We had an opportunity to run the first Tegra 4 benchmarks out NVIDIA’s lab and it’s time for an update on that front. Since NVIDIA launched its Tegra 4 processor at CES, there was a sense that it should be really fast, but the question was: how fast? Today, we have the answer: it’s roughly twice as fast as current-generation hardware and it looks very promising when stacked with theoretical numbers for next-generation competing hardware. Check the charts, and the notes associated to them:

Antutu is an overall system performance benchmark (CPU, graphics, storage), and what it shows is that overall, most recent phones land in a comparable performance footprint. This means that unless you do something very specific (like “gaming” or “downloads”), those phones should provide a similar overall performance.

The overall system performance test in Antutu is strongly CPU biased, although things like storage speed can make a difference. Here, there is little doubt that most of the gains are coming from the Cortex A15 CPU core design, which can simply execute more instructions per second than its Cortex A9 cousin used in the Tegra 3 chip.

GLBenchmark Egypt, offscreen 1080p: this test has been designed to “stress” the graphics processor (GPU) by running a game-like demo which features a fight between various characters in many different environments (indoors, outdoors…).

In terms of graphics performance,  Tegra 4 does more than very well and as you can see on the graph, it is pretty much twice as fast as the closest competitor: the already excellent Snapdragon S4 Pro. As it stands, Tegra 4 is probably 6X to 10X faster than your old phone when it comes to gaming and high-end graphics.

We’ve kept SunSpider for the end, since we tend to think that it really doesn’t represent anything that users can relate to in the real world. The progress here shows two things. First of all, if you just compare Tegra 4 with Tegra 3 (HTC One X here), there is quite a jump, but you should also know that NVIDIA has been working really hard to optimize the software aspects related to SunSpider, and I have confirmed that they plan to give back by contributing some of that to the Android open source project. This also shows that JavaScript performance is also highly dependent on the software side of things, if you were not already convinced.

Note that those numbers were gathered on development system, which differ from potential products. That said, history shows that in the past, the different between the reference system and the final products were not so great. For instance, our early benchmarks of the Snapdragon S4 Pro held up and even improved greatly over time.

Now that we know how fast Tegra 4 is, one more question remains: how will competitor react? Given that handsets featuring Tegra 4 will come out by the end of the year, how do you think other chip maker will fare relative to this? This is going to be an exciting year for performance-lovers.

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