Basemark debuts enhanced mobile device benchmark

The new GPUScore: The Expedition includes variable rate shading.

Qualcomm led the industry in introducing variable rate shading (VRS) with the Snapdragon 888 last September. Apple filed a patent on VRS in 2019, Samsung has it in their GPU, and Arm’s Immortalis-G715 introduced it in June of this year. With all that development, someone had to test it. Who better than the folks at Basemark?

So, Basemark launched its second GPUScore graphics benchmark, called The Expedition. The Expedition targets high-end smartphones and other mobile devices running on Android or iOS. It exercises the latest mobile GPU technologies such as VRS on devices that offer it. As for graphics APIs, The Expedition is compatible with Vulkan and Metal. The Expedition uses state-of-the-art rendering algorithms, similar to those used in the latest mobile games. The Expedition runs exactly the same content regardless of hardware and operating system in every run to obtain a GPUScore. This combination makes the test results truly comparable with high accuracy and reliability.

Screenshot from Basemark’s new VRS benchmark for mobile. (Source: Basemark)

“Professionally designed benchmark applications, such as GPUScore: The Expedition, fill a special need in the world. They’re designed to offer a reliable, repeatable, and comparable deep performance analysis. This is something that cannot be achieved using real-world applications, such as games since they usually include optimized code paths for certain GPUs; for example, they can use different shadow calculation algorithms for GPUs from different vendors,” said Tero Sarkkinen, founder and CEO of Basemark. “This means that making a fair performance comparison is impossible, since different GPUs are, in fact, running different things, often resulting in different renderings and image qualities. At Basemark, we recommend independent observers to use a collection of tests, ranging from real-world applications to professional benchmarks such as GPUScore: The Expedition.”

Basemark seeks to replicate a laboratory-like environment to help the media and websites perform unbiased quality tests, and hardware manufacturers to develop high-quality graphics devices with The Expedition functioning as a quality assurance tool. At the same time, The Expedition functions as a quality assurance tool for consumers who seek smartphones with the best graphics performance.

Basemark’s GPUScore was developed with industry leaders that are members of Basemark’s benchmark development program, such as Samsung, Nvidia, MediaTek, Imagination, Broadcom, Arm, and Qualcomm. Close cooperation with the industry leaders ensures benchmark quality, correct performance measurements, and usage of the latest technologies in the graphics industry.

The Expedition is available for consumers to download in the App Store and Google Play store.

What do we think?

The difference in graphics performance between desktops and mobile devices is getting narrower, as consumers want smartphones and other mobile devices with superior graphics performance (see “Esports moves to mobile”).  Consequently, graphics processors used in handheld devices are rapidly evolving. This raises the importance of new graphics performance benchmarks that test the latest devices correctly. Relevant measurements give the consumers an accurate understanding of the graphics performance, which is a major selling point. Basemark has been one of the leading developers of GPU benchmarks, and this new test is in keeping with their commitment.