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Raspberry Pi beats iPhone 4S graphics performance

Project hopes to give users "the tools they need to write the next Angry Birds rather than the next Modern Warfare"

Raspberry Pi executive director Eben Upton claims that the graphics core of the $25 credit card sized computer "should double iPhone 4S performance across a range of content".

Speaking to Digital Foundry in an interview published today about how the Broadcom GPU compares to the current state-of-the-art in the mobile sector, Upton enthused about the level of graphical power available to homebrew programmers with the device.

"I was on the team that designed the graphics core, so I'm a little biased here, but I genuinely believe we have the best mobile GPU team in the world at Broadcom in Cambridge," Upton said.

One of the challenges facing kids today is that AAA content is so far beyond what they can reasonably hope to achieve, so casual games provide a nice target.

Eben Upton

"What's really striking is how badly Tegra 2 performs relative even to simple APs using licensed Imagination Technologies (TI and Apple) or ARM Mali (Samsung) graphics. To summarise, BCM2835 has a tile mode architecture - so it kills immediate-mode devices like Tegra on fill-rate - and we've chosen to configure it with a very large amount of shader performance, so it does very well on compute-intensive benchmarks, and should double iPhone 4S performance across a range of content."

Upton believes that the size, scale and scope of AAA development has put games programming out of reach for many enthusiasts and hopes that the rise of mobile gaming and the availability of a cheap, accessible platform could make all the difference.

Games developers and publishers could also play an important role in the success of the Raspberry Pi venture too.

"The games industry has an enormous part to play in solving this problem. We'd like to see companies chip in with tutorials, free asset packs, internships, coding competitions with decent-sized prizes," said Upton.

"One of the challenges facing kids today is that AAA content is so far beyond what they can reasonably hope to achieve, so casual games provide a nice target; this is why we're concentrating on working with companies like YoYo Games to give kids the tools they need to write the next Angry Birds rather than the next Modern Warfare."

Latest comments (5)

Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 4 years ago
If you want to get kids coding, games are the answer. Glad to hear the hardware should match their ambitions.
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Peter Lovell Head of Talent Acquisition, NaturalMotion4 years ago
Another great advert for Cambridge! Its feeling like the centre of the World here right now!
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Carl Crawford Studying Bachelor of Information Technology, Otago Polytehnic4 years ago
I MUST HAVE ONE! I hope they start selling to individuals soon.
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Daniel Harty Audio Capture Specialist, Electronic Arts4 years ago
I think the real key is the availability and quality of learning material and ideas and support. Asset packs and competitions would be very interesting to see and take part in, I'm looking forward to it already!
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Paul Andrew McGee Game Designer 4 years ago
Raspberry Pi is a fantastic venture. I look forward to seeing how it does and hopefully a very positive impact on education in the future (oh and getting my hands on one :) ).
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