iPad 2 ‘About Half’ As Powerful As Xbox 360, PS3

iPad 2 ‘About Half’ As Powerful As Xbox 360, PS3

The iPad 2 is “about half” as powerful as modern games consoles like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, according to graphics genius John Carmack.

In an interview with Tom’s Hardware, Id Software’s John Carmack — one of the most knowledgeable, influential and affable graphics programmers of the last 20 years — spoke at great length about the power of mobile hardware (and more) with Tom’s Guide.

We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to mobile development. We have more power than you can afford to take advantage of. We can afford to put all of this optimization effort into the consoles because we know that we’re going to make tens of millions of dollars by doing all of this, and while there are a few iOS apps that have made money like that, you don’t go into making an iOS app expecting to make tens of millions of dollars, and you also wouldn’t want to spend the extra year hyper-optimizing things. But they are so powerful already that you don’t need to, and that’s obviously going to be getting much better still, where you’ve got the quad-core CPUs and the crazy graphics hardware. There’s been incorrect hyperbole about the power of these devices, where people are saying that they have console-level performance. The iPad 2 has about half the performance power, and that’s a ballpark estimate. But that does mean that mobile devices coming out, certainly next year, will be flat out more powerful, and they’ll probably be powerful enough where you don’t even need the hyper-optimizing, that you could do a fairly easy port-over of your technology and assets. The biggest issue is going to be total distribution and storage space.

Interview: id Software’s John Carmack [Tom’s Guide]


  • Half as powerful as a 6-7 year old console, pretty much what I expect from Apple. How’s the price doing on that ‘amazing’ piece of hardware?

    • A device a few mm’s thin, half as powerful as the current generation of consoles? Dude.. drop the nerd-rage and enjoy the fact its 2011. Pretty amazing if you ask me 🙂 (also, the price seems to be just fine)

      • Hah, nerd rage, hardly. My PC stomps the dogmeat outta the consoles, I have nothing to be concerned with.

        Honestly, I feel sorry for all the idiots out there, suckered into buying a bright shiny, that amounts to a turd with a ribbon around it.

        • I somewhat doubt the ability of anyone who boasts about their PC to actually understand the way the other 99% of the world thinks, so this is probably a bit of a lost cause.

          haha nerds LOVE that phrase ‘suckered into’ buying! Next you’ll be busting out the classic ‘My rig cost less to build than a tablet and can do so much more’

          • lol, no, my rig cost $2300 to build. Time and effort very very well spent.

            Suckered, is correct. People who have no clue about the internals of the gizmos they buy, seeing only the hype machine, is certainly what is referred to as ‘suckered’.

          • No, we simply don’t have the time or inclination to care about what’s inside our tablets or computers.

            I’m not sure why nerds have this obsession with ‘the hype machine’, it’s this weird infantile anger that everyone else likes something and you don’t, and it’s something in the genere that you deeply care about – but no-one else is actually caring about the same factors that you are.

            Guys that are into upgrading cars don’t get really pissy about people ‘getting on the hype machine and buying a new Getz because they like the look of the headlights’.

          • I don’t get annoyed that people buy over-priced iProducts like there’s no tomorrow.
            I get annoyed when they buy over-priced iProducts and arrogantly get indignant when I show no sign of jealousy or ‘respect’ for the shiny thing they just bought… but that really doesn’t have anything to do with the product itself. That’s just somebody being pushy 😛

            It doesn’t matter what’s inside an iPad or an iAnything for that matter. They sell because they are a ‘status-gadget’ and people who want others to look at them and be impressed will buy them every single time. They also sell to parents and doe-eyed teenagers who know zilch about anything they buy, other than ‘give me what everyone else buys’. Then some of us who actually care about the details get better products that deliver more ‘bang per buck’ and that’s all there is to it.
            Some people care and others just want to look hip and not have to think about anything they don’t care about. Fine by me… it’s their money, not mine.

            So, yeah…
            Really no need for arguments, folks.

          • speaking of ‘bang per buck’ technology, I wonder how much they spend on the shitty things we use here at work 😛

            I have no idea how my comment ended up as a reply… but there ya go, it happened

  • And thats fine because if you are a gamer you have a PS3 or 360. You don’t buy an iPad for just the games if you are a gamer.

      • Probably to make sense to the technology challenged. The old ‘it’s almost as good as one of these big things with lots of fans, but it’s small and sexy and everyone wants one’.

        • hahaha ‘the technology challenged’. You’ve got it around the wrong way mate. I, and most people, will never give a shit what kind of processor or memory or parsecs of unobtainium is in my iPad or my PS3, I just care that it looks nice and feels good to use. Perhaps you should see it the other way that you are the ‘technology gifted’.

          • No, it’s only sad for people that think using computer devices and knowing about how they work should somehow be related. For the rest of us computers are just things we use everyday but don’t really care how they work inside. I don’t care what the stroke length of the pistons is in my car or what viscosity the oil is, I just want to press the pedals and go where I want to go.

      • Comparison was made just because you can game on the iPads – although as you can imagine its not a fair comparison for both sides.

        Actually im more surprised that its anywhere near PS3 or 360s’s considering they are machines born and bred to be a pure gaming console.

        The PS3 was made a couple of years ago but it was meant to last for at least a decade. While ipads pretty much come out every year – and we get android tablet releases thrice a year?

        So you can expect portable devices to rival PS3/360’s graphic quality in a couple of years and you can definitely expect the next-next gen console to perform even better. Ah good times.

      • Because as the market space grows for tablet computing environment, the more money will be going towards those platforms for gaming.

        Mark my words. In 5-10 years console gamer’s much like PC gamer’s of today will be complaining about the “tabletisation”/”smartphoneification” of the core gaming market and will be forced to swallow poorly optimized ports with busted controls meant for the tablet platform. Sounds ridiculous but have a look at the gaming landscape in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, people out right scoffed at the idea of shooters and large scale RPG’s moving to the console realm.

        • Um, the PS3 was released 5 years ago, which means it was actually made at least 6 months before then.

          I’m actually more surprised they haven’t matched, or topped 5 year old consoles, running on 2 generations old GPU design. It doesn’t really speak very highly of Apple.

      • Face it. PC’s suck. You must be the bespectacled nerd sitting at the back of the class, hence your pent up rage for the cool kids who can afford mac’s. Nobody needs to listen to your cliched and frankly boring comments regarding Apple products. Apple makes premium products and frankly im glad a loser like u don’t get to taint their image by being seen with a SHINY SWANKY APPLE PRODUCT.

        • I’m 32, and have been gaming since Colecovision. No, I won’t make any stupid assertions about your age, because I could honestly care less. That, and old people get suckered into buying crap too.

          My PC cost more than 4 times than that of an Ipad, so I there goes your whole budget theory. Fortunately for me, I chose the option that has THE most product support, and variety of hardware. To say nothing of actually being able to upgrade everything inside of it, without having to send it back, or buy a new one.

          Yes, Windows based PC’s suck, that’s why they own the market, by FAR. Good research on that one, Sir. You definitely fit the Mac-user stereotype.

          • Ah yes but the rest of the world couldn’t think of anything worse than ‘upgrading everything’ inside their computer. The user experience of a Windows PC’s is just awful for most people, but realistically there was no alternative for about two decades, thankfully that is now changing and we are seeing computers designed for people not for nerds.

          • i think its not so much about the fact that there are ‘new kids on the block’ so to speak, buying out all the iCrap, but its that those people claim ignorance over the inner working of their machines, then turn around and say that PC’s suck? time to make up their minds i think, either be the person who doesnt give a shit, or actually do the research and compare PCs to Macs then make an opinion. a ‘swanky shiny new’ whatever isnt a good enough reason to argue with me about why my $800 beast PC shits on your $1800 mac. AND if you only cared about looks/UI then you could still turn a PC into a mac themed one with very little effort.

          • PC’s don’t suck, they are just more suited to people like yourself. People who are so into computers that they call their computer a ‘beast’. For the average person or the industry professional that doesn’t have time to worry about the internal details of the tool they use, I think a Mac is better suited. Your comment about user experience being condensed to a mere ‘theme’ pretty much sums up why you guys and the people who make software/hardware for you are going to become the minority this decade (thank god).

          • i agree with you in that when someone asks me if they should buy a PC or a Mac, i always say depends if you want to have more control over what you do with the computer, Macs are more ‘user friendly’ *shudders*. People dig that though and thats fine, i get that not everyone gives a shit how much RAM they have or whatever. but i still dont get how they dont mind overpaying so much for the hardware, when in fact it isnt anything better than you would get in a PC half the price. Also i wasnt condensing user experience into a theme i was stating that for the people that actually buy macs because ‘they look better’ AND THESE PEOPLE EXIST, there are many ways to replicate this with a PC. You must be joking if you think PCs or PC users are going to die. Go into any serious software development firm and say that they should all switch to macs they will laugh at you. People want options and customization. and it doesnt get more customizable than a PC. Macs you have to send away for all sorts of crap

          • Hahaha the very fact that you shudder at the idea of ‘user friendly’ disqualifies you from having a reasonable discussion about consumer products. It cracks me up that you guys have such a hatred for people liking the way things look, then again… is this a common theme in your lives?

            Once again you keep going back to ‘overpaying’ for hardware – if you decide to buy something you are not overpaying, you are paying. You need to try and understand that people are not thinking about buying the components INSIDE the device, they are thinking about buying the device. I’d happily pay another 500 dollars for the body of my computer to be made out of a single metal mould, for example – is that ‘overpaying?’

            I highly dispute your ‘serious software development firm’ concept. I work at a ‘serious software development firm’ in the Aus games industry and we use almost all macs – we don’t have time to bugger around ‘customising’ things we’d rather get on with using the tools.

    • and its a different type of device that does different things. ‘That light aircraft is half as powerful as my truck, yet costs twice as much’

    • Yeah but the iPad/tablets have their own screen and are much thinner. Not to mention in order to play a console you need to also buy some sort of monitor/tv, so it’s not fair to say it costs twice as much. Plus you can play the tablets on the go if you wanted to.

  • Half the power of the current generation consoles.

    1/10th the power of next generation consoles.

    1/20th the power of a PC today.

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