CPU Performance

While there’s a great deal of ground to cover on the tablet as a whole, one of the most interesting aspects of the Nexus 9 is the SoC. While we’ve tested Tegra K1 before, we were looking at the more traditional Cortex A15 variant. The Denver variant (Tegra13x) is mostly similar to Tegra K1-32 (Tegra12x), but instead the CPU cores are a radically different design. In order to get an idea for how this translates into real world we can look at a few of our standard benchmarks in this area, although Google Octane couldn’t complete a full run. This build of Android clearly has AArch64 active, which means that we should be able to directly compare the Nexus 9 to the iPad Air 2 for performance.

SunSpider 1.0.2 Benchmark  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT (Chrome/Safari/IE)

BaseMark OS II - Overall

BaseMark OS II - System

BaseMark OS II - Memory

BaseMark OS II - Graphics

BaseMark OS II - Web

As one can see, at least at this stage in development the Nexus 9 can show some level of promise at times, but can be a bit disappointing in others. In SunSpider, Denver is generally even slower than Krait. However, in a benchmark like Kraken the Nexus 9 easily pulls ahead to take the top spot. In Basemark OS II the Nexus 9 does well overall but this seems to be due to its graphics performance/GPU performance and storage performance rather than CPU-bound tests like the system and web tests. It seems that when the code morphing systems works as expected, Denver can deliver significant amounts of performance. However, when such code morphing falls flat its true performance with a dual core, 2.3 GHz configuration is around that of a four Krait core CPU system at similar clock speeds. Once again, it's important to emphasize that this build is far from complete so performance should improve across the board with launch software. The fact that Tegra13x can approach A8X in CPU performance in some tests is definitely interesting to see.

Battery Life

While Denver's performance is a bit mixed, it's worth taking a look at battery life to see how Denver performs in these areas. As always, our battery life tests are all run with the display calibrated to 200 nits.

Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

While an early build, it seems that the Nexus 9 is reasonably competitive in battery life but I'm not sure that these results are perfectly accurate. At any rate, efficiency at this stage seems to be par for the course, which should bode well for shipping software. This is a mostly display-bound test though, so we'll look at Basemark OS II to get a better idea for compute-bound battery life.

BaseMark OS II Battery Life

BaseMark OS II Battery Score

As one can see, while the battery life of the Nexus 9 ends up on the bottom for phablets and tablets, the overall performance during the test is quite high. We're working on a better comparison for the final review, but this should give a good idea of what to expect in general.


Introduction GPU Performance and Initial Conclusions
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • tipoo - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    Maybe I spoke too soon, seeing the benchmarks, it seems to ping between great and average. Joshua, think what I said is coming into effect with spaghetti code?
  • abhaxus - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    Well, in the article he points out that the firmware is nearly two months old. I imagine there are more optimizations in the release FW.
  • tipoo - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    Yeah, hopefully it's all in the software. The CPU looks great when it does well, and the GPU absolutely is killer.
  • Dribble - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    When other sites are getting full reviews up anandtech can only manage a half hearted preview using an ancient build?

    What's happened?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    The final firmware builds were supposedly pushed Sunday afternoon via OTA. Can't comment on what other sites do but our review will be on that firmware, and understandably it's impossible to do a review within 24 hours.
  • melgross - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    I wouldn't expect to much of a gain. A few percent here and there most likely.
  • tential - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    So go read those reviews then?
    Wait, you still came here to complain about anandtech's review not being up?

    I'm going to guess it's the same reason I came here to see if anandtech's review was up. Because I wanted a more in-depth review. Depth takes time obviously so I guess we'll have to wait.
  • edwpang - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    True, some reviews from other sites contains even less information than this preview. If Anandtech posts a review too quickly without fully testing the hardware, a lot more people will complain.
  • chizow - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    I guess it also really depends what you consider a "full review". Personally I think AnandTech is the only site that actually tries to do a comprehensive performance review from a true tech enthusiasts point of view.

    Now compare with these other consumer tech gadget sites that throw up 3 benchmarks for 3 devices with another 2500 words of subjective filler regarding aesthetics that anyone who walked into a Best Buy could ascertain on their own.
  • dragonsqrrl - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    I'll wait for quality analysis. As the article stated the final firmware has only been available for a day, so that should tell you something about the "full reviews" you love so much.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now