The latest iPad is expected to go on sale in stores on March 16th, but it looks like some folks in Vietnam have gotten an early look. forum member Sonlazio posted an unboxing video and some early benchmarks.

Geekbench 2012 iPad

While there aren’t a lot of surprises, the benchmarks do show that Apple has doubled the amount of RAM used in the new iPad.

The original 2010 model iPad shipped with 256MB of memory. The 2011 iPad 2 had 512MB. Now Apple is equipping the new iPad with 1GB of RAM.

The new iPad also features a shiny new Apple A5x processor with quad-core graphics, but the benchmarks confirm that the CPU is still a dual-core processor running at 1 GHz.

Meanwhile, the Geekbench benchmark scores for the new iPad are nearly indistinguishable from those for the iPad 2. That suggests that either the test isn’t optimized to detect the differences, or that the biggest performance gains will be in the new graphics processor which is designed to crank out imagery to the new iPad’s high resolution 2048 x 1536 pixel display.

via Engadget

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4 replies on “New iPad has twice the RAM, same clock speed”

  1. If you take in the fact that the screen has 4x as many pixels, the ‘quad core’ graphics really result in very little movement in the performance.  Even doubling the RAM was probably just necessary for the larger texture information to drive all those GPUs, and largely isn’t available to the CPU.

    From everything I’ve read, and my own experience as a developer, iOS is very lightly threaded, which makes sense given it’s relative age and the types of processors it was initially targeted for.  Given that, adding more cores does nothing but add power consumption and take up die area. The only way you’d really see any delta in performance is to throw a more efficient ISA at the OS, or up the clocks.

    So the only real question is going to be is this it for the year?  It’s an odd time to release another A9 tablet with A15’s coming out in the relative near future.  By NOT giving the tablet a numeric monicker that MIGHT give them the freedom to iterate more than once a year, since TSMC’s 28nm process came up long after they started production of the A5X chips, which are undoubtedly still on 40nm, just moving over to 28nm with their current architecture should give them better power profiles, and reduce their total cost even if they didn’t make use of any additional headroom to push the clocks up, even if they don’t want to move to the A15 this year.  

    Then again, it’s Apple, and they seem to be pretty happy with the yearly release cadence, even if it means they aren’t first to market with a piece of impressive new tech.  Plus the downside to the long supply lines that Apple is famous for using to drive down their own costs on premium materials means that changing anything mid stream may be cost prohibitive.

    Honestly, I’m also not sure the lack of a performance increase even matters.  It’s not like you can directly compare iPads to any of the Android tablets anyway.  The difference in OS and especially in the App Stores makes any apples to apples (ha ha) comparison utterly irrelevant.  So not being first to market with a shiny new processor doesn’t really hurt Apple until the delta between them and the competition is truly overwhelming.

    1. Agreed… I don’t think the big news with this year’s launch was a performance increase — it was the new screen (plus support for 4G LTE and Bluetooth 4.0 if you’re geeky enough to care about those things).

      The CPU/GPU bump is all intended to support that.

      But it’s not like the iPad 2 was particularly sluggish. It still feels like one of the zippiest tablets on the market, whether it scores better in artificial benchmarks or not (which Apple says it does, but which nobody’s really independently verified yet – and as you mentioned, it’s hard to do a like-for-like comparison due to the differences in the way operating systems work and apps for those operating systems work).

      1. Yep.  And although I do care about Bluetooth 4.0 oddly enough, I really don’t care about LTE because I have yet to see a service provider with anything approaching a compelling service offering.  If anything LTE is an anti-feature to me.

        I agree with you about the iPad2 being a responsive tablet so the lack of a speed bump isn’t a big deal.  I actually have one, and it is very very useful.  The performance has been great for what it is, and the graphics look as good in games as anything else I’ve seen, and better than most.

        Then again, all I use my iPad2 for, besides as a platform to test code I’ve written for it, is to hold hundreds of technical articles and literally thousands of books.  That and I take meeting notes on it, which is awesome because instead of having hand written notes I have to manually look through to find information, they’re machine searchable so I can actually FIND things.  The extra screen resolution might make those functions better, but I don’t see a reason to upgrade just to get them.

        I have mixed feelings about the new iPad.  On the one hand it should be plenty fast for anything that can be thrown at it.  I have a hard time seeing what people who are complaining about it have to complain about.  On the other there’s nothing compelling enough to make me upgrade (the screen just isn’t enough on it’s own because there’s nothing WRONG with the iPad2’s screen really).  

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