Seen earlier this month at CTIA, Qualcomm decided that their mobile development platform (MDP) is ready for evaluating graphics performance and shipped a device home with AnandTech for review. The MSM8x60 chipset used in the MDP can be clocked at either 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz; AnandTech was given the faster 1.5GHz model for testing.
The dual-core Snapdragon device utilizes a pair of Qualcomm’s own Scorpion CPUs, paired with it’s Adreno 220 GPU. The Adreno 220 is the latest in the line of GPUs that work with the Snapdragon platform, preceded by the 205 and 200 which offer similar features at slower clock speeds. The MDP device being tested here was optimized for GPU testing, and did not have operational cellular or Wi-Fi radios. Also, as it is a development platform rather than a retail device, there are a number of settings not available on your typical Android handset such as a toggle for vertical sync (VSync) which can heavily impact test results.
The first suite of tests run was GLBenchmark 2.0, which AnandTech says is best used to judge real-world performance. However, there is one big caveat with this test – it always renders to the device’s native resolution, so devices running smaller format screens will have a distinct advantage here.
GLBenchmark 2.0 puts Qualcomm’s MDP leading the pack, which is to be expected with a full 50% CPU clock speed advantage over the nearest contender, the LG Optimus 3D. Removing the VSync limiter actually reduced performance on the MDP in this test, the opposite of it’s typical effect. It would be interesting to see how the MDP performs on this test limited to 1GHz – the LG Optimus 3D would likely outstrip it’s performance at the same clock speed.
3DMark Mobile 2010’s “Taiji” test serves to demonstrate the evolution of the Adreno GPU very well. The Adreno 200 in the Nexus One can barely handle this test, yielding an average framerate of 3.2. The Adreno 205 kicked performance up by a factor of 4.5 over the previous platform, giving acceptable results on this test. The MDP is the only one that gave a high enough average framerate to be considered playable, however it cannot be directly compared to the 205 and 200 due to utilizing a different memory architecture and differing clock speeds.
Lastly we have Quadrant, a benchmark that has become a standard one-stop shop for test results in Android. This test is really starting to show it’s age with lesser-demanding graphics compared to the performance expected from current platforms, and being heavily skewed towards filesystem performance. Qualcomm’s MDP shines on this test, putting forward a very impressive out-of-the-box result of 2851.
Overall AnandTech observed a rough doubling of performance from the previous generation Adreno 205 GPU to the Adreno 220 in Qualcomm’s MDP. Raw performance was about 2x to 5x higher, but the MDP had an advantage in both clock speed (1.5GHz vs. 1GHz) and type of memory, which boosted it’s overall performance substantially.
Should you be interested in purchasing a mobile development platform, Qualcomm makes them available for purchase through retailer BSquare, however the MSM8660-based platform is currently not yet available for purchase. More detailed benchmark statistics can be found at the AnandTech link below.