Mobile GPU performance comparison

Google can deny it all day long but the fact is that the Android ecosystem is suffering from hardware fragmentation and things aren’t looking like they are going to get better any time soon. One of the main hardware difference between Android devices is he GPU which is part of the SoC (System On a Chip / Chipset) powering the handset. There’s currently three big players in the market today: Qualcomm’s SnapDragon SoC with the Adreno 200 GPU, TI OMAP 3XXX with the Power VR SGX 530/535 and finally Samsung’s Hummingbird (S5PC110A01) with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU all three of them feature a CortexA8 CPU core. Android and Me wrapped up a couple of benchmarks comparing them and the final verdict is clear as bottled water. Samsung’s Hummingbird is heads and shoulder above the competition thanks to the SGX540 GPU, followed by TI’s and Qualcomm’s chipsets. This should come as no surprise, the SGX540 is currently the most powerful mobile GPU on the market but one has to take into account the quality of the drivers. Qualcomm has been far behind in this sector ever since its acquisition of AMD/ATI’s mobile GPU division nearly 2 years ago. Benchmarks conducted on Windows Mobile devices like the HTC HD2 (SnapDragon with Adreno 200/AMD Z430 GPU) have shown up to a %500 increase in performance in some bechnmarks when homemade/tweaked drivers where used instead of the ones supplied with the retail device. This doesn’t mean that it can rival Samsung’s SGX540 equipped handsets like the Galaxy S line of Android phones but SnapDragon based devices would have graphics performances more in line with what you should expect from a hing-end smartphone in 2010. It will be interesting to see how things will be like on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7  platform (Only Qualcomm is certified to provide chipset for the first WP7 handsets) now that Microsoft will provide/certify the drivers. From what I have seen the graphics performance of the prototype devices is tons better than what we have now on the market. It has been said by me many times (and others who have played with the Samsung Taylor): the UI of WP7 ( Direct3D fully hardware accelerate by the Adreno GPU) is more responsive than the iPhone. Things will only get better in the future when devices like the HTC Mondrian WP7 handset will supposedly feature the updated Snapdragon core and when Google finally sets minimum performance and hardware requirement in a future version of Android (rumored to come in Android 3.0).


Check out a comparison video of the Nexus One vs the Motorola Droid X and Samsung Captivate below:

As you can see real world usage thankfully isn’t really affected by the GPU (mainly because Android UI isn’t hardware accelerated like the iPhone’s and WP7) so potential buyers shouldn’t really worry about the type of chipset present in the phone they want to acquire now. But once graphical intensive applications start to become popular things are going to get nasty if OEMs and Hardware partners don’t pay close attention to driver development.

Via Androidandme & Pocketnow

  • arash

    Wp7 will fly with hummingbird!

  • arash

    Wp7 will fly with hummingbird!

  • arash

    The hummingbird is the same as A4,isn’t it?

  • arash

    The hummingbird is the same as A4,isn’t it?

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com/tips-contact/ M. Daou

    CPU is the same but not the GPU. The A4 has a PowerVR SGX535 while Hummingbird has an SGX540.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com/tips-contact/ M. Daou

    CPU is the same but not the GPU. The A4 has a PowerVR SGX535 while Hummingbird has an SGX540.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com/tips-contact/ M. Daou

    CPU is the same but not the GPU. The A4 has a PowerVR SGX535 while Hummingbird has an SGX540.

  • arash

    So hummingbird is more powerful? Ah you get mindwashed from american news blogs, I always thought A4 is better than hummingbird.

  • arash

    So hummingbird is more powerful? Ah you get mindwashed from american news blogs, I always thought A4 is better than hummingbird.

  • arash

    So hummingbird is more powerful? Ah you get mindwashed from american news blogs, I always thought A4 is better than hummingbird.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com/tips-contact/ M. Daou

    Yup the Hummingbird is theorical better than the A4.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com/tips-contact/ M. Daou

    Yup the Hummingbird is theorical better than the A4.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com/tips-contact/ M. Daou

    Yup the Hummingbird is theorical better than the A4.