1. HeyCori's Avatar
    I see a lot of criticisms on the net because Microsoft equipped the Surface RT with a Tegra 3. So I gotta ask, is it really that bad? I was playing Rayman Jungle Run (a really fun game) and the frame rate is extremely smooth, the graphics are colorful and the animations are great. At no point did I think the T3 was underpowered. Yet, I've heard several people say that using the T3 was a mistake. I know some apps lag but is that really because of the chip or because of poor coding?
    03-11-2013 12:36 PM
  2. berty6294's Avatar
    I see a lot of criticisms on the net because Microsoft equipped the Surface RT with a Tegra 3. So I gotta ask, is it really that bad? I was playing Rayman Jungle Run (a really fun game) and the frame rate is extremely smooth, the graphics are colorful and the animations are great. At no point did I think the T3 was underpowered. Yet, I've heard several people say that using the T3 was a mistake. I know some apps lag but is that really because of the chip or because of poor coding?
    I'm very happy with my Tegra3. Even more excited for possible a Tegra4 Surface!
    03-11-2013 12:39 PM
  3. ninjaap's Avatar
    Nah. They don't hate Tegra. They are just trying to sound smart and authoritative by claiming that Windows RT has no purpose for ANYONE, because it doesn't suit their needs.
    03-11-2013 12:54 PM
  4. a5cent's Avatar
    Hey Ninjaap, sorry, going to disagree with you here.

    Tegra3 truly is the worst SoC still shipping in todays higher end products. It's only redeeming feature is price, which is why it was selected for the Surface RT. Those savings weren't passed on to consumers however.

    An S4 Pro is what should have gone into the Surface RT. I'm one of those that believe shipping Surface RT with the Tegra3 SoC was a mistake. Not because the Surface RT turned out to be bad, but because it could have been better. Even the SoC in your Lumia 920 is superior, in every conceivable way, despite having tighter space, heat and power envelopes.

    You can lookup the technical details of the competing SoCs and their benchmarks all over the internet. The Tegra3 SoC is consistently poor by todays standards.

    On the other hand, technical superiority doesn't necessarily make a better product. If the Surface RT does what you need it to do, then who cares...
    ninjaap likes this.
    03-11-2013 01:09 PM
  5. ninjaap's Avatar
    Hey Ninjaap, sorry, going to disagree with you here.

    Tegra3 truly is the worst SoC still shipping in todays higher end products. It's only redeeming feature is price, which is why it was selected for the Surface RT. Those savings weren't passed on to consumers however.

    An S4 Pro is what should have gone into the Surface RT. I'm one of those that believe shipping Surface RT with the Tegra3 SoC was a mistake. Not because the Surface RT turned out to be bad, but because it could have been better. Even the SoC in your Lumia 920 is superior, in every conceivable way, despite having tighter space, heat and power envelopes.

    You can lookup the technical details of the competing SoCs and their benchmarks all over the internet. The Tegra3 SoC is consistently poor by todays standards.

    On the other hand, technical superiority doesn't necessarily make a better product. If the Surface RT does what you need it to do, then who cares...
    I can get on board with that. I won't argue that it could be better, which is always a good thing. I was referring more to people who argue that RT shouldn't exist simply because it doesn't support desktop.
    03-11-2013 01:13 PM
  6. HeyCori's Avatar
    Hey Ninjaap, sorry, going to disagree with you here.

    Tegra3 truly is the worst SoC still shipping in todays higher end products. It's only redeeming feature is price, which is why it was selected for the Surface RT. Those savings weren't passed on to consumers however.

    An S4 Pro is what should have gone into the Surface RT. I'm one of those that believe shipping Surface RT with the Tegra3 SoC was a mistake. Not because the Surface RT turned out to be bad, but because it could have been better. Even the SoC in your Lumia 920 is superior, in every conceivable way, despite having tighter space, heat and power envelopes.

    You can lookup the technical details of the competing SoCs and their benchmarks all over the internet. The Tegra3 SoC is consistently poor by todays standards.

    On the other hand, technical superiority doesn't necessarily make a better product. If the Surface RT does what you need it to do, then who cares...
    Now would you say that the Tegra 3's performance is bad or simply inferior to the competition?
    03-11-2013 01:50 PM
  7. jmerrey's Avatar
    Having used a Surface RT (tegra) and a Thinkpad T2 (atom) extensively, I would say the only area the RT is faster is in graphically intensive games, such as Hydro Thunder. Even then, its very close. In every day use, the two aren't close. App opening, performance, multitasking, all are far superior in the T2.
    03-11-2013 02:30 PM
  8. a5cent's Avatar
    Now would you say that the Tegra3's performance is bad or simply inferior to the competition?
    I think Tegra3 is a mediocre piece of silicone. It excels at running some benchmarking suites, and some bloggers are happy to play "marketing department", by testing Tegra3 with exactly those software packages which nVidia recommends, but in real world performance tests, Tegra3 falls short. Tegra3 is a prime example of a product, that is optimized to look good on a spec-sheet, as opposed to being optimized to run tablet and smartphone apps as efficiently as possible. The companion core concept (4+1) is a joke, which might explain why Windows RT doesn't even attempt to take advantage of it.

    On the other hand, the only thing that matters is if it runs the software you use well enough. If it does that, then who cares...

    You may also be interested in these two articles from SemiAccurate (a website that reports on the semiconductor industry):

    Tegra 3 missed performance goals by wide margins
    Nvidia’s telegraphs Tegra’s woes at CES
    HeyCori likes this.
    03-11-2013 05:45 PM
  9. jhoff80's Avatar
    SemiAccurate does tend to be a little biased against products that Charlie isn't a fan of, so I'd take those posts with a huge grain of salt, myself.

    That being said, the Tegra 3 was a year old when Microsoft launched the Surface RT with it. That's just an eternity for an SoC. I have no doubt that they chose the SoC much earlier, and had already finished the Surface design. I also wouldn't be surprised if companies other than Nvidia who had zero experience with WDDM were having trouble getting stable drivers early on in the process. That being said, the Tegra 3 is blown away in performance by anything even the slightest bit more recent, including the Snapdragon in the higher-end Windows Phone 8 devices, like a5cent mentions.

    It's not that I personally hate it; it's just subpar for a flagship product these days. It'll be much more interesting with Tegra 4 versus the Snapdragon 800 in the next generation of Windows RT devices.
    a5cent likes this.
    03-11-2013 05:54 PM
  10. longcipher's Avatar
    I've owned a Surface RT since launch day. It always felt slow to me, especially when loading up the Mail, Store and News apps. Once the programs were loaded, it generally ran fine -- with the exception of the Mail -- which always was wonky on the Surface. SO -- I recently picked up an HP Envy x2. The difference between the Atom and the Tegra 3 is massive. Everything with the Atom processor loads quickly and runs smoothly. The Mail app runs perfectly now. That's my direct comparison between both chips. YMMV. As for me, I now have a Surface for sale.
    03-11-2013 05:57 PM
  11. a5cent's Avatar
    SemiAccurate does tend to be a little biased against products that Charlie isn't a fan of, so I'd take those posts with a huge grain of salt, myself.
    That may be, but at least in this case, I think Charlie is spot. The first article is actually somewhat older. It details Tegra3, and I don't think any of it can be disputed, even in hindsight.

    Either way, my own opinions on this matter aren't based on these articles. I prefer benchmarks and my own ties to the industry.

    It's not that I personally hate it; it's just subpar for a flagship product these days. It'll be much more interesting with Tegra 4 versus the Snapdragon 800 in the next generation of Windows RT devices.
    I have been using nVidia's graphics cards for years. They're great. Their mobile SoC efforts are an entirely different matter though. I think their 4+1 strategy is ridiculous, but I'll gladly change my mind after Tegra4 based devices hit the market and have been thoroughly tested. The only Tegra4 related information that currently piques my interest is their approach to HDR photography.

    P.S. I'd bet you are right about WDDM
    03-11-2013 06:45 PM
  12. HeyCori's Avatar
    I think Tegra3 is a mediocre piece of silicone. It excels at running some benchmarking suites, and some bloggers are happy to play "marketing department", by testing Tegra3 with exactly those software packages which nVidia recommends, but in real world performance tests, Tegra3 falls short. Tegra3 is a prime example of a product, that is optimized to look good on a spec-sheet, as opposed to being optimized to run tablet and smartphone apps as efficiently as possible. The companion core concept (4+1) is a joke, which might explain why Windows RT doesn't even attempt to take advantage of it.

    On the other hand, the only thing that matters is if it runs the software you use well enough. If it does that, then who cares...

    You may also be interested in these two articles from SemiAccurate (a website that reports on the semiconductor industry):

    Tegra 3 missed performance goals by wide margins
    Nvidia’s telegraphs Tegra’s woes at CES
    Thanks. Both of those were really good reads. I had no idea that Nvidia's track record was so poor. That probably explains why Google jumped chips from the Nexus 7 to the 10. I wonder why MS decided to stick with the T3, assuming they knew how poorly it performed. I can only imagine that Nvidia cut MS one heck of a deal or that MS has some bigger plan in mind that they've yet to reveal (unlikely).
    03-11-2013 06:47 PM
  13. Ruined's Avatar
    I think the Intel Atom Z2760 is a better package. Now its not that the Atom is an i5 in power or anything, but compared to the Tegra3 it has similar-to-better performance and better battery life while also maintaining full backwards x86 compatibility.

    For the limitations presented by RT, you'd think that the Tegra3 would offer a huge advantage, and it does not.
    03-12-2013 01:01 AM
  14. a5cent's Avatar
    I wonder why MS decided to stick with the T3, assuming they knew how poorly it performed. I can only imagine that Nvidia cut MS one heck of a deal or that MS has some bigger plan in mind that they've yet to reveal (unlikely).
    I have ties into the semiconductor industry. I've been told price was a deciding factor, but such decisions are rarely based on a single metric. I wouldn't at all be surprised if jhoff80 is also spot on.
    03-13-2013 06:33 PM
  15. HeyCori's Avatar
    While I am disappointed in the T3's performance, I'm still quite happy with my Surface. The T3's dominance in raw CPU power isn't as apparent as the GPU performance of competing chips. However, it still does many of the important things (like HD videos) with relative ease.



    And while games/apps take longer to load than I like, they work fine once they're opened. My biggest gripe is when I'm outputting to 1080p. There's a very noticeable difference, with the Surface becoming slightly sluggish. Though I've found that metro IE10 greatly outperforms desktop IE10 when using a dual monitor. Of course, that could just be my perception, but sites seemed to definitely load faster with metro. Yet, The Verge takes forever to load. My phone is much faster and I don't know why. Regardless, I'm just happy that I even have the option to output to 1080p.
    03-18-2013 12:37 PM

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