The iPad Air is the first 9.7-inch Retina iPad to ship without an A-X series chip. Put more simply, it’s the first such iPad to forego bolting more graphic cores onto the core chip to drive the massive 2048 x 1536 display.
But if you think that means the iPad Air will have weaker graphic performance than the fourth-gen iPad, you don’t know Apple very well. In fact, graphic performance is as much as 70% better than the last 9.7-inch iPad.
Running the new iPad Air through it’s paces, Anand over at Anandtech found that the tablet had 40-70% better graphics performance than the fourth-gen iPad.
Like the iPhone 5S, the iPad Air uses an A7 chip that boasts a PowerVR G6430 GPU running at 450 MHz. That’s fast, but how fast? In T-Rex HD game simulation benchmarks, the iPad Air performed up to 75% better than the fourth-gen iPad, as well as up to 36% better in the 3DMark Ice Storm benchmark. In fact, the graphics of the iPad Air beat the iPad 4 by as much as 60% in 3DMArk’s GPU-specific benchmark suite.
All is not rosy, though. Although the iPad Air outperformed the iPad 4 in most of Anand’s tests, there did seem to be a decline in triangle rate performance. Not sure what that means? It doesn’t seem to matter: Anand couldn’t find any real-world impact from the change.