The mobile wars are heating up and Korean giant LG is firing the first shot in the Battle of 2013. The company recently launched Optimus G, also known as the E97x – powered by Qualcomm's first quad-core chip, the Snapdragon S4. Graphics power is provided by Adreno 320, and it really shows.
In order to answer to the Samsung Galaxy SIII, which is stomping the sales charts with 20 million devices sold in the first 100 days of sale (it took only 30 days to sell the first 10 million), Apple iPhone 5 (launches next Wednesday, Sept 12), Sony Xperia TX, Nokia Lumia 920 and others – LG decided to go all out with its mobile design.
Announced last month, LG Optimus G, i.e. E97x Series is attracting a lot of attention with its 12 million pixel camera, 4.55" display with an un-standard HD resolution of 1280×768, 2GB of memory (hello Jelly Bean) and the brand new Qualcomm APQ8064 processor.
This is the first announced device with the processor Qualcomm wants to use in its battle against quad-core competitors from NVIDIA (Tegra 3/T30, Tegra 4/T3x+). The APQ8064 or Snapdragon S4Pro is a 28nm chip consisted out of four Krait CPU cores (Cortex-A15), numerous DSPs and an Adreno 320 GPU. Yes, Adreno is an anagram to Radeon, as AMD sold off its Imageon mobile GPU division to Qualcomm. What makes Adreno 320 special is the fact that this is the first mobile GPU featuring unified shaders, as well as full compliancy with DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.x, OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenCL 1.x.
However, the real test of its performance came through Basemark GUI benchmark, an OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 benchmark which squeezes raw performance from the SoC. The benchmark measures the performance both in native resolution of the device, as well as the off-screen rendering in 1280×720 resolution.
By looking at the new Powerboard table, it is clear just how fast the new Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro / Adreno 320 GPU is – 58.85 fps is the second highest average score, followed by the highest Average FPS (Frames Per Second) and becoming the first mobile phone break the 100 fps barrier in the off-screen rendering. Adreno 320 rendered no less than 129.27 fps which is 38% faster than the HTC One XL, or massive 50% faster than the fastest Samsung Galaxy SIII (LTE version, for sale in the United States). The US version is powered by the Qualcomm Adreno 225.
If you plan on buying a phone in let's say Singapore, where Samsung Galaxy SIII comes with a Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core processor and uses ARM Mali 400 graphics, the new LG Optimus G phone is faster by no less than 340% (40 fps vs. 129.27 fps).
No doubt about it, Adreno 320 significantly raises the bar ahead of its competitors. Given that Samsung won't have a new Exynos 5-Series chip before May 2013, while NVIDIA is focusing on Grey (Tegra + LTE) and T40 (X A15 cores + XXX Kepler-core based GPU), looks like Qualcomm will rule the roost. For now.