It seems as though everyone is trying to preempt build excitement before MWC 2012 with their next-generation SoC related news. We've previewed Qualcomm's Krait performance on an MDP MSM8960, and now compared it to Nvidia's Tegra 3. Not to be left out of the fray, TI has just posted a video comparing a tablet running one of its OMAP 5 SoCs at 800 MHz (probably an OMAP5430) versus an unnamed quad core Cortex A9 based device. As a reminder, OMAP 5 is designed for a 28nm process and consists of two ARM Cortex A15s and two Cortex M4s alongside SGX544 MP2 graphics.

The video shows the two tablets downloading videos, playing an MP3, and running through 20 pages of EEMBC's BrowsingBench, a test we've had in our hands for a while now and will be adding to our own 2012 smartphone/tablet benchmarking suite. The unnamed quad core Cortex A9 tablet is indubitably a Transformer Prime, and the 1.3 GHz SoC itself is almost indubitably Nvidia's Tegra 3. 

Both tablets appear to be using the Android 4.0 ICS stock browser to load pages, as evidenced by the action bar and buttons. The OMAP 5 tablet finishes the 20 pages in 95 seconds compared to the quad core A9's 201 seconds. We saw OMAP 5 on a development platform at CES, and clearly TI's feeling good enough about its OMAP 5 ICS port to demonstrate performance. The timing for devices with OMAP 5 inside hasn't changed, with devices expected early 2013 and possibly late 2012.

Source: YouTube (TI Vlog) via CNXSoft

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  • douglaswilliams - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    "Javascript performance can be multithreaded at times but most of the benchmarks we run don't scale incredibly well beyond two cores. Making matters worse is the fact that SunSpider performance regressed on the Eee Pad Transformer with the latest update to ICS. I've included the old Honeycomb results as a reference for where things should be. Keep in mind that the Honeycomb browser on the Eee Pad Transformer was very heavily optimized for Tegra 3. It's possible that the same degree of optimizations just aren't present in the ICS version yet."

    This was taken from the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (Krait) Preview Part II article. I wonder how much closer the comparison would have been had the browser in Honeycomb been used.

    I don't know if this it totally applicable though because I don't know if BrowsingBench uses Java or if any of the pages loaded had Java content.

    Can someone comment on this to help me understand/learn more?
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    This is the browser in ICS though which is an evolution of the browser in Honeycomb, and ends up using an improved version of V8/Webkit.

    Actually going forward the most threaded browsing experience will be Chrome on Android, which from the testing I've done before is very nicely multithreaded.

    EEMBC BrowsingBench isn't a JavaScript test like Sunspider/Browsermark, just straight loading pages, timing, and making sure they're loaded fully/compliant.

  • gamoniac - Friday, February 24, 2012 - link

    The browsers are multi-threaded but javascript does not support multi-threading until HTML 5's web worker feature. All javascript snippets on a pre-HTML 5 page run in one thread, although the browser could load images/files with multi threads. I doubt these benchmarking tools run in HTML 5, do they?
  • watersb - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    JavaScript is not Java. SunSpider doesn't measure Java performance.

    I couldn't tell from your comment if you were asking about Java as a separate from JavaScript or conflating two.

    I'm typing this on an iPad: Safari on the iPad tablet doesn't support Java at all, right? And while Android native apps are written in Java, they are compiled to a not-quite-Java binary. I don't think the Android WebKit browser supports Java, either.

    So: Javascript performance is one of the things being tested in this demo. But not Java.
  • MantasPakenas - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    Has anyone else noticed that it's actually Honeycomb being used on the TI platform? (back and home buttons give it away). Given that much more development time has been put into optimizing Honeycomb and it's browser (as witnessed by worsened JS performance on Transformer Prime's 4.0.3 browser), could it be on purpose that TI didn't do an apples to apples comparison?

    I wonder what the result would be if Chrome Beta was used and both platforms were running ICS. On my Transformer Prime, Chrome Beta scores way better than stock browser did on Honeycomb (unfortunately, there's no way to compare Chrome on Honeycomb), and it's a better threaded browser.

    So this video is suspicious already. Add the fact that there's no way to tell if Tegra3 is not running PowerSaver mode, which would immensely cripple performance in the scenario being benchmarked, and it's hard to take the video seriously.

    That said, I hope OMAP5 performance will blow Tegra3 out of the water, progress FTW! :)
  • JMC2000 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    The weird thing is that the TF Prime actually loaded the pages faster than the OMAP5432 device, but was hobbled by horribly slow page transitions.

    The Prime loaded page one faster, fell behind on page 2, then somehow caught up by page 10.
  • hechacker1 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    It looked like it was getting hung up on networking performance. If you notice, they are both running off a cached local IP server.

    So maybe it's CPU starved to process packet information in time. Or TI's networking is just better.
  • jjj - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    Got to wonder what kind of storage and connectivity TI is using to get such results.
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    EEMBC BrowsingBench works over local network, and you can actually see in the video that they're loading pages over a 192.168.1.x subnet. For example, right here:

    No doubt they're using TI WiLink on their own reference design, and the Transformer Prime is some other similar single spatial stream 802.11n.

  • dagamer34 - Thursday, February 23, 2012 - link

    I would hope TI's platform beats nVidia's, at best it comes out at the end of the year!!!

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