The Qualcomm S4, based on the Krait architecture (the one before was called Scorpion), will boldly push performance forward compared to its Cortex A9 or S3 cousins, and if Qualcomm is to be believed, the S4 should deliver all that performance boost at an even lower power draw, with the chip being manufacturered at 28 nm.
Its Adreno 225 GPU is not as brand new as the Krait-based CPU, being made still on the old Adreno 200 architecture, the one they bought from AMD, but it appears they’ve been trying to optimize it as much as possible, at the very least it does pretty well in benchmarks. Although, it remains to be seen if it can show that performance in real world scenarios, because the Adreno GPU’s are known to have good theoretical potential on paper, but they don’t perform as well in practice.
As you can see the Adreno 225 scores 55 FPS in the Nena GPU benchmark running on an Android 4.0.3 device with a 1024×600 resolution. That seems pretty good, and it should outmatch the “old” Mali 400 GPU in the Galaxy S 2, at least in theory, but by the time this will be out, it will most likely have to face the Exynos 4212, which Samsung has already said has a 50% faster GPU, or even the much more powerful Mali T604, if the rumors are true and Exynos 5250 is going to ship this spring, too.
I think it’s good that Qualcomm’s GPU is not being made obsolete in the day of the launch, even if there are much better GPU’s just around the corner. But to be honest, I’m much more excited about the Krait-based S4 CPU, and I’m looking forward to see what it can really do in benchmark and in real world tests. I’m looking forward to see what the future revamped Adreno 300 architecture and the Adreno 320 GPU can do, too. However, I doubt that it’s coming out by the end of the year, and it may have to face yet again stronger competition unless the Adreno guys have really outdone themselves this time.