Is the OMAP 4470 chip in the new Kindle Fire HD 8″ really better than the Tegra 3?

September 7, 2012
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Yesterday at their event, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, made what seemed like a surprising comment about the OMAP 4470 chip, which is powering the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ (the new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD 7″ have OMAP 4430 and OMAP 4460 respectively). Amazon said that OMAP 4470 can do 50% more floating-point operations per second than the Tegra 3, while the dual-channel LPDDR2-466 RAM on the Fire HD has 40% more bandwidth than what Tegra 3 comes paired with. So is it true?

First, we need to understand where the OMAP 4470 is coming from. Initially, OMAP 4470 was supposed to be a dual-core 1.8 GHz processor, while the OMAP 4460 was supposed to hit 1.5 GHz. It seems TI failed in both missions — the OMAP 4460 arrived at 1.2 GHz per core, on the planned timeline; the OMAP 4470 arrived significantly later than expected (spring 2012) and clocked at only 1.5 GHz per core.

The OMAP 4470 uses a PowerVR SGX MP1 GPU, although it’s important to note that it’s running at a 384 MHz, compared to the PowerVR SGX MP2 in Apple’s A5 chip, which has 2 cores, both running at just 250 MHz. This is usually TI’s strategy with their chips — they use an older core, but they raise the clock speeds. I don’t like this approach, because it means TI will always be behind others when it comes to new GPU features, like OpenGL ES 3.0 or OpenCL. Moreover, they won’t even be able to get these new features on the upcoming OMAP 5 chips, because they will use an overclocked PowerVR SGX543 MP2, at a time when everyone would have moved already to a the next-gen architecture.

However, in terms of raw performance, TI’s chips should be pretty competitive, and the OMAP 4470’s GPU should be almost as fast as Apple’s A5 GPU. As you can see in these benchmarks from Anandtech, the GPU in the Apple A5 is 30%-80% faster than the Tegra 3, depending on the workload.

It’s possible Texas Instruments also made further optimizations to the SoC to get even closer to that PowerVR SGX5 43MP2 performance, considering they’ve made their overclocked PowerVR SGX543 MP2 exceed the performance of the PowerVR SGX543 MP4 by 5% in their upcoming OMAP 5. This means the above charts should give an approximate GPU performance difference between OMAP 4470 and Tegra 3.

As for the memory bandwidth, one of the biggest drawbacks of the Tegra 3 is that it still doesn’t support dual-channel memory, which means memory bandwidth is a bottleneck in some cases. OMAP 4470 reduces this problem by using dual-channel along their processors.

So, while we don’t have any benchmarks of these chips and devices yet, Jeff Bezos’ comments on Tegra 3 vs. OMAP 4470 are likely true. Still, it’s important to remember that, although the GPU has become very important lately, especially as it’s needed to run these high resolution displays, the CPU is still the most important part of the SoC, as it helps you run not just graphics related elements, but pretty much everything. With that said, Tegra 3 is still a quad-core CPU vs the OMAP 4470 which is dual-core.

Also, Tegra 3 is quite old already, and Tegra 3+ is about to ship soon.

Comments

  • Southrncomfortjm

    So its a powerful device, but you can only play and do what Amazon allows you to do. Sounds like Apple’s model with an incredibly restricted universe. I’ll stick with the flexibility of the Nexus 7.

    • Scorpineo

      umm, just root it and install stock JB on there.

      • Southrncomfortjm

        Sounds like that may not even be possible with the locked bootloader and other security features. More trouble than its worth when I can just have a Nexus 7.

        • Scorpineo

          Wasn’t the first KF rooted the same day it was released?

  • Nic Gillespie

    They can say all they want, without actual benchmarks of the device, I will just go off the specs, 2core vs 4cores+12core GPU… Don’t start lying like Nokea now Amazon

    • http://www.facebook.com/monotonemonk Rory McGuire

      Agreed, I find it hard to believe that Nvidia would be that far behind anyone when it comes to graphics acceleration.

      • efef

        sheep

      • Jon1123

        Fuckong idiot.

    • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

      Anandtech released benchmarks of the Archos 101 XS with same OMAP4470 that shows it’s faster than Tegra3 and iPad3.

      • tekdemon

        No it shows that the chip is basically faster than Tegra 3 and far slower than iPad 3 and slightly slower than iPad 2…
        http://www.anandtech.com/show/6158/the-archos-101-xs-review/3

        You can’t use the browser benchmarks to judge the chip because the browser is now faster on the android tablets since Google keeps updating Chrome/Browser to run faster.

        • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

          Absolutely not. Browser and GPU is faster on OMAP4470 than iPad3. http://armdevices.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/g10-anandtech3.png http://armdevices.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/g10-anandtech4.png and Sunspider and Browsermark is far faster on OMAP4470 than Tegra3 and iPad3.

          • http://twitter.com/Freedoooom Chase

            Stop being stupid. Sun spider and Browser mark are stupid tests. nVidia is known for aiming for the REAL WORLD. Sun Spider fully reliant on the browser, I can get as lower of a score as the Tegra 3 on a Droid X with Firefox.

            Everyone claims their SoC is faster than the Tegra, but it never follows through.

          • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

            Browser and GPU are real world, Browser and GPU acceleration of Android is what really matters and makes for faster Android experiences, most other benchmarks are useless and fake.

    • Azurael

      Actually, Nvidia’s SoCs have a reputation for lame GPUs – both the Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 are some way behind their best contemporaries in GPU performance, so it’s fairly plausible that OMAP 4470 will be a good deal faster. However, you’d have to be pretty delusional to think that given both use A9 cores that somehow a dual core would be faster than a quad (at the same clock, too?).

    • efef

      Start thinking by yourself and behind the bullshit they want you to believe – The fact is that NVIDIA claims they have top GPU’s and they are no better than SGX cores – Furthermore, making a processor is not only adding cores together but there are a lot of thinking on te whole architecture of the chip – like having sufficient bandwidth to run extensive use cases. On that matter Nvidia with their single channel memory are rapidly out of breath…

    • Jon1123

      Okay here dumbass.
      http://www.anandtech.com/show/6158/the-archos-101-xs-review/3

      look at the omap 4470’s singld core gpu vs the asus transformer infinitys (1.7ghz tegra 3 with 12 core gpu). Ur an idiot who would buy anything if the makers say it is good….smh

  • popomano

    Tegra 3 is slower than anything

    • MasterMuffin

      Explain, your argument is invalid

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    OMAP4470 uses SGX544 which is newer than SGX543 in iPad3.

    OMAP4460 does exist at 1.5Ghz, for some reason Amazon decides to use the cheaper 1.2Ghz kind.

    OMAP4470 can probably arrive at 1.8Ghz type a few months later, perhaps early next year.

    OMAP4470 is more powerful than Tegra3 and iPad3, but it’s possible that Exynos4412 and Qualcomm S4 Quad are faster.

    • Tom

      544 is variant with higher version directx support..no performance improvement

    • Jon1123

      Dude if its more powerful than the t3 wat makes it slower than the exynos and krait that are slower than the t3?

      • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

        Exynos4412 and the yet unreleased Krait S4 Quad are faster than Tegra3.

        • Jon1123

          Nope look at geek bench. T3 is on top and geekbench runs miles around any other benchmark… do some actual research instead of making assumptions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/George.WildNiths Γιωργος Αγριανιτης

    OMAP 4470 uses a SGX544 gpu and another exclusive 2d processor…
    It should be quite faster than tegra 3…dunno about adreno 225 or exynos though…:)

    • brandnew234

      Probably a lot faster than Adreno 225&Mali 400 (Samsung uses ARM GPU’
      s), but slower than Adreno 320 (just barely), Mali t604(by a fair amount), and completely crushed into oblivion by Mali t658 (coming second q 2013ish?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Herman.van.der.Blom Herman Van Der Blom

    Buy a Windows 8 Phone or Tablet then you dont have to worry about Speed :-)

  • tekdemon

    Why don’t you have benchmarks of the 4470 when Anandtech themselves just posted a review of a 4470 powered tablet not long ago? You seriously need to do your damned research if you’re going to run a tech blog.
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6158/the-archos-101-xs-review/3

    So yes, it is faster than a Tegra 3. Pretty simple, mystery solved, quit making it seem like nobody knows whether this chip is faster or slower.

    • Colton Walker

      Technically, it may be faster in cold-hard benchmarks, but in-game performance is what matters and so many games are optimized for Tegra that that’s the only thing a consumer really cares about.

      Plus, the Tegra 3 in the Transformer Infinity has HUGE memory bandwidth. It runs at 1600MHz or so, giving it way more speed then 466MHz dual-channel.

      • Jon1123

        Hahahaha ur so fufking retarded. The omap 4470 =7.5gb/s, the Asus transformer infinity =6.4gb/s(anandtech). And no many games aren’t optimized for invidia tegra 3 and run like shit on it. Getta life nexus 7 fag.

        • brandnew234

          ^TROLOLOL
          I

          • Jon1123

            ^ur moms a raging hoar

          • brandnew234

            ^TROLOLOL
            I
            You spelled whore wrong.

          • Jon1123

            ^ur moms a raging hoar

  • Tik B Lang

    I’ll wait 2013 Blk Fri Sale so I can snag one for 100US.

  • Scorpineo

    You can’t really compare the Fire HD 8.9″ to the Nexus 7, can you? It looks like the tablet market is segmenting into 7″, 9″, and 10″+ markets.

    It’s like comparing a 4 cylinder car to a 6 cylinder car.

    You should be comparing the KF HD 7″ to the Nexus 7. The KF HD 7″ model uses the Omap 4460, which is reviewed here:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5310/samsung-galaxy-nexus-ice-cream-sandwich-review/9

    Android Authority really needs to do their homework before posting articles.

  • Josh

    Where on Earth did the idea this chip could compete with Tegra 3 come from? Tegra 3 is quad core A9 at various clock speeds. This chip uses dual core A9. Tegra 3 is as much as 2x as powerful as this. I’m just sitting here utterly confused about how Amazon could get away with claiming a smaller, wimpier chip can actually compete with Tegra 3.

  • http://twitter.com/Zii69 ZMAN

    Dual channel memory is a bottleneck? did the aliens extract an important era of time from my mind? or did they brain wash me into thinking that IT DOES NOT FREKN MATTER!!! 8% boost big yip!