iPhone 3G S could be a powerful gaming device


— 6:00 AM on June 11, 2009

Apple claims the new iPhone 3G S is up to twice as fast as the regular iPhone 3G, but it hasn't gone into a whole lot of detail about why that is. In his latest piece, Anand Lal Shimpi from Anandtech has dug into the new iPhone's hardware specs to paint a more thorough picture.

According to Lal Shimpi, Apple has made the jump from a 412MHz ARM11 processor core to a 600MHz ARM Cortex A8. The latter has a longer pipeline and a dual-issue design, which reportedly makes it analogous to a "modern day Pentium." (The ARM11, by contrast, is more like a "modern day 486.")

But that's not the most exciting part. Here's what Lal Shimpi says about the iPhone 3G S's new graphics core, which is supposedly a PowerVR SGX 520:

In its lowest end configuration with only one USSE pipe running at 200MHz, the SGX can push through 7M triangles per second and render 250M pixels per second. That's 7x the geometry throughput of the iPhone 3G and 2.5x the fill rate. Even if the SGX ran at half that speed, we'd still be at 3.5x the geometry performance of the iPhone 3G and a 25% increase in fill rate.

Apple already promotes the iPhone 3G and iPod touch as gaming devices, and both of them can already run relatively simple 3D games. If the iPhone 3G S's hardware is indeed that much better, it could pave the way for considerably more elaborate titles—and let Apple make an even greater push in the gaming world.

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