Friday, March 09, 2012

A5X vs. Tegra 3: NVIDIA says 'Show us the benchmarks'

It's called marketing puffery, and that is defined as "promotional statements and claims that express subjective rather than objective views, such that no reasonable person would take them literally." NVIDIA is accusing Apple of puffery in its "new iPad" claims, which the company made on Wednesday, when Apple said the A5X processor in the "new iPad" had 4x the graphics performance of a Tegra 3, but gave no data or benchmarks to back it up.

NVIDIA has responded, as you might expect, with a "show me the money" type of statement, but more along the lines of "show us the benchmarks."

Ken Brown, a spokesman for NVIDIA, said that it was “certainly flattering” to be called out by Apple. In this vein, perhaps not. He added that:

"We don’t have the benchmark information. We have to understand what the application was that was used. Was it one or a variety of applications? What drivers were used? There are so many issues to get into with benchmark."

The Tegra 3 is being used in Android supertablets and superphones, with the first device to ship with it being the Asus Transformer Prime from late 2011. However, while Apple has been validly accused of marketing puffery before, particularly with the iPhone 4's retina display, in this case Apple may have a point.

A recent review of the Transformer Prime showed that the iPad 2 and its PowerVR, not even the "new iPad," easily beat the Tegra 3.

That said, there still might be puffery involved: Apple's slide that said the A5X was 4X faster than the Tegra 3 also said the A5 was 2X faster than the Tegra 3, and in general, it was not that much faster in the aforementioned review.

We doubt that Apple will tell NVIDIA exactly which benchmarks it used, and we also expect that any NVIDIA results, which will come once the company gets its hands on an iPad 3, might be 180 degrees different that Apple's.

It's all about marketing.


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