Sunday, March 13, 2011

Take a Peek Inside the iPad 2 Wi-Fi Model

Wondering what makes that iPad 2 you just got tick and how much faster it is than the original iPad? Anandtech, iFixit, iosnoops, and UBM TechInsights have provided some answers.

Let's address processor performance first. Apple helped us with this information already at their product annoucement event on March 2, 2011. But the facts were confirmed to have a dual-core 1GHz A5 processor which is a step up from the single-core chip in the original iPad. Apple claims that the chip's "up to 9X faster" for displaying graphics.

And the verdict from an independent reviewers? "CPU [Central Processing Unit] performance...we found to be a healthy 50 percent faster than the A4 in the original iPad--at least in Web browsing," said Anandtech in a "performance preview" of the iPad 2. (More detailed benchmarks here.)

But a boost in raw "clock" speed is not the reason, according to iosnoops. "The new Apple A5 processor...may offer twice as many cores as the Apple A4 processor featured in the first generation iPad [but] it appears that each processing core is actually clocked at a slower speed," said the review site.

iosnoops continues. "While doing some early iPad 2 benchmarks, the team discovered by chance an interesting tidbit: the A5 doesn't run at 1GHz like the Apple A4, but is instead clocked around 890MHz (the speed of the A5 does not seem to be constant, and varies depending on the apps running on the iPad 2)."

Whatever the case, the iPad 2's performance is considerably better than the original iPad. "The iPad 2 is much faster. Web pages load quicker, the OS is more responsive, and applications even launch faster," said Anand Shimpi, who heads up Anandtech.

That said, it should be noted that the Motorola Xoom (with an Nvidia processor and graphics) surpasses the iPad 2 in some browser benchmarks, according to Anandtech.

Graphics-specific performance: And the new Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX 543MP2 graphics processor? On certain benchmarks, an increase ranging from 3X to 5X, according to Anandtech.

Here's what that review site said about one benchmark--the so-called "fragment lit triangle test": "While the PowerVR SGX 535 in the A4 (original iPad) could barely break 4 million triangles per second in this test, the PowerVR SGX 543MP2 in the A5 manages just under 20 million. There's just no competition here." Gamers are going to love this!

Now for the goods with a video (made with iMovie).

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