Nvidia logo CES [aa] (3)

Synthetic benchmark suites do not always reflect real life performance, but they do give us a good idea of the performance of a mobile processor. Until actual production units hit the market, benchmark scores are the best guidance we have.

That’s why I was excited to learn that the new Tegra 4 system-on-a-chip has been put through its paces in a suite of benchmark applications, and the results are nothing short of amazing.

According to the folks at Engadget, who got some hands-on time with Tegra 4-powered reference devices provided by Nvidia, the new 4+1 cores chipset smashes previous records in benchmarks like AnTuTu, Quadrant, and SunSpider.

For instance, Tegra 4 scored 16,436 in the general-purpose Quadrant v2 benchmark. For comparison, the new HTC One with Snapdragon 600 scored 12,417 in a recent test, while the Nexus 4 (running a Snapdragon S4 Pro chip) scored less than 5,000.

In AnTuTu, another synthetic benchmark, the Tegra 4 reference tablet scored 36,305 points, more than three times the score of the Tegra 3-equipped Asus Transformer Pad Infinity.

The SunSpider benchmark is a JavaScript test suite that gives us a measure of how fast can a device load a website. Tegra 4 managed a very impressive 499ms (less is  more here). The iPad 4 scored 865ms in the same test.

In the graphics department, the Tegra 4 device scored 57 in the GLBench Offscreen, compared to the HTC One X+’s 37.

PC Magazine and other tech sites have also run these benchmarks with similar results. With the caveat that benchmark scores also depend on the software installed on the device, I am glad to see Nvidia making such impressive strides. Qualcomm really got the industry in a chokehold this year, so it’s good to see they still have some competition.

Unfortunately, Nvidia has warned that the soonest we can expect the first Tegra 4 equipped Android devices is late summer, so we still have  a lot to go until we get to test the Tegra 4 in real life. Meanwhile, Qualcomm promised that the Snapdragon 800 will beat the Tegra 4, and Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa chip shapes us to be quite competitive. Interesting times ahead!