Apple’s big, bad A5 whips Nvidia Tegra 2 handsomely in independent tests

“In response to some remarks comparing Apple’s ‘A5’ microprocessor with that of Nvidia’s ‘Tegra 2,’ of which I cited an example on Wednesday from Raymond James’s Hans Mosesmann, analyst Didier Scemama of RBS today offers what he thinks are some important points to consider in the A5′s favor,” Tiernan Ray reports for Barron’s.

“Nvidia’s Tegra 2 is only 49 square millimeters, while the A5 is 122 square millimeters in dimension,” Ray reports. “One reason for the discrepancy is that Apple’s chip was built in a 45-nanometer process by Samsung, while Nvidia used Taiwan Semiconductor’s 40-nanometer process, so features are larger on the Apple chip overall. But, ‘The major difference in specification between the chips is that Apple uses Imagination Technologies‘ PowerVR SGX543 dual-core GPU in the A5 and Nvidia uses its own GPU called GeForce.'”

Ray reports, “This was, then, a deliberate move, Scemama thinks, on Apple’s part, to make a larger chip, in order to have substantial graphics performance. And here, he cites OpenGL benchmark results that suggest, ‘that the A5 beat Tegra 2 handsomely in third party tests.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


  1. Even if Apple didn’t have the best hardware, it’d steal wipe the floor with Android in the software and ecosystem department.

    Throw in gorgeous designs and superior raw performance and it’s quite the no-brainer.

    1. I have long thought Apple should be in the Telematics business. Perhaps the folks in Cupertino are thinking the same thing. Indeed, I would go for a Apple powered vehicle if all other things were equal.

    1. Android does not execute Java, although it works similarly.

      You may create the Android app (source code) in either Java or C. Then Java source code is compiled into the “native” code of Android which is similar to Java bytecode. Then the application is executed in a Virtual Machine called Dalvik on the Android device.

      The main problem is that Dalvik is currently 2-3 times slower than Java Hotspot, even with the new JIT compiler (for the same Java source code).

      Imagine how fast a Tegra2 system was if Android ran a proper Java VM instead of that cripple Dalvik.

      I just hope Oracle forces Google to license Java SE and run a full-blown Java Hotspot implementation on Android.

  2. I think that for the next major release of Mac OS AFTER Lion (when it is no longer “10” or a big cat), Apple will begin offering Macs with a future quad-core “A-something” CPU/GPU. It will start with MacBook Air, where power-efficiency makes the biggest difference. Then, the other MacBook models, followed by iMac and Mac mini. Eventually, Mac Pro (which always used a different class of CPU from other Macs) will be the only remaining Intel holdout.

    1. This definitely is a possibility. For one all the internet stuff can be handled by the A5. The resolution of an MBA would be not a problem. The overhead of OSX could be an issue. Will iOS4 merge into OSX and will they dumb down the Mac system to meet the capabilities of the A5 or future processors?

      1. I don’t think the A5 will be in Macs. But the A4 and A5 are only the beginning of what is possible. Once a future A-whatever chip goes quad-core, it probably will be ready for the more generalized and unrestricted type of computing needed for use in Macs.

        As for the OS, the term “iOS” originally meant the touch-based OS used in Apple’s hand-held computing devices. That definition is no longer valid. Going forward, “iOS” is the CORE of the OS, with Apple using various user-interface “shells” based on the device iOS powers.

        So already, there is an iOS with GUI for iPhone and iPod touch. There is an iOS with GUI for iPad. There is an iOS with GUI for Apple TV. And in two to three years, or whenever the run of Mac OS X Lion ends, iOS should be ready to have a GUI for Mac.

        And it will not be a “dumb down” exercise, because that “usability” aspect of the OS will comes from the GUI, not the iOS core. Apple can make it look and feel exactly like Mac OS X, or as different as Apple wants it to be. As a long-time Mac user, you may think the design changes are “dumber” or “smarter,” but it will have very little to do with iOS or A-whatever being used in future Macs.

  3. Wintel in the early days had the advantage of mix n matching parts for optimum performance by the end user.
    Now with more needed in smaller packages Apple’s approach comes to the fore. The ‘Just Right ‘ ideas behind all Apple products requires specialist parts that are best tuned before production not after to maintain that feeling.
    This approach will not mix well with parts manufactures that make generic products for many applications.
    Apple use of Core2 CPU’s well past their use by date is a case in point — A conflict between what Apple wants and what Intel wants.
    It is a lesson that Apple has still not learned — your future should be your own not dependent on others.
    And your ideas should remain your own!
    And you should never sell or give away anything because in the future you may need them! And they cost more then!

  4. wow this guy really likes to spread bad info!

    A bigger die in no way provides better performance under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE WHATSOEVER!

    A bigger die is more expensive, draws more power and produces more heat.

    the A5 is a fine proc but from an engineering standpoint im far more impressed with the Tegra2 personally.

    If it were the other way around INTEL would be produucing massive sized cpus for desktop systems on something like an 800nm wafer!

  5. These types of ARM Cpu’s are different to the ones used in PC’ from Intel and AMD, Intel and AMD make 32/64 bit CPU’s and and alot more powerful than these CPU’s

  6. I don’t get it. Why are you all so interested in the A5 when its about 3x the size of the tegra 2???? both are dual cores right? But the tegra 2 is 3 times smaller… hmmmm seems like tegra could fit 3 (THREE) processor chips into an iphone 4 and make it BETTER than the stupid bulky A5. Does that not sound better??? Yea i know… Im a genius when it comes to this kind of thinking (outside the box). Either I’m a genius, or im just surrounded by narrow minded people.

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