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Benchmarks rate Apple's iPad 2x as fast at apps as iPhone 3GS

Despite apparently using the same single core, Cortex A8 generation of its ARM processor core, the same Power VR SGX 535 graphics core, and the same amount of system RAM, the iPad is around twice as fast as the iPhone 3GS in running native Cocoa Touch apps.

The benchmarks, published by Twitterific developer Craig Hockenberry, compared the performance of iPad running iPhone OS 3.2 against a stock iPhone 3GS running version 3.0.

Overall, the tests assigned iPad a performance edge of between 1.5 and 3.9 times better results. "On average," Hockenberry wrote, "the iPad is about twice as fast as the iPhone 3GS when executing native (Cocoa Touch) applications. Great news for developers, because it gives us much more flexibility when creating our apps."

JavaScript performance was up as well, although with slightly less of a jump, ranging from 1.2 to 2.4 times the improvement.

Compared to the original iPhone running 2.0 software, iPad's increase in performance ranged from 12 to 8,750 times as fast in the same battery of tests.

What makes it faster?

Users observing the remarkably faster performance of iPad's user interface originally guessed that the new device was packing a much faster generation of ARM technology, or perhaps multiple cores, or perhaps much more system RAM. But recent revelations by iFixit and others have indicated that none of those specifications have changed over last year's iPhone 3GS.

What has appeared to change, according to David Carey, vice president of technical intelligence at UBM TechInsights, is that "the DRAMs used in the iPad read and write data in 64-bit chunks."

The Wall Street Journal report citing Carey said this was "one potential reason why reviewers have called the iPad surprisingly fast."

"That helps it move a lot of data a lot faster," Carey told the Journal. "You are getting two to three times as many bits as would be characteristic in such products."

Additionally, while Apple's A4 SoC used by iPad is understood to incorporate on the Cortex A8 generation of ARM cores, its likely that Apple has introduced its own optimizations to accelerate how apps run, leveraging its expertise as the iPhone OS' software development creator.