With mobile gaming giving consoles a run for their money, visuals need to look sharp and crisp. And this requires backing of a strong SOC with a powerful enough GPU onboard. With several SOC manufacturers in the market, the competition is stronger than the PC market where only two players are present.
A few benchmark test should however clear the things as to where these GPUs stand against each other. We’re only considering GFXBench scores in our test since the results are mostly consistent with other benchmarking tools out there. First, the best stuff from last year.
The new A7 chip on the iPad Air and the iPhone 5s beats everything else in the benchmarks, including the Adreno 330 GPU, making Apple again the most powerful gaming platform. Qualcomm still is second in the game with the Adreno 330 GPU on the Snapdragon 800 SoC. The Mali-628 on the Galaxy Note 3 comes in third, while the older SGX 544 and 543 on the Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5c are no longer the leaders of the game.
There’s quite a difference in the results of the two tests. While the older GFX Bench 2.5 shows that the Adreno 320 on Snapdragon 600 is clearly ahead of its Snapdragon S4 Pro version, in the newer test, things are the other way around. But the ambiguity is only with the Galaxy S4, whereas HTC One is clearly ahead of Xperia Z and Nexus 4 in both the tests. Also, updated scores for Galaxy S4 with SGX544 show a decline in points scored in both the tests, while HTC One benefits from the Android 4.2.2 update it received recently.
After the Adreno 330, the next spot is held by the SGX554 found on iPad 4, while Adreno 320 follows next. While both Snapdragon S4 Pro and Snapdragon 600 pack the same GPU, the one on Snapdragon 600 is slightly faster. SGX544 follows behind Adreno 320 according to the updated scores.
Next in line would be Mali T604 found on Nexus 10. We’ve yet to see this GPU on any other device. Once you move past these GPUs, you’ll notice the performance according to these benchmarks degrades considerably. The numbers posted by other GPUs are nowhere close to the ones posted by the GPUs we mentioned above. Here are some further results just to prove that.
GL Benchmark 2.1 Pro Offscreen 720p
GL Benchmark 2.1 Egypt Offscreen 720p
If you look at these charts, you’ll find that after moving past Adreno 320, Mali 400MP on Galaxy S III and SGX 543MP3 are the forces to recon with. The SGX 543MP4 is another tablet exclusive which can be found in the iPad 3 and has performance similar to that of SGX 543MP3 on the iPhone 5. Moving on, we find Adreno 305 and 225 next in line. While the old tests shows Adreno 225 as being more powerful than Adreno 305, the new tests state otherwise and we’re sticking with that.
The Mali 400MP on the Galaxy S III is no slacker either, with performance close to the levels of Adreno 225 again. After that SGX 543MP2 and Mali 400 on the Galaxy SII take their turn. It is noteworthy to mention that a lot of people confuse the Mali 400 on Galaxy S II being the same as the one found in S III. Well, that’s definitely not the case and the GPU can be configured in a number of ways with multiple cores. Obviously, the Mali 400 on S III has more cores than the one on Galaxy S II.
In the Adreno territory, Adreno 220 is the next in line after Adreno 225 and is followed by Adreno 203 and Adreno 205 respectively. You won’t find Adreno 205 in any new phones, as Snapdragon S2 seems to have been discontinued by Qualcomm. If compared to SGX 540 and SGX 535, Adreno 203 seems to deliver better performance than both the GPUs.
Now if that’s settled, you can also check this post to compare the CPUs in present day smartphones.