GPU Performance

GFXBench Offscreen – T-Rex

The T-Rex test is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 and includes textures, material, geometry and particle effective that were highly detailed at the time of release. The graphics rendering engine features planar reflection, specular highlights and soft shadows, providing a good workout even for flagship smartphones and tablets. Offscreen tests are run at 1080p, regardless of the device’s native resolution, and are best used to compare the performance between competing silicon, not competing devices.

Eek, not a great result here from the Mali-T760 GPU included with the Exynos 5433. It falls behind even the Adreno 330 from the Snapdragon 801.

GFXBench Offscreen – Manhattan

Manhattan was the first benchmark to utilize OpenGL ES 3.0 features and uses a nighttime setting with a lot of external illumination to stress the GPU. It uses a deferred rending engine with multiple render targets for the geometry pass, includes both diffuse and specular lighting, uses depth shadow maps, bloom, depth of field and quite a bit more. 

Things improve quite a bit in the OpenGL ES 3.0 test for the Mali-T760 where its score of 1083 is better than both the Motorola Droid Turbo and OnePlus One. The Adreno 420 is able to scale quite a bit depending on the implementation, proved with the win by the Nexus 6 in this very test.

GFXBench Offscreen – ALU Performance

This test measures the pure shader compute performance using a fragment shader and rending a single full-screen quad. 

Raw ALU results for the Exynos 5433 are substantially lower than any other SoC tested here.

GFXBench Offscreen – Alpha Blending Performance

Rendering semi-transparent quads with uncompressed textures allows this test to measure the alpha performance of the GPU directly. 

The same is true in the alpha blending result – the Mali-T760 struggles to keep up.

GFXBench Offscreen – Driver Overhead

This test renders a large number of very simple objects one-by-one, changing state with each item in a pattern consistent with real-world applications. This allows the benchmark to measure the CPU overhead of the OpenGL driver. 

One advantage the Mali graphics system appears to have is lower driver overhead to utilize what performance it does offer. But with such a substantial raw GPU throughput concern compared to Qualcomm's Adreno options, I'm not sure how much this matters to developers or OEMs.

GFXBench Offscreen – Fill Rate Performance

The portion of the test measures texture fill rate performance by rendering four layers of compressed textures, a very common scenario in gaming. 

Again, the synthetic tests of the Mali graphics disappoint, falling to the bottom of the pack in our raw fill rate testing.

GFXBench – Native Resolution

All of the above tests were run at 1080p to compare the performance of the GPU systems on equal ground. But smartphones are not equal ground – the displays that are part of the platform and differ from unit to unit and that resolution can and does directly impact perceived GPU performance. Take the 2560×1440 resolution screen of the Galaxy Note 4 and compare it to the 1920×1080 screen on the OnePlus One – we have already determined that in raw performance the Snapdragon SoCs have better general performance in graphics testing and thus it should be expanded on further here.

Running at native resolutions, the Galaxy Note 4 struggles to keep its head above water in this graphics test, resulting in an average score and frame rate less than half of Motorola Droid Turbo.

Under the OpenGL ES 3.0 test, the Snapdragon 801 jumps ahead of the Note 4 thanks to the 1920×1080 resolution screen. Nothing can get past the iPhone 6 with that lower resolution!


Use 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited for chip-to-chip comparisons of the hardware inside your device without vertical sync, display resolution scaling and other operating system factors affecting the result. In Unlimited mode the rendering engine uses a fixed time step between frames and renders exactly the same frames in every run on every device. The frames are rendered in 720p resolution "offscreen" while the display is updated with small frame thumbnails every 100 frames to show progress.

Ice Storm Graphics test 1 stresses the hardware’s ability to process lots of vertices while keeping the pixel load relatively light. Hardware on this level may have dedicated capacity for separate vertex and pixel processing. Stressing both capacities individually reveals the hardware’s limitations in both aspects. Pixel load is kept low by excluding expensive post processing steps, and by not rendering particle effects.

Graphics test 2 stresses the hardware’s ability to process lots of pixels. It tests the ability to read textures, do per pixel computations and write to render targets. The additional pixel processing compared to Graphics test 1 comes from including particles and post processing effects such as bloom, streaks and motion blur. The numbers of vertices and triangles are considerably lower than in Graphics test 1 because shadows are not drawn and the processed geometry has a lower number of polygons.

The purpose of the Physics test is to benchmark the hardware’s ability to do gameplay physics simulations on CPU. The GPU load is kept as low as possible to ensure that only the CPU’s capabilities are stressed. The test has four simulated worlds. Each world has two soft bodies and two rigid bodies colliding with each other. One thread per available CPU core is used to run simulations. All physics are computed on the CPU with soft body vertex data updated to the GPU each frame. The background is drawn as a static image for the least possible GPU load. The Ice Storm Physics test uses the Bullet Open Source Physics Library.

3DMark results on the Galaxy Note 4 fall behind both of the Snapdragon 805 processor based smartphones but leads over iPhone 6 by a wide margin.

If we look at just the graphics sub-test on 3DMark the Note 4 is only faster than the OnePlus One.

3DMark loves the 8-core processor built into the Exynos 5433 though and scores it higher than all other comers, though the SD 805 in the Droid Turbo and Nexus 6 are close behind.

Basemark X

Basemark X is the world’s most popular benchmarking tool for evaluation and cross-platform comparison of gaming and graphics performance between Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 smartphone and tablets.

Basemark X is the only vendor-independent benchmark that utilizes the real-world game engine Unity which is very popular among game developers. This means that it scores correlate exceptionally well with real-life gaming performance.

Basemark X includes two game-like graphics tests: Dunes and Hangar. Both tests contain heavy graphics content rendered with detail and complexity, thus pushing the measured device to the limit. The polygon counts in test sequences are up to 911,000.

Samsung's phone does well here, falling behind only the Nexus 6 when tested in the High Quality preset.

Basemark OS II – Graphics

Basemark OS II is a system-level All-In-One benchmarking tool designed for measuring overall performance of smartphones and tablets from all platforms, including Android, iOS and Windows phone 8.

The benchmark features a comprehensive suite of tests including system, internal and external memory, graphics, web browsing, camera, battery and CPU consumption.

In the graphics sub-test from Basemark OS II, the Galaxy Note 4 and the Exynos 5433 SoC are just not impressing us. In all, it seems that the Mali-T760 GPU is not able to keep up with the likes of the Adreno 420.

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