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Early iPad 2 GPU benchmarks show impressive results

Graphics capabilities of the 2nd gen iPad found to be superior to the Motorola Xoom in terms of raw performance.

The folks over at AnandTech have run some preliminary performance tests on the iPad 2, specifically on its PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU by Imagination Technologies, and compared it to what the original iPad and Motorola Xoom have to offer. In short, Motorola isn’t going to be very pleased with the results.

GLBenchmark 2.0 was the program of choice in order to test the OpenGL API performance of the three tablets in question. Various graphical properties such as texture, lighting, shadows, and anti-aliasing were put to the test on each one. In all cases, the iPad 2 outperformed the Xoom by a surprising margin, over 3 times in some cases. It is important to note, however, that the Xoom runs at a higher screen resolution at 1280x800 compared to the 1024x768 resolution of the iPad 2, so the graphics workload on the Xoom can be more demanding due to the higher pixel count.

The difference in raw graphics power, at least according to these benchmark tests, is fairly shocking given the pricing structure of the two tablets. For as low as $500, the iPad 2 will give the Xoom some serious competition if buyers are looking for a tablet with superior graphics capabilities. Fortunately, these raw tests do not necessarily indicate better and smoother performance across the board on the iPad 2. Apps that are optimized for the Android OS and the Tegra 2 APU may still show good performance on the Motorola Xoom.

The graphics power of the Xoom is provided by Nvidia’s dual-core Tegra 250 APU running at 1GHz. The Tegra 2 platform is also be found in some recent tablets, such as the Acer Iconia Tab A500 and upcoming Asus Eee Pad Transformer. Hopefully, these tablets will have improved performance to better match the graphics power of Apple’s latest tablet offering.

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Allen Ngo, 2011-03-13 (Update: 2012-05-26)