John Carmack: iPad 2 half as powerful as X360/PS3

The graphical power of tablets and mobile devices in general could be catching up to the current generation of standalone game consoles

As probably one of the most accomplished and candid game programmers, John Carmack recently made an interesting remark about the iPad 2 and the current generation of high-definition home consoles.

In an interview with Tom’s Hardware during QuakeCon 2011, the Doom Series creator commented that the iPad 2 “has about half the performance power [of the X360/PS3], and that’s a ballpark estimate.” The statement was a result of Carmack’s excitement for the advancing tablet hardware and how it is evolving so quickly.

It’s just amazing,” said Carmack. “I love the way we’ve gone from the original iPhone up to the iPad 2 and the power that we’ve got there.”

iD Software is currently working on its graphic-intensive iD Tech 5 engine, which will power the upcoming first-person shooter Rage for the PC, PS3 and X360. Carmack revealed that a version of Rage will make it to the iPad 2 and is so far supposedly running great with less optimization effort than what was required for consoles.

The iPad 2 runs on the 1GHz A5 SoC with a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU and a dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. For comparison, the upcoming Playstation Vita will use a quad-core version of the PowerVR GPU found in the iPad 2. Exactly what the iPad 3 will bring to the table is uncertain, but there is no doubt that its graphics power will be inching closer to that of home consoles.

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Allen Ngo, 2011-08-24 (Update: 2012-05-26)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.