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How much faster is the iPod touch 3rd Gen (Late 2009) than the iPod touch 2nd Gen in "real-world" use?
Apple officially declares that the 32 GB and 64 GB configurations of the iPod touch 3rd Gen (Late 2009) provide "up to 50 percent faster performance" than the iPod touch 2nd Gen and "support for even better graphics with OpenGL ES 2.0". The 8 GB configuration of the iPod touch 3G, on the other hand, essentially is the same as the 8 GB configuration of the iPod touch 2nd Gen re-released with a lower price.
Although Apple releases no official specifications for the iPod touch 3rd Gen, third-party teardowns indicate that it has a significantly faster Samsung ARM processor (800 MHz up from 533 MHz), and a faster PowerVR SGX graphics processor as well as twice the RAM (256 MB up from 128 MB).
Consequently, it would not be unreasonable to expect the iPod touch 3rd Gen to be "up to 50 percent faster" but only real-world tests can reveal the speed difference for sure.
In some cases the new touch completed tasks in less than half the time it took the original second-generation model, and in every test the new touch easily bested its predecessor.
But it's not just in benchmarks such as these where the new iPod wins out. Just as the iPhone 3GS was faster than the iPhone 3G at everything, the new iPod touch feels much faster at any task you throw at it: applications launch (and quit) faster, Web pages load more quickly, processor-intensive games and programs perform better -- you name it.
While also noting a general performance boost, the always excellent iLounge went a step further with a "quick-and-dirty" video of the iPod touch 2nd Gen (top) and iPod touch 3rd Gen (bottom) that demonstrates the performance difference quite clearly in "real-world" use:
Ultimately, the 32 GB and 64 GB configurations of the iPod touch 3rd Gen are noticeably faster in day-to-day use and can be substantially faster for graphics-intensive applications (like games). Up to 50 percent faster definitely is a reasonable estimate.