Android: Where is our GPU Acceleration!?
I'm tired of looking at iPhone's acceleration on OLD hardware outpace today's top Android devices. Why is the old iPhone 3G smoother at some things than my DroidX??
Rumors were we'd see GPU Hardware acceleration in 2.3 but now it seems left out.
Why can't Google get this right? We have a dormant GPU doing no acceleration in the OS and apps(minus games).. Anyone else tired of seeing laggy browsing, or laggy app scrolling?
It now seems that we'll see a dual core machine with 1 core dedicated to rendering and 1 to doing everything else..with the GPU acceleration STILL left out.
- 12-06-2010, 03:14 PM #2
I'm just talking about the whole overall scrolling. News apps dont scroll as smooth, web sites. Download Pulse News on both iPhone and DX, iPhone's smoother..
Heck, on your DX, go to Google Fast Flip on your DX.. it's SUPER LAGGY compared to an iPhone... just some examples.
also, open up a pic in the gallery and use pinch/zoom to zoom in/out.. it's no where near as smooth as an iPhone.
- 12-06-2010, 05:13 PM #4
You also have to remember the iphone browser checkerboards on intensive sites, while any modern android phone never checkerboards.
The thing is though.. is the DX should be much smoother.
The CPU is doing the acceleration where the GPU should.. this is taking cycles away from the CPU..
Go back to the original Droid 1 and the iPhone 3GS. Very comparable hardware(minus the screen res on the D1).. both run the same CPU and GPU.. yet look at the difference in overall perception of UI.. the iPhone 3GS is very smooth in just about everything it does, from scrolling websites, to scrolling apps, to scrolling within apps, to pinch/zoom in the browser, pinch/zoom in the gallery.. you can really see what using the GPU, which is designed for graphics acceleration, can do and where it shines and where using the CPU which wasn't designed for it, fails.
The Android OS isn't GPU hardware accelerated, and it absolutely should be, and not having it sucks.
- 12-06-2010, 05:37 PM #6
- 12-06-2010, 06:33 PM #8
- 12-08-2010, 04:09 PM #9
- 25 Posts
Heard about Orion chips from Samsung, successor to the Humminbird? It's sporting dual core A9s with a quad core Mali 400 GPU.
But with that link sniffs pointed out, that garbage collection has been decreased in Gingerbread. It's quite evident in any demo of Gingerbread on the Nexus S. My guess is that it (GPU acceleration) should be present in Honeycomb with multi-core processors taking over in the next year.
- 12-08-2010, 04:13 PM #10
- 25 Posts
Really can't wait for an Orion powered phone next year with Honeycomb.
- 12-08-2010, 05:40 PM #11
- 12-09-2010, 01:49 AM #13
- 12-09-2010, 02:14 AM #14
- 12-09-2010, 07:32 AM #15
Guys.. I'm not referring to scrolling on the home screen.
My phone is smooth when scrolling between the screens.. it's smooth.
Just, the browser isn't hardware accelerated, pinch/zoom in the gallery lags.. the device is just overall not as smooth in it's UI than the iPhone. Especially with apps. The OS itself just isn't GPU accelerated.. What brought this up was Pulse News. I have this both on my iP4 and my DX. The iP4 is just vastly smoother and flicking between the news.. GPU acceleration, or lack thereof, is very evident on the Android platform and needs to be fixed.. it's unacceptable.
my phone is rooted, customzed, modded, themed, all with me cherry picking what I want.. not using a custom ROM..
- 12-09-2010, 12:31 PM #17
Although you’re absolutely correct on a few things, especially with some UI interactions aren’t quite as snappy as they could be, I haven’t noticed any lag whatsoever on webpages and in particular the gallery. In fact, I think the gallery is one of the most impressively smooth apps on my phone. Maybe this has something to do with the Fascinate, I don’t know, but I definitely think it can be attributed to more things than just the lack of GPU acceleration.
- 12-10-2010, 01:20 AM #19
This phone was free with a new contract, and my first android phone. I no longer feel jealous of iphone users =)
- 12-10-2010, 11:37 PM #20
- 12-17-2010, 04:53 PM #21
- 12-20-2010, 09:16 PM #22
lol, you're not crazy. I totally agree. Even older iphones have smoother scrolling and browsing. It bothers me too. No one here wants to admit it though I think. Pinch zoom on stock modern android phones looks choppy compared to the iphone. I want this fixed!
- 12-20-2010, 09:30 PM #23
- 12-28-2010, 07:34 AM #24
- 93 Posts
Usage of GPU acceleration, depends...phone to phone...
Generic Android phones, like HTC Magic, G1, Nexus One...the generic Android OS itself doesn't do much GPU acceleration. The Qualcomm Adreno 200 can be slower than the CPU on some operations, and the OS should avoid hardware dependencies by coding to the GPU. This way, it makes it easier by another party to take the OS and optimize it to the GPU of their choice.
HTC Sense and Samsung TW, on the other hand, are hardware accelerated. That is why the Galaxy S can deliver very smooth graphics. If you compare the Droid Eris or HTC Hero with HTC Sense vs. the HTC Magic with raw UI--- both the same CPU, same GPU --- the Eris has much smoother swipes and scrolls. Compare the Nexus One with the HTC Desire or Droid Incredible and you have similar parallel experience.
If you have the Desire Z or Desire HD, try swiping and scrolling, and its even smoother than the Desire or Droid Incredible. The first and second generation Snapdragons used by these phones are equal when it comes to all general CPU operations. Where they differ is that the second generation Snapdragon has a much faster GPU. The reason why an 800MHz Desire Z can swipe and scroll smoother than a 1GHz Droid Incredible --- noticeably so --- is because the GPU is that faster. By extension, we know the GPU is being used in the interface.
Even without running benchmarks, get the Coca Cola holiday Live Wallpaper. This wallpaper can truly tax the GPU with anything from particles to 3D. You can see it relatively go from choppy to smooth in that order of phones:
Nexus One, Droid Incredible, HTC Desire (choppy)
Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Desire Z (smooth)
Since they all have a GHz processor, the performance difference is due to GPU differences and therefore use of the GPU is involved.
Using the GPU in HTC Sense and Samsung TW do result in hardware dependencies and it does make porting a new Android OS slower, since the generic Android OS lacks the specific optimizations, and its the vendor's job to do the optimizations to the CPU/GPU of their choice.
When you optimize for one GPU, these optimizations don't work on another. We don't expect optimizations for nVidia to be the same for Radeons either. That's why HTC has to do the optimizations for the Qualcomm CPUs, while Motorola does for the TI OMAP6 series, and Samsung for the Hummingbird. And now we got new factors coming in, with the nVidia Tegra2.
So yeah, Google using a Galaxy S/Hummingbird platform to build their Gingerbread, which appears to have GPU optimizations, means Gingerbread as it exists on the Nexus S is Hummingbird optimized. This version of the OS as it is, has its hardware dependencies to the Hummingbird and its PowerSGX 540 GPU.
Does it surprise you it would take longer for Gingerbread to be ported to the Nexus One? You have to take all these optimizations and make them work on the Qualcomm Adreno 200 GPU. It will also be another bit of work for the Adreno 205 GPU used in the newer Snapdragon like the G2. Since the OMAP6 uses a lower form of PowerSGX compared to the Hummingbird, I wonder how the work will be for Gingerbread to go into OMAP6 equipped devices like the Droid 2 and X?
- 12-30-2010, 06:03 AM #25
- 4 Posts
Lets start with the hardware accelerated UI's HTC Sense and Samsung TW, do you have any references to back up your claim that they actually use the GPU? Sure Samsung claims their Galaxy S is 'hardware accelerated' but they are not specific. Indeed Sense and TW are both rather smooth, however the framerate still appears lower than what we see from IOS. If the Galaxy S UI is really hardware accelerated I would expect at least IOS-like smoothness since the iphone and the galaxy S both use the PowerVR GPU if I'm not mistaken, but there is a difference in my opinion.
Lets continue with the Adreno GPU. When I compare a Adreno 200 with a Adreno 205 (Desire / Desire HD) I don't see a lot of difference. This could be because the 205 is just an optimization of the 200. Qualcomm claims an enormous performance boost for the 205, well maybe that's true for some low-level routines, but definitely not for the FPS in general applications. Furthermore you would not expect a choppy UI at all when the UI is hardware accelerated even with the Adreno 200. I mean you get an acceptable FPS with 3D applications, a simple slick 2D UI should be no problem for any GPU if programmed well(which is not that easy though, Apple did a good job there I think).
Then you claim every Android port is optimized for its specific hardware, which is true. But again, where does is it stated the the GPU is involved in these ports? I cannot find any references in the SDK that drawables or animated menu's are possibly accelerated. Of course that doesn't mean it isn't happening, but the general scrolling experience in Android doesn't feel that way.
Finally you kinda drop the F-word, which is fragmentation in the case of Android. All these different GPU's, if only there was a low-level cross-platform graphics library that is optimized for any GPU (ideally) and they would call it OpenGL or something
But again, I'd be happy to see some technical references or if you've been hacking into the Android source yourself where you acquired this knowledge. Very interesting.