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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  • nicolapeluchetti - Sunday, November 9, 2014 - link

    I have a Kontrol S2 to play sound obviously :D
  • akdj - Thursday, November 27, 2014 - link

    Yes and plenty more options coming as they've released for 2015 the protocol
    The camera connect kit is a Lightining to USB standard 6" $20 peripheral. Good to go
  • akdj - Monday, November 10, 2014 - link

    Plenty of options exist both with 30pin-out and lightning to send digital audio to an external DAC. Most systems are employing other storage methods (lossless, FLAC, WAV, et al) including thumb drives, externals and wireless transfers.
    It's changed (DJ'ing) a tremendous amount in a ¼ decade ;)
    It's crazy to me, even with USB2, zero latency mixing digital music with an external DAC talking to an analog board with an analog output ...all in 'real time' and literally ZERO latency
    It's awesome
  • darwinosx - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    Hah, good luck with that. Seriously. You'll need it.
  • sprockkets - Saturday, November 8, 2014 - link

    Seriously, go fuck yourself appletard.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - link

    Look who's mad
  • Flunk - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    That's because you're a technical person. Android aims these things at people who want the simplest interface, less options and a holistic management approach. Android is much more flexible and that's why almost all technical people prefer Android.

    I've got a Nexus 10 and a Nexus 5.
  • Mayuyu - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    After I problem solve all day at work, I just want to unwind and use my tablet without messing with it.
  • Midwayman - Friday, November 7, 2014 - link

    I'm with you here. I really like the flexibility of android, but I get tired of always having to do something to make it work. I feel like any android device I get is about 90% finished and Its up to me to hit XDA and do the rest of the work.
  • blacks329 - Saturday, November 8, 2014 - link

    Both of these statements sound very reminiscent of my own sentiments I had towards Windows back in the day.

    Android is fantastically flexible, but at the end of the day, I don't want to think about dealing with it after work.

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