The road to Google's Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is finally nearing its destination. As of yesterday, the Samsung made Galaxy Nexus went on sale in the UK. Its arrival in the US on Verizon is imminent, but it'll still be another couple of weeks before we can get our hands on a CDMA/LTE sample.

The Galaxy Nexus hardware platform isn't a significant departure from what we've already seen on Android. TI was chosen as the launch silicon partner with its OMAP 4460. The SoC takes a pair of Cortex A9 CPUs running at 1.2GHz and gives them a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface to talk to. The GPU is Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX 540. The CPU side of things is comparable to Apple's A5, although the cores are clocked noticeably higher than the 800MHz we saw in the iPhone 4S. Until Tegra 3 and Krait show up, the CPU side of the 4460 is as good as it gets.

The real advantage the Galaxy Nexus has is on the software side. All of the goodness of Honeycomb makes its way to a handset along with even further optimization work. One of the early Galaxy Nexus owners ran the usual browser benchmarks on his phone and shared the results with us. Google has obviously done a lot of browser optimization in ICS as performance is now better than even Honeycomb:

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

Rightware BrowserMark

The GPU in the Galaxy Nexus isn't bad by any means - the SGX 540 is competent, but it is outgunned by ARM's Mali 400 (Samsung Exynos 4210) and the SGX 543MP2 (Apple A5). As I mentioned earlier, the Galaxy Nexus wasn't about putting the fastest hardware in a phone but rather providing a stable vehicle for Ice Cream Sandwich. Results for the Galaxy Nexus have been in the GLBenchmark database for a while and show an overall improvement over previous SGX 540 implementations (the GPU clock in the 4460 is higher than in the 4430):

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen

Performance is pretty much as expected in both areas: Google really pushed the performance of its software further with Ice Cream Sandwich, while GPU performance is limited by the SGX 540. The good news is that there's more than enough hardware at ICS' disposal to deliver a smooth experience. We'll be able to quantify that once we get our hands on a device.

Source: GLBenchmark, @SigThief

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  • slaughter111 - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    Nice phone, but for some reason I want to hold out for something based on the new Nvidia quadcore. But still, very nice phone.
  • uwndrd - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    That would be SO nice to see Tegra 3 benchmark results, especially GPU. Especially, in comparison with Ipad 2's one.
  • djdiff - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    Here you go (in swedish though, but the charts are self-explanatory):
  • Guspaz - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    For those who don't want to bother to click through, the Tegra 3's GPU is a bit faster than a Mali400, but way slower than an SGX543MP2.

    Somewhat disappointing that it's not even beating current GPUs, but at least the performance is decent.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, November 27, 2011 - link

    Yeah everyone thought Tegra 3 would be the end-all be-all. Not so much. Now people are starting to see why Sony didn't go with a Tegra 3 solution for the NGP. Sure, there are some nice features in Tegra 3, like the extra low power CPU core. But graphics? NGP is getting an SGX543MP4 with dedicated high-speed VRAM. In terms of graphics performance it'll be at a very minimum twice as powerful as whats in an iPad2, and I suspect 3-4 times as fast.

    Not to mention that as a dedicated gaming platform, there are no compatibility concerns, so developers can feel free to code closer to the metal where necessary. With all that said, I still probably won't get an NGP or any other dedicated portable. Phone is good enough for light gaming on the go, and any other time I'm gaming it's in front of a monitor or TV.
  • TareX - Monday, November 28, 2011 - link

    That is the sad truth regarding Vita's inevitable demise.... I barely find time for gaming on my Tegra 2 phone.
  • r3loaded - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    The Asus Transformer Prime is out next month, so we'll probably find out then. I'm expecting this quad-core monster to walk all over previous chips. :)
  • MonkeyPaw - Saturday, November 19, 2011 - link

    I doubt it. Sure, 4 A9 cores plus the A7 helper core will be nice, but how much multithreading will we on a mobile APU? Also, Tegra 3's GPU is outgunned by Mali and the SGX543, and Tegra3 uses only a single channel memory interface. Too many "ifs" for those extra cores to really impress, IMO. I think Tegra3+ will be more of what Tegra3 should have been at launch.
  • sigmatau - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    The Nvidia chip is just beginning to catch up to Apple's GPU. I think Apple's GPU is still a larger piece of silicon, similar amount of cores, and more memory bandwidth.

    It's just sad that such a great GPU is on such a fucking crappy phone with such a fucking crappy small screen with fucking Apple standing over you as you "attempt" to use their phone like you want to or should be able to.
  • vision33r - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Apple does not make or design the GPU, it's a SG PowerVR GPU.

    Right now it is like 1996 all over with the PowerVR kicking Nividia's TNT2.

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