Updated: “Holy crap, this thing is fast” – Dev Black Pixel’s 3GS Benchmarks

rumour-iphone-3gs-powervrsgxWhile not a graceful runner, Donnovan Bailey was fast – especially as he gassed over the ‘fastest man on the earth’, Michael Johnson in a special fit-for-the-faker 150m race about 10 years ago. I saw it at the SkyDome and it deeply touched me, but what a crock! Well, the 3GS is no faker: it is a powerful machine that Black Pixel‘s ejaculation, “Holy crap, this thing is fast” certainly supports.

Hardware comparison as found in the original article at Black Pixel:
iPod Touch 2g:
CPU: Arm 6 running at 533 MHz
GPU: PowerVR MBX Lite

iPhone 3G S:
CPU: Arm 7 running at 600 MHz

We have already seen Anandtech’s benchmarks comparing the 3G, 3GS and the Pre, but this time, Black Pixel take us to a lower-level comparison between iDevice hardware iterations. In OpenGL 1.1 tests, the previous Donnavan Bailey* of iDevices, the iPod Touch 2G, is put to shame by the newer, faster 3rd generation iPhone. The 3GS was roughly twice as fast in every 3D test.

Black Pixel then went on to test CPU gains between the generation 6 (2G touch) and the generation 7 (3GS) Arm processors to see what performance differences there are. While impressively beating the 2G touch, the 3GS showed only 20% gains – a number that matches the 12% higher-clocked CPU and leaves room for performance gains inherent in a newer generation of hardware.

Of course, all of this comes at a price for the consumer and the dev alike. Big-name games and the next gotta-have-it app are just around the corner. With version 3 of the iPhone’s OS out, new apps have to be 100% 3.0 compatible. People who don’t have the dosh for the new OS will be left out in the cold as new apps will only support the new OS. Older titles, will of course continue to support the prior OS, but for how long? Combine this with the newer, faster 3GS and the 3rd generation touch and we have a nearly schizophrenic App Store. New games of course, will want to flex their muscles with the SGX GPU in the 3GS; will they have to add compatibility tweaks for the older hardware or for the time-deprived dev, drop support for machines that cannot handle newer 3D content?

Since the launch of the App Store, we have had a typically Apple, made-for-consumers experience. However, the launch of the 3GS and OS 3.0 will mark big changes for the ill-prepared consumer and for the inflexible developer alike.

For some anecdotal evidence of the new iPhone’s speed increase over last generation’s fastest iDevice, look at this video from iLounge:

In effect, it is the difference between a scared and stuttering Michael Johnson versus the superior Donnovan Bailey:

*I know that Donnovan’s record has been beat several times, however his superiority over Johnson is not debatable. Considering the curved track, too, it is plausible that had Bailey not looked back, even Bolt would have a hard time beating his time at 150m.

If you would like to read our recent articles about 3.0 and the 3GS, take a look below:
Vroom Vroom: 3GS faster than the PreDoes 3.0 Improve the sound of the iDevice?3GS: One Powerful MachineOS 3.0 Hundred Hidden FeaturesApp Store Split Personality: OS 2 vs OS 3

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