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How does the performance of the iPad 2 compare to the original iPad? How much faster is the iPad 2?
Please note that on March 7, 2012, Apple discontinued the 32 GB and 64 GB configurations of the iPad 2. Apple continues to sell a 16 GB configuration. The original iPad has been discontinued.
The iPad 2 models -- the iPad 2 (Wi-Fi), iPad 2 (Wi-Fi/GSM/A-GPS), and iPad 2 (Wi-Fi/CDMA/A-GPS) -- are powered by a dual core 1 GHz Apple A5 processor compared to a single core 1 GHz Apple A4 processor for the original iPad line. In addition, the iPad 2 has a PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processor that Apple claims is up to nine times faster than the graphics processor in the original.
With a dual core processor and a faster graphics processor as well, it is a safe bet that the iPad 2 is significantly faster than the original iPad. How much faster, however, can only be determined with benchmarks real-world testing.
For a solid general overview of the performance differences between the iPad 2 and the original iPad, Everyi.com's own Ultimate iComparison makes it quick to compare side-by-side Geekbench benchmark averages for each device as well as the original iPad and all iPhone and iPod touch models.
The iPad 2 models return an average Geekbench score of 721. This compares to 454 for the original iPad.
Consequently, overall performance of the iPad 2 is roughly 59% faster than the original iPad.
Third-Party Benchmark Tests
Geekbench is great for an overall estimate of the theoretical maximum performance difference between devices, but other tests can be useful, too.
The CPU and graphics performance of this tablet felt extremely impressive to us -- the iPad 2 performed excellently no matter what we threw at it, games and graphically taxing apps seemed to have higher frame rates, and even when dealing with CPU intensive programs like GarageBand, it rarely (if ever) seemed to be struggling.
In short, the iPad 2 is the fastest iOS device ever made, by a long shot. And it's not just an academic distinction: you can sense the speed when you use it, because everything's faster and smoother than it was on the original iPad.
While we weren't able to reach the 9x figure claimed by Apple (I'm not sure that you'll ever see 9x running real game code), a range of 3 - 7x in GLBenchmark 2.0 is more reasonable. In practice I'd expect something less than 5x but that's nothing to complain about.
Although benchmarks and reviewer commentary are a good way to get an idea of relative performance, a side-by-side video of the two devices may be even better.
This video, from YouTube user DetroitBorg, demonstrates the relative performance difference of the original iPad and the iPad 2 in a variety of applications:
Ultimately, the iPad 2 is significantly faster than the original iPad in benchmark tests and noticeably faster in many day-to-day tasks as well, particularly in graphics-heavy tasks like gaming.