoodo

        No one is arguing that, there is no need for Apple to lie.

        • Phil

          Who knows if they really lie? Nobody so far…

          So let’s just wait real tests and benchmarks…

  • Moosa Mahsoom

    basically, the gpu on the apple a5x uses a unified shader architecture rather than discrete cores on tegra 3 and mali. the adreno also uses a unified shader architecture. unified architecture basically results in better graphics.

    • Brantyr

      You have no idea what you’re talking about. For one thing apple said clearly theirs is quad core and you simply can’t have a good graphics processor without splitting the workload into small pieces to be operated on in parallel.

    • Tes

      No. Unified architecture will sacrifice whether CPU or GPU because of their different requirements on memory bandwidth and memory response time

  • hinds

    Baseless claims are a crapple specialty that the isheep lap up! Nvidia will gives some hard facts with its test!

    • thekaz

      I agree. This isn’t the first time Apple has pulled this. They’ve learned from the politicians that you can make up whatever facts you want and people will believe it. Even if someone debunks it later, most of the “audience” is no longer paying attention and will continue to believe misinformation.

  • DJm25

    well apple is know for there poor gaming compatibility so these claims sound like a cloud of hot air from these so called world leaders in technology (apple)

    • Taylor Wimberly

      What are you talking about? Apple still has the best mobile games available.

      • Anthony Domanico

        What Taylor said.

      • Darkseider

        Soulcraft, Shadow Gun, Dungeon Defenders, SiegeCraft, Sprinkle, Shine Runner, Dark Meadow, Zenonia series, Monster Madness, Vendetta Online, HISTORY Great Battles, GTA III, etc… The list goes on and on.

    • Gr8Ray

      Kind of like how you’re known for your excellent capitalization, spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills?

  • ranwanimator

    I could maybe see that Apple’s could be faster from a software standpoint since they only have to write code for one device and can have it be super optimized. But from a raw number crunching standpoint 12 > 4.

  • redraider133

    I wonder if Nvidia proves these claims wrong if apple since they just said it would perform 4 times better, will wiggle their way out and say something like we meant this and not this.

  • R.S

    Since when have iSheep cared about actual facts or performance?

    If Apple tells it’s followers that the new iPad is the best, that’ll be enough for them to believe it’s the best. No amount of facts will change that.

  • Jorge Vieira

    Yeah while i was watching it, it did seen a little rediculous. Cant wait for the response

  • Richard Ashton

    *sigh* Yet another site that thinks more cores = better

    The dual core GPU in the iPad 2 more than matches and beats the Tegra 3 on average in Anandtech’s benchmarks, so it’s only reasonable for the GPU in the new iPad to be even better.

    The Tegra 3 is like the Tegra 2. First on the market, but utter crap when compared to it’s competition that comes out a tiny bit later (S4, Exynos, A5X).

    • eallan

      I wouldn’t say the Tegra 3 is crap like the Tegra 2. They learned a lot from the first one. However the iPad 2 (and 3) GPU’s are class leading. I don’t doubt Apple’s performance claims, and it’s sad to see you downvoted like mad for knowing what you’re talking about.

    • domi

      dumb iSheep… my galaxy note is already faster than an ipad2.. check facts / benchmarks

      • Richard Ashton

        I’m not an iSheep you tard (look Mum, I can call people names too!). Go Google Fysi Android or Richard Ashton Android, and you’ll see I’m a realist and more of a ‘fandroid’.

        Oh and seeing as you want to play the benchmark card:

        It looks like what I said in my first comment was correct. The only comparison I can find between the Note and the Prime is from : ‘the first benchmarks of the Transformer Prime came in. The tablet achieved 50.4 fps in NenaMark2. To put that number in context, the Samsung Galaxy Note, which has the same screen resolution and arguably the widely regarded as super powerful Mali-400MP GPUq achieved only 33.9 fps on the same benchmark.’

        I would’ve preferred for a more indepth comparison between the Prime and the Note so that it can be compared to the iPad 2 easier, but unfortunately the benchmarks are not easily available without digging.

        But anyway, I hope that you understand I don’t enjoy showing Android up but quite simply put the iPad 2/the new iPad GPUs are beasts.

        • android fanboy

          isheep isheep isheep. android is better than apple. it just is. i dont care what you say. android has the best of everything. i love android. android is so cool. android has better screens, hardware, interface, more apps, better apps, less malware, cost less, better resale value, better sales, more cpu = the best, more ram = the best, everything apple has was copied from android. i love android.. i wish i could marry android.. i want to have android’s kids. is it wrong that i make love to my android devices 3.5mm headphone jack? everyone that likes apple is dumb.

    • DivinusFiliuS

      How many times it was said before by developers and at Anandtech as well that this test was performed on an outdated platform, Honeycomb, which really isn’t optimized for the new chip – in the meantime apple used their time smartly, because they only have to optimize one device (two) and did just that, everything is at the proper maturity because they make their own soft and hard, makes sense.

      There are only two points I’d like to make;
      1. in regards to this whole claim that has fired up the web (if you google it :P)
      - Even Apple based their A5 vs Tegra3 victory on benchmarks performed on an OUTDATED PLATFORM Honeycomb which wasn’t optimized for Tegra3 quad-core nor the GPU inside it, and possibly outdated benchmarks on that same platform, for God’s sake look at the DATES on those articles; compared to super-optimized iOS5 to PowerVR.
      I know, its down and dirty, who said the big Corps aren’t?, they use slave labor overseas and smile in our face with glamour and pride of their accomplishments.

      2. nVidia’s spokesperson guy dude never challenged anyone! He simply responded and said that it was interesting and that it would be good to see the methods and software used – NOT that nVidia is challenging Apple (Imagination Tech) to a death duel !
      On the contrary, nVidia has always admired Apples success, and the CEO persistently praised Apple’s unique design congratulating them and encouraging other manuf. to follow their steps.

      My conclusion,…MY conclusion…..about what matters to me as end-user.
      You know, I NEED MY WIDGETS !
      I want all my %$#t I care about to be right in my face when i turn on that device, I want 3D interface, those juicy new 3D launchers and 3D widgets are a result of fast evolution compared to a …well, list of apps…now has drawers too ! iOS is optimized for what it does, but in real world, it is outdated, because it doesn’t LISTEN to the end-user and utilize their inspiration, it dictates its own, I never listened to no one in my life! I create my own mobile experience from scratch, thanks to the truly endless possibilities with Android. It can be a crude and overwhelming experience for an iUser though.
      I want those crazy daring experimental apps only possible legally in the Market made by some crazy kids, which we can always send feedback for improvements, you know, directly communicate with developers and express our ideas as an end-user – and then few days later, receive that update, and in essence create our own apps ! Man, I love the Android community, it is so tight and supportive.
      We really are creating a solid and long lasting foundation for the future, which isn’t based on market Fads but intelligent way of viewing and processing information – Android is a Linux child, the OS that runs the world!
      Good day, and freely hate me for making you read all this if you wish :P

      • steve lam

        oh wow, android not optimized for its hardware? what a big surprise!

        • DivinusFiliuS

          Well naturally because Android and various chip or SoC makers that it supports don’t release technologies at the same time ! Transformer Prime example, which was the actual device used in the infamous Anandtech benchmarks, the OS was preexisting when the actual hardware was released, and then the NEW hardware optimized ICS was released – so lets say if Nvidia and Asus waited for Google’s ICS and then released their hardware along with the OS that is now updated and capable of running the tech, the former two would have lost months of profit.
          So in real world there is no wait and everyone is in this race. Unless you make everything your business.
          Apple is software and hardware company, so they can easily coordinate and control both.
          Google sees this elephant in the livingroom and its evident by the sole existence of project Nexus.
          I just think they should become more agressive with hardware on the Nexus production line starting with Nexus Playtablet or whatever it will be named.
          ad for God sakes, already ditch Samsung, there’s way too much of it on the shelves all over, and just stick by its big Moto gunz! …and with an agressive team that is Nvidia.
          Here’s a benchmark result from me, don’t even need the hardware;

          Tegra3 = 4 x Cortex A9
          A5X = 2 x Cortex A9

          Tegra3 is twice as powerful.
          Now that 12core gpu….
          Prime should be ready for real tests.
          Can’t wait.

  • kwills88

    When I first saw this yesterday I was like “ooooo dem fighting words apple” I mean, how ridiculous is this? The fact that they continue to release the same products each year only with some minor tweaks then call it ground breaking irritates me so much because their followers will awe over it… I’ll be pulling for NVIDIA.

  • Glen

    Clearly someone missed how the iPad2 blew Tegra 2 out of the water last year. Check anandtech for reference. More cores != better performance. I will not believe any other claim of apple, but they have pretty much held ground to their claims in GPU performance. Apple is class-leading there. With the ipad 2 and even with the 4S. And now the 3rd gen iPad

    • DivinusFiliuS

      Well when ipad2s A5 was released, tegra2 was already a year and a half old!
      And im not defending nvidia, I just really admire their hard work and really they now have the best SoC.

  • Ban

    Sigh can we put a stop to this core thing once and for all? Tegra 3 doesn’t actually have 12 GPUs, just inside the one it has 12 “core”. Same with the mali being quad core, it wasn’t really.

    And I don’t see why this is so unbelievable, the GPU in the iPad 2 already did much better in open GL benchmarks. This is double that, so although apple might have exaggerated it will be much more powerful.

    And people should stop defending nVidia, they rush things to the market (single channel memory controller, lack of NEON in the 2) and are causing huge issues in fragmentation on the whole android platform. They are just as bad as apple when it comes to marketing and their business strategies.

  • mustybooks

    The graphics core in the a5x is better than in the tegra 3 if it is what it’s meant to be (the same as the ps vita, which runs at 950×540) but four times the quality is a shameful lie try more like 1.5x max and all that extra power is going to be eaten up coping with that screen.

    As for the ipad 2… 2x TP ahem… the ipad2 may have slightly beaten it in some benchmarks but in real life the transformer has much better graphics.

    Anyway all this is apples way of dirtying the competitions’ reputations. I doubt they believe it themselves. I also think we need to remember what the cpu cores are going to be like… same old a5 dual core?

  • spintrex

    This is going to be interesting…

  • RobBull75

    I don’t get a lot of negative NVIDIA comments on various forums. I have a Tegra 2 in both my phone and tablet (G2X and Xoom) and it performs flawlessly. I play a lot of graphic intensive games (Backstab, Nova2, Shadowgun,etc) and it neither device so much as stutters. I do have a beef with NVIDIA when it comes to its licensing dispute with LG, which has hindered ICS development, but not the performance of the processor/GPU.

  • http://None Javier Bastardo

    Oh dear Apple, you have no idea what you’ve done.

  • Ps3y3Ops

    I challenge you, sir(i), to a duel! *slaps face with white glove* Hah! I would love to see this actually happen!

  • Ps3y3Ops

    Seriously, though, even if there is a smackdown, the results, whatever they may be, will be cast aside in the public eye. Let’s be real…perception=reality to most end-users, anyway.

  • Nathan D.

    It a bit hard to see how 4 core gpu beats a 12 core gpu, unless those four core in the new ipad are monster like a15 but I really want to see some hard core facts like bench mark scores.

  • Louis A

    Yup, that’s exactly what I was asking myself. Where’s the proof???????!! This should be good!


    I really am interested to see what they find. Should be fun

  • itguy426

    I get such a big kick out of this. As it is said in the article Apple has not shown any proof. I don’t think they ever will show proof. I don’t think any one at apple is allowed to say Android let alone touch and Android unit or they will be fired. Now we all know as much as Apple hates to admit it that Android is very strong and setting the curve now. I would bet that either the execs have been playing with Android tablets or phones maybe it could be their customers writing in and saying that Android has this and that and you don’t have anything like it. If you look with every release of a phone or tablet comes some sort of new version of OS. With that new OS you see features that have been in Android whether it be a long time or not. Pretty sad that they cannot innovate their own ideas and give something new. That would be something smart and nice to see some real competition. Not this I will sue you to keep you from besting me or I will copy this to keep up with you.

  • MitchRapp81

    I LOLed like an idiot when I first heard that claim. Hilarious that Apple just throws random numbers out there like “FIVE TIMES FASTER YO” without actual benchmarks or testing.

    good work apple. I’m serious, they did the job right by throwing out random claims like that because apple fanboys have nothing to do but to listen to the word of the Apple Gods and behave as one.

  • Max.Steel

    I’m sorry but this is pointless. NO iSheep cares that there is a GPU out there that is better than theirs That’s if they even know what a GPU is. All they care is that they have their new iPad. If they find out that another tablet has better features than theirs, they will simply wait for Apple to include it in their next iPad.

  • NitroExpressNY

    Apple feeding their fanboys lies to sell their product enough said.

  • Taylor

    Simply put, I’m calling bullshit on Apple’s claim.

  • Manuel

    Why do people here keep saying that Apple is the world-class leader in GPU performance when the chip is from PowerVR and not Apple?

    Apple itself has on its website “we have the best screen in a mobile device” which is a joke because there’s many aspects to be considered in a screen (resolution, matrix, battery-savings, glaring, …), not to mention the screen is made by Sharp as far as I know. They go as far as saying “our engineers conjured this”.

    So yeah, while Apple misleads its customers with hyped advertising (which irks me profoundly) they are nonetheless market leaders. I guess they’ll just keep going at the game like this, which is why I have been clapping at Samsung latest Apple-mocking ads and soon to be announcement of the Galaxy Tab 11.6 which destroys iPad 3. A taste of their own medicine.

  • Oskar Wismierski

    Even if tegra 3 is worse, I simply cannot stand iOS and how apple rip people off..

  • Rovex

    I would imagine that in ONE aspect the A5x is 4x faster, but its selective benchmarking. Remember Sony claimed the PS3 was insanely fast, but actually it wasn’t, they used an algorithm that resulted in near 100% cache hits to claim it was the fastest thing ever, it was basically a lie and impossible to replicate in a real world environment.

    Nvidia also doesn’t just use standard OGL2.0, it loves custom extensions and custom pathways. As a result its normal performance in the benchmarks isnt so great, but real graphics performance is at least a match for anyone else, including Power VR.

  • sere83

    The thing is NvIdia typically released their chips at the start of a next generation chip cycle, will apple release a good few months later.

    Just because Android tablets use Nvidia chips does not mean you have to be a fan of them. Personally i though that Tegra2 was one of the worst dual core chips available with poor HD video decoding capabilities, bested by Qualcom, Samsung and a host of other manufactures. But perhaps that is the price they paid for being one of if not the first to market.

    Both companies have been come out with the usual marketing jargon, Nvidia making lofty 12 core claims, Apple talking smack about tegra 3 performance and deliberately smudging the fact the A5X chip is actually dual core and the GPU is quad core. To be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if the A5X beats Tegra 3 as IMO NVidia make some of the weaker SOCS on the market, also considering that Tegra 3 didn’t exactly trounce the last gen A5 the same way the A5 obliterated Tegra 2

    Pretty Surprising when you consider Nvidia are are graphics campany yet their GPU performance often gets whipped the likes of PowerVR and others.

    If I was buying a next gen droid tablet I know for sure I would be waiting to see what the likes of samsung and others have in the pipeline before jumping on a tegra 3 tab.

  • jamal adam

    I saw no evidence of the A5X being better than the Tegra 3. I hate it when companies put out things like that and don’t bother to support their claims with proof. It just makes me question their standards and their company as a whole.

  • aranea

    I hope Nvidia will make apple to publicly apologize for lying. :)

    • aranea

      Do we have an i-fan here? Who would give a -1 for stating something obvious?

  • dnar56

    Should I expect to see apple sue nvidia for challenging them?

  • Homncruse

    Two words:

    [citation needed]

  • ralphwiggum1

    Now we may have to wait to find out how this was “concluded”, but having owned a Tegra 2 device, it performed fine but the graphics weren’t mindblowing even when it came out. Maybe it could do one or two effects others couldn’t, but besides that, it was mediocre. With Tegra 3, I strongly believe nVidia added more cores and nothing else. More cores will result in quicker performance, and their GPU was likely updated with a few more effects, but overall, not much else going on.

    Couple with the fact the Apple’s iOS is closely tied (and optimized) to hardware and the way that apps run on IOS, and that Tegra 3 is running Android (and Windows 8) and how they run applications, maybe in real world use Apple’s right. But then again, Apple has had a winners in terms of processors from the Samsung designed A4 to in-house A5 and A5X because they are better and more capable than what others (except for Samsung’s Hummingbird vs A4) are using at the time.

    Apple’s A5X GPU is powerful and highly optimized to the device, and sadly, nVidia is a vendor who’s products run a third-party OS all put together by yet another party. Though they’re likely the best processor available (for this short while) on Android, their graphics processing doesn’t seem to be amazing and may actually lag behind Apple’s choice.

    And on another note, besides 3D graphics, it’s very irritating that these SoC on Android support secondary displays and other media capabilities, but the manufacturers hardly take advantage of them and neither does Android. At the same time, you have Apple who, even on their, single-core A4 would allow content to be pushed to external screens using a relatively inexpensive box (which has it’s own great feature set) or adapter, and then adding wired and wireless mirroring and secondary display capabilities that developers can use to enhance their applications.

    The processors in these devices can do so much more than the Android manufacturers and Google allows to be done. So disappointing guys, get your stuff together.

    • ralphwiggum1

      To add to SoC and media capabilities, it is good to see Android actually able to hardware decode other video formats while Apple seems to restrict them. I believe even with other apps, video decoding of XviD and WMV (and others) is all software though it probably doesn’t have to be.

  • Pritpal

    Interesting to see that Apple is trying to follow the trend of fast and good looking devices rather than innovating devices…

  • Matt Yearian

    Doesn’t really bother me that much. As long as the UI is rendered flawlessly with no slow down I am happy on a tablet. I have yet to find a graphically intense touch based game thats really worth my time.

  • WlfHart

    I’m looking forward to Friday.

  • Joel Bird

    I agree with this story, but keep in mind that more cores does not necessarily translate to better performance than a device with less cores. Either way, the new iPad’s graphical power will be hindered by its resolution.

  • Daniel Allen
  • fc1032

    That sounded real fake when they just pulled the numbers 2 and 4 out of nowhere…

    But then again, it probably the software optimisations… XD Who knows maybe they ran the comparisons with a Tegra on cupcake… with a 4k display and very little ram.

  • Jon

    Isn’t the Tegra 3 only a 1 core GPU? If so, I think the slide from Apple is saying that their A5 had 2 GPU cores, and the A5X has 4 GPU cores. Then they are saying that that means 4x the performance which is complete BS. Number of Cores does not equal Number of Times the Performance.

    The A5X has two CPU cores and 4 GPU cores:

    So, the slide is nothing more than misdirection. People believe the new iPad is a quad core now, when it’s not. Apple and their infinite spin and fodder. That kind of deception should be banned — truth in advertising?

  • Daniel

    Jon, the Tegra 3 has 4 CPU core, and 1 low voltage CPU. In addition to a GPU with 12 cores.

    Good article really, I had a feeling that the 4x was simply multiplying 2x faster than the Tegra 3 vs iPad2. Then again, people don’t seem to remember how a resolution of 2048×1536 will not double, but quadruple the rending time. So all in all, the quad-GPU may only keep the Ipad3 at par with ipad2.

    BTW what did you think of my video? I made that.

  • Jeffrey P Bacot

    First… more cores is not always better – software matters & how well the cores work together matters. I am sure that Apple probably used a T3 running on honeycomb and want to see what the results are on the ICS platform. I am not sure I would trust Nvidia’s results and want a few 3rd hopefully neutral parties to do a test.

    Now for the part I am sure I will get fanboy’d for:

    How many tablets existed with a native ICS system available on the market a month or two ago when Apple was doing their test – a couple or just one. As an owner of a HTC Glacier I am pissed that even though I have a phone more than capable of running ICS but will I ever get it…. NO. I have to root it and then install a mod which as of today – NONE exist that allow me to keep ALL my functionality. I would loose things like GPS, camera, wifi hotspot to name a few that I use EVERY DAY. Apple at least gives all their devices updates.

    I ordered my iPad 3 – 64 4G ATT. The only thing they did not do I wanted was full Siri. The dictation feature was enough for me. The only thing I really want Siri to do for me besides typing was to set reminders/appointments. I am in sales and the display will make it worth the upgrade – only $250 after I sold my iPad 2 today. As much as I used my iPad 2 over the past 365 days (thanks to one extra day from a leap year) was worth it.