GPU Performance

On the GPU side of things the iPad Air 2 seems to have a GX6650, which should provide a healthy boost to GPU performance when compared to the GX6450 in the A8. Apple has placed a strong emphasis on gaming for their iPad line, so there are some obvious comparisons to be made between NVIDIA's Tegra K1 and the A8X as well. To test this, we use a suite of benchmarks that can give a good idea of real world gaming performance.

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Overall

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Graphics

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Physics

BaseMark X 1.1 - Overall (High Quality)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

In practice, while we see that the A8X's GPU is extremely close to Nvidia's single Kepler SMX across the board, with the sole exception of 3DMark which seems to be due to the dependencies present in the physics test that dramatically lower the overall score. NVIDIA's Tegra K1 seemed incredible for its GPU performance earlier this year, so it's just as surprising to see Apple successfully rival NVIDIA in this area. Of course, GPU performance is a function of both peak performance and sustained performance, so we'll have to look at the GFXBench battery rundown test to get the full picture here. If Apple can deliver far superior performance and battery life in such a situation, it's pretty clear that the jump to 20nm will be critical to pushing the limits on what's possible in a mobile device.

NAND Performance

As we've seen before on some tablets, poor storage performance can cause major issues with the overall experience as I/O pauses can far exceed just a few frame drops that one might expect from cases of UI lag induced by insufficient performance elsewhere. In order to attempt to quantify this performance we use a custom utility developed by Eric Patno. While such testing is far from a complete look at performance, this can give a rough idea of what to expect.

Internal NAND - Sequential Read

Internal NAND - Sequential Write

Internal NAND - Random Read

Internal NAND - Random Write

Overall, it seems that Apple does quite well on the storage tests. It seems that the iPad Air 2 shares its storage solution with the iPhone 6. While I don't have an iPad Air on hand for testing, it should match quite closely to the iPhone 5s. This represents a generally high-quality NAND solution, but as mentioned before random I/O could stand to improve a bit. Compared to most of the lower-cost Android tablets it's definitely as good as it gets though.

CPU Performance Battery Life and Charge Time
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  • cygnus1 - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

  • tralalalalalala40 - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    Ya, your choices will be very limited with the nexus 9. The iPad is supported by every case maker/screen protector maker, so the infrastructure around it just blows the competition away.
  • Desusenam - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    I really like the covers they advertise, I just want to buy one of those...
  • NEDM64 - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - link

    But on the nexus 9 you can't plug it to a pic and just use it as an external hard drive...

  • vFunct - Saturday, November 8, 2014 - link

    Yah, but then you'd be stuck with an Android device, instead of an iOS device.

    Most people would much rather have iOS, because the apps are so much better than in Android.

    Android apps are terrible, if they even exist at all.
  • asendra - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    I feel the same way.

    About Android.
  • nicolapeluchetti - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    I agree that iOs is not perfect and i don't actually like it, but unfortunately some apps are only on it. In my case it's DJ software. I'd love to save money and buy an android tablet, i'll do is soon as Traktor is released for Android.
  • Guspaz - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    As a DJ, you'd care about the quality of the DACs used in the tablet, which would probably rule out cheaper Android tablets anyhow.
  • Impulses - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    I doubt a DJ worth his salt would utilize the DAC and headphone stage within a tablet, in Android's case they'd employ USB OTG and a higher quality external DAC/amp/etc... The same thing can be accomplished with an iPad no?
  • p_giguere1 - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    Yup, Traktor sell their own line of iOS hardware with integrated DACs. See for instance:

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