We recently pointed readers to a performance comparison between the iPhone 3G S and the iPhone 3G carried out by Daniel Pasco of Black Pixel.  The test application was a pre-release build of Plasma, an application Pasco's group is developing for Tap Tap Tap.  The comparison showed a "starkly apparent" performance advantage to the new iPhone as compared to the 3G unit.

Tap Tap Tap has followed Pasco's post up with a video of Plasma in action, running side by side on the iPhone 3G S and 3G.  The demonstration speaks rather strongly of the potential of Apple's new device.

As Tap Tap Tap concludes,

As the video shows, in our OpenGL ES testing, the 3GS is generally close to four times faster than the 3G. Results will vary depending on the application but this is remarkable to say the least.

Another impressive testament to the power of the iPhone 3G S comes from Ziconic, developer of the roller coaster simulator AirCoaster 3D [App Store].  See their 3G S vs. 3G comparison video.

Rather telling, indeed.

We realize, of course, that this is a game news and review site and that our repeated articles evaluating the performance of the iPhone 3G S may weight heavy on some readers, but we feel that the iPhone 3G S represents so notable a jump in hardware performance that its potential to game developers and gamers alike should not be understated.

And, while these performance benchmarks show the new device in a rather impressive light, it's not until developers begin to directly utilize the Open GL ES 2.0-compatible programmable pipeline of the iPhone 3G S that we will really begin to see the limts of the new hardware.  And developers should be soundly motivated to make the new hardware dance -- Apple has just announced that over 1 million iPhone 3G S units were sold during its opening weekend.

  • Phreakuency

    Impressive yeah but it's not really the graphics power that stops the iPhone/iPod becoming a decent gaming system, it's lack of good controls.

    Some games just cannot be played well enough with touch or tilt controls.

    • Adams Immersive

      And a great can be played just great, and some can be played much BETTER than on other devices.

      The iPhone/iPod IS a decent, even outstanding, gaming system already.

      And Apple's turnkey push system brings a new dimension:

      * You have one device that's already with you (not an extra thing to leave in a drawer, like a PSP or DS)

      * It can hold a hundred or more of your favorite games on it all at ONCE, with no sack of game cartridges to keep track of

      * It's always (or very often) online for multiplayer

      * And ANY of your games can receive an match invitation via push, even when none of them are running! (It's almost like ALL hundred games are running all the time, waiting for a match. Try that with "real" multitasking!)

      I look forward to what devs do with this push option. It's one solution to an age-old problem: nobody's online to play! So you quit and give up. But now you can invite your friends (or strangers) to play any game--even the one that's been sitting dormant for a month. It no longer matters as much how many people are playing "right now." It matters how many people OWN the game and are accepting invitations.

      • Adams Immersive

        Missing word: "And a great many can be played just great"

  • Phreakuency

    Impressive yeah but it's not really the graphics power that stops the iPhone/iPod becoming a decent gaming system, it's lack of good controls.

    Some games just cannot be played well enough with touch or tilt controls.

    • Adams Immersive

      And a great can be played just great, and some can be played much BETTER than on other devices.

      The iPhone/iPod IS a decent, even outstanding, gaming system already.

      And Apple's turnkey push system brings a new dimension:

      * You have one device that's already with you (not an extra thing to leave in a drawer, like a PSP or DS)

      * It can hold a hundred or more of your favorite games on it all at ONCE, with no sack of game cartridges to keep track of

      * It's always (or very often) online for multiplayer

      * And ANY of your games can receive an match invitation via push, even when none of them are running! (It's almost like ALL hundred games are running all the time, waiting for a match. Try that with "real" multitasking!)

      I look forward to what devs do with this push option. It's one solution to an age-old problem: nobody's online to play! So you quit and give up. But now you can invite your friends (or strangers) to play any game--even the one that's been sitting dormant for a month. It no longer matters as much how many people are playing "right now." It matters how many people OWN the game and are accepting invitations.

      • Adams Immersive

        Missing word: "And a great many can be played just great"

  • npa189

    while the 3GS and its new, faster, hardware maybe really cool, devs can't forget all 40 million customers without the faster chips, making a 3GS only game would be suicide.

    • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

      This is my main concern. I hope they don't start making 3G S-only games.

    • samual

      hahahaha welcome, get introduced to Apple.

      Apple cares $hyit for their loyal customers. trust me, they will no longer approve any apps that are developed for older iPhone.

      Because, if they could, they would not have left old 3G without video recording even with 3.0 OS update.

      The hardware (camera module) is there, but $FKUC they care, they PURPOSEFULLY blocked old 3G from recording video....

      and you expect they will approve apps developed for old 3G?

      hahahaha welcome to the real Apple World.

      I m a FKUED Apple Customer

      • http://www.christowlson.com toph

        That's crap, the 3G cannot do video even half as good as the 3GS! The frame rate is terrible. Apple are not microsoft! They won't release (or try not to anyway) something if it doesn't work as well as they would like.

        Furthermore, they are still going to approve games for the 3G, they are still selling the phone!

        Toph.

  • npa189

    while the 3GS and its new, faster, hardware maybe really cool, devs can't forget all 40 million customers without the faster chips, making a 3GS only game would be suicide.

    • http://www.hbdia.com IzzyNobre

      This is my main concern. I hope they don't start making 3G S-only games.

    • samual

      hahahaha welcome, get introduced to Apple.

      Apple cares $hyit for their loyal customers. trust me, they will no longer approve any apps that are developed for older iPhone.

      Because, if they could, they would not have left old 3G without video recording even with 3.0 OS update.

      The hardware (camera module) is there, but $FKUC they care, they PURPOSEFULLY blocked old 3G from recording video....

      and you expect they will approve apps developed for old 3G?

      hahahaha welcome to the real Apple World.

      I m a FKUED Apple Customer

      • http://www.christowlson.com toph

        That's crap, the 3G cannot do video even half as good as the 3GS! The frame rate is terrible. Apple are not microsoft! They won't release (or try not to anyway) something if it doesn't work as well as they would like.

        Furthermore, they are still going to approve games for the 3G, they are still selling the phone!

        Toph.

  • Stanley

    Very cool! Hopefully the mighty graphics and processing power won't a encourage a generation of sloppy, bloated applications.

    Sometimes limited hardware capabilities can force nimble developers to design with even greater inventiveness and innovation than usual.

    http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=MacPaint_Evolution.txt

  • Stanley

    Very cool! Hopefully the mighty graphics and processing power won't a encourage a generation of sloppy, bloated applications.

    Sometimes limited hardware capabilities can force nimble developers to design with even greater inventiveness and innovation than usual.

    http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=MacPaint_Evolution.txt

  • http://www.sleekgames.net Psionic

    Not surprising at all. The memory upgrade is also killer. You have you remember that only around 40mb is available at the best of times (clean boot) to developers for the previous devices.

    128-40 = 88 used by system

    Now the 3GS has 256mb, so:
    256 - 88 = 168 available for developers.

    168 / 40 = 4.2

    So in fact, there's *over 4x the amount of available memory on the 3GS*. It's not 2x at all.. it's over 4x! Which is pretty huge.

    Regarding controls, yes.. there's no dpad/analog stick. However, it's coming, and if there's a dual analog accessory that comes out that fits the touch/phone, it'll have better controls than even the psp.

    And, in the meantime, you'll see new concepts that can only be done w/ a touchscreen. Think of what TouchGrind does, for example.

    Chris.

    • http://starscenesoftware.com Eric5h5

      Yep...practically speaking, the increase in the amount of memory is much larger than people usually give credit for. The only annoying thing about 256MB in the 3GS is that all devices should have had 256MB from the beginning; things just barely work with 128MB, and "just barely working" doesn't seem good enough coming from Apple. After all it's not a computer where you can just add more RAM yourself....

  • http://www.sleekgames.net Psionic

    Not surprising at all. The memory upgrade is also killer. You have you remember that only around 40mb is available at the best of times (clean boot) to developers for the previous devices.

    128-40 = 88 used by system

    Now the 3GS has 256mb, so:
    256 - 88 = 168 available for developers.

    168 / 40 = 4.2

    So in fact, there's *over 4x the amount of available memory on the 3GS*. It's not 2x at all.. it's over 4x! Which is pretty huge.

    Regarding controls, yes.. there's no dpad/analog stick. However, it's coming, and if there's a dual analog accessory that comes out that fits the touch/phone, it'll have better controls than even the psp.

    And, in the meantime, you'll see new concepts that can only be done w/ a touchscreen. Think of what TouchGrind does, for example.

    Chris.

    • http://starscenesoftware.com Eric5h5

      Yep...practically speaking, the increase in the amount of memory is much larger than people usually give credit for. The only annoying thing about 256MB in the 3GS is that all devices should have had 256MB from the beginning; things just barely work with 128MB, and "just barely working" doesn't seem good enough coming from Apple. After all it's not a computer where you can just add more RAM yourself....

  • thegoat

    So what are the chances of an official gamepad accessory? Or at least could developers unite together and put their weight behind a standard all could embrace? iphone/touch + app store + buttons = handheld domination.

  • thegoat

    So what are the chances of an official gamepad accessory? Or at least could developers unite together and put their weight behind a standard all could embrace? iphone/touch + app store + buttons = handheld domination.

  • dave

    "articles evaluating the performance of the iPhone 3G S" are entirely relevant to game and phone purchases. Dont stop

  • dave

    "articles evaluating the performance of the iPhone 3G S" are entirely relevant to game and phone purchases. Dont stop

  • -.-

    It is obviosly that the 3G[s] is better than the 3G...Why make that competition, which makes the 3G bad?!

    I have a 3G and i love it...I can do everything without problems and don't need a faster device for playing plasma...cuz in my opinion the app plasma of tap tap tap is a massiv app with much senseless things that are to heavy for the 3G...the 3G[s] is a great device with more oportunitities cuz its faster and better...please let the 3G be and don't make the 3G bad..:( it makes me sad to see those videos cuz the 3G isn't bad....-.-

    sry for my english

  • -.-

    It is obviosly that the 3G[s] is better than the 3G...Why make that competition, which makes the 3G bad?!

    I have a 3G and i love it...I can do everything without problems and don't need a faster device for playing plasma...cuz in my opinion the app plasma of tap tap tap is a massiv app with much senseless things that are to heavy for the 3G...the 3G[s] is a great device with more oportunitities cuz its faster and better...please let the 3G be and don't make the 3G bad..:( it makes me sad to see those videos cuz the 3G isn't bad....-.-

    sry for my english

  • Henrique

    That's all very nice, but, please, can we know the model of the GPU that's tucked inside the 3GS? I know it's "a PowerVR SGX", but seeing as the SGX line goes from 3Million Triangles/second to 35Million Triangles/second, it would be nice to know if this device will have a shot at "PSP-like" graphics.
    I need to know this, because I'm torn between getting this or waiting for the (probably) faster Touch 3G.

    • http://www.scifly2.com Josh Rosen

      The hardware of the iPhone 3G S is no doubt more powerful than the PSP. However, the PSP has much more big-budget developers supporting it. These big-budget games are needed to utilize the hardware of the 3G S to its fullest.

      However, the iPhone is catching up really quick. Gameloft/Glu/EA/ngmoco will definitely be making games which blow the PSP away in the near future.

      Hopefully I will too, but it's going to be a challenge for me to do it alone.

  • Henrique

    That's all very nice, but, please, can we know the model of the GPU that's tucked inside the 3GS? I know it's "a PowerVR SGX", but seeing as the SGX line goes from 3Million Triangles/second to 35Million Triangles/second, it would be nice to know if this device will have a shot at "PSP-like" graphics.
    I need to know this, because I'm torn between getting this or waiting for the (probably) faster Touch 3G.

    • http://www.scifly2.com Josh Rosen

      The hardware of the iPhone 3G S is no doubt more powerful than the PSP. However, the PSP has much more big-budget developers supporting it. These big-budget games are needed to utilize the hardware of the 3G S to its fullest.

      However, the iPhone is catching up really quick. Gameloft/Glu/EA/ngmoco will definitely be making games which blow the PSP away in the near future.

      Hopefully I will too, but it's going to be a challenge for me to do it alone.

  • Dylan

    Looking at the first video it just looks like bad coding
    Unneccesary calculations that can be fixed

    Just look at an app like Racing Shop one of the most amasing graphics I have seen on the iphone

  • Dylan

    Looking at the first video it just looks like bad coding
    Unneccesary calculations that can be fixed

    Just look at an app like Racing Shop one of the most amasing graphics I have seen on the iphone

  • http://www.scifly2.com Josh Rosen

    These comparisons are impressive, but I think the true power of the 3G S wont be shown until games (or at least practical graphics demos) with OpenGL ES 2.0 features are shown. I think this should be happening pretty soon. 1M units was much more than I was expecting. I was expecting something around 300k. I wonder what the sales charts of the original 3G compare now that its price has gone down to $99.

    Just a thought -
    Perhaps there will be a second era of hardware unification when the iPhone is finally supported by Verizon/etc. At that point, all new iDevices will be ES 2.0 capable which should be enough to flood the 40M existing 1.1 devices.

  • http://www.scifly2.com Josh Rosen

    These comparisons are impressive, but I think the true power of the 3G S wont be shown until games (or at least practical graphics demos) with OpenGL ES 2.0 features are shown. I think this should be happening pretty soon. 1M units was much more than I was expecting. I was expecting something around 300k. I wonder what the sales charts of the original 3G compare now that its price has gone down to $99.

    Just a thought -
    Perhaps there will be a second era of hardware unification when the iPhone is finally supported by Verizon/etc. At that point, all new iDevices will be ES 2.0 capable which should be enough to flood the 40M existing 1.1 devices.

  • swarmster

    Why are there no 3G S comparisons being made against the previous top-of-the-heap performer, the iPod touch 2g? If you're concerned about keeping the focus on gaming, why limit yourself to only the models with cellular radios?

    If the 3G S is 4x as fast as the 3G, how much faster is it than the iPod 2g? 2x? 1.5x?

  • swarmster

    Why are there no 3G S comparisons being made against the previous top-of-the-heap performer, the iPod touch 2g? If you're concerned about keeping the focus on gaming, why limit yourself to only the models with cellular radios?

    If the 3G S is 4x as fast as the 3G, how much faster is it than the iPod 2g? 2x? 1.5x?

  • cir

    lol this proves as much as peneatbutter fish cream

  • cir

    lol this proves as much as peneatbutter fish cream

  • Sufy

    Wow the iphone 3GS is awesome. I really want one. Now the 3GS is a proper gaming device. I don't even need a PSP or a DS casue the iphone 3GS puts the DS and the PSP to shame.

  • Sufy

    Wow the iphone 3GS is awesome. I really want one. Now the 3GS is a proper gaming device. I don't even need a PSP or a DS casue the iphone 3GS puts the DS and the PSP to shame.

  • James

    I was wondering how the price drop will affect the ipod touch due to the fact the iphone is bundled in the same catagorie as the ipod touch.

  • James

    I was wondering how the price drop will affect the ipod touch due to the fact the iphone is bundled in the same catagorie as the ipod touch.

  • Skip

    Apples probably going to make the iTouch 3rd gen faster than the 3gs

  • Skip

    Apples probably going to make the iTouch 3rd gen faster than the 3gs