Left2MyOwnDevices Blog

Left2MyOwnDevices

The new stories of social computing are shared here. We're exploring mobile devices, embedded computing, wireless sensor networks, and social business from the perspectives of technology, business, and societal changes.

About Don Dingee

An experienced strategic marketer and editorial professional, and an engineer by education, Don is currently a blogger, speaker, and author on social computing topics, and a marketing strategy consultant. He's had previous gigs at Embedded Computing Design magazine, Motorola, and General Dynamics.

Previous in Blog: The Proof Is Left to the Reader   Next in Blog: We'd Recover Faster With Less Showrooming
Close
Close
Close
4 comments

The Tablet of Doom, or Riptide

Posted May 03, 2012 9:30 AM by dondingee

Benchmarking computer performance has always been a complex mix of science and art. Coming up with a representative workload reflecting single and multiple users, turning compilers fairly, and really evaluating a mix of processor, memory, and I/O performance across architectures is tough.

The one slam on benchmarking has always been whether the effort is synthetic. Many a developer selected a computer and OS based on a benchmark to find out their real-world application mix was nothing like the benchmark, and performance was wildly different. In the PC and server space, SPEC does a pretty good job of coming up with a mix that stresses different subsystems, and for embedded processors there's EEMBC with a suite of tests.

There was a day when to test a PC, one fired up Flight Simulator, and eventually as graphics effects become even more complex, Doom became the standard. By tweaking the effects knobs, one could get a reproducible feeling of how good a machine was at certain settings, and where it would roll over like the Lusitania as the complexity was cranked up. A couple FPS in multiplayer gaming is a big deal.

I'm writing this series over at SemiWiki.com on mobile processors, trying to answer if what's inside the tablet or phone really matters, at least when comparing new processors and roadmaps. We are finding no good absolute way to compare performance, and it's setting off some interesting debate.

Apple went on air claiming their graphics in the new iPad was 4x faster than anything based on an NVIDIA Tegra 3. NVIDIA shot back that 4 cores are a whole lot faster than 2, and that Apple's graphics aren't nearly that much faster. There's a whole line of thinking that the benchmarks aren't even exploring the multicore CPU and GPU features, for either side. To make matters worse, evaluation of iOS and Android on even footing is difficult, and we may really be opening a kettle of fish when Windows Phone 8 and (possibly) BlackBerry 10 step into the mix.

The widely accepted visual benchmark is GLBenchmark, which can be run on both iOS and Android devices. There are a whole raft of CPU tests for Android including AnTuTu, Quadrant, Rightware's BasemarkOS and EEMBC's latest AndEBench. One of the few benchmarks that actually runs on both iOS and Android is GeekBench.

But the debate is on. Does a benchmark that plays 720p frames off screen really test what a tablet does? Is there a point to getting all 4 cores to turn on when 99% of the day is spent with only 1 or 2 cores running? These aren't multiuser machines we're testing. Users are doing things like syncing email and social updates in background. When one plays a movie, one's attention is fixed there, and past a certain frame rate and without network lag, it all looks good - at least until you compare the retina display of a new iPad or the AMOLED of a Samsung device to something else.

Tablets are also moving to become the new gaming platform. The Sony PlayStation Vita is very likely the last of it's kind: a dedicated handheld game console. We haven't seen games optimized for the current crop of tablets and their GPU capability.

While Angry Birds is the mobile acceptance benchmark, the pig explosions don't stress a system. There are new games starting to show up that do. Riptide GP has been tossed out there as one possible contender that runs on several platforms.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 999
Good Answers: 23
#1

Re: The Tablet of Doom, or Riptide

05/03/2012 10:39 AM

This is pretty interesting. Looking back, the benchmarks for a computer are pretty obvious - How many frames per second any particular game can get on any given setting for a game, speed of performing tasks in any given piece of software, or whatever you can think of. For tablets, there isn't a whole lot available. I tried finding benchmarks on Asus' Tegra 3 technology, and the general consensus was that the numbers could be rigged in any number of ways to give a false sense of how the tablet actually performs, and with tablet technology increasing exponentially every year, I can't bring myself to purchasing one when"the next best thing" is right around the corner.

__________________
The first law of thermodynamics is you do NOT talk about thermodynamics.
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - DIY Welding - Don't Know What Made The Old Title Attractive... Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United States - US - Statue of Liberty - 60 Year Member

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Yellowstone Valley, in Big Sky Country
Posts: 6960
Good Answers: 282
#2
In reply to #1

Re: The Tablet of Doom, or Riptide

05/03/2012 1:32 PM

"... I can't bring myself to purchasing one when"the next best thing" is right around the corner."

I'm with ya on that. That's why I haven't purchased a digital watch or stopped using my 8-track player.

__________________
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. (Yogiism)
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 31299
Good Answers: 1733
#3
In reply to #1

Re: The Tablet of Doom, or Riptide

05/03/2012 6:19 PM

I always know when the next best thing is coming out.....right after I buy the current best thing....

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Budapest, Hungary, HA5YAR
Posts: 617
Good Answers: 14
#4
In reply to #1

Re: The Tablet of Doom, or Riptide

05/04/2012 12:42 AM

the benchmarks for a computer are pretty obvious - How many frames per second any particular game can get on any given setting for a game

Try to use this method on the signal processing part of a phone...

__________________
Aged man is not old man...
Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 4 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Doorman (1); Mizuti (1); Qqberci (1); SolarEagle (1)

Previous in Blog: The Proof Is Left to the Reader   Next in Blog: We'd Recover Faster With Less Showrooming

Advertisement