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iPhone 14 Pro beats Steam Deck in Basemark’s new GPU benchmark

Why it matters: Several popular programs help users and businesses benchmark various devices on different operating systems. However, seeing one benchmark make direct comparisons across hardware, OSs, and vastly different product tiers is rare. Basemark’s latest test promises to do just that, with intriguing results in certain areas.

Basemark claims its latest graphics benchmarking software — GPUScore: Sacred Path — is the first to offer cross-platform comparisons. It lets users and businesses directly compare the horsepower of Windows systems, Android devices, iPhones, and more.

Typically, benchmark systems only compare PCs, PC components, or mobile devices of the same type for obvious apples-to-apples lineups. Users tend to upload their results to websites like Geekbench, where others can compare them, while developers use them for optimization.

Basemark’s two prior benchmarks fit this purpose – one only for PCs and one only for mobile devices. Sacred Path, instead, runs identical workloads on Windows (10 or 11), macOS (Monterey or later), Android (11 or newer), iOS (15 or newer), Ubuntu (20.04 LTS or later), and Linux Flatpak systems.

Hundreds of public Sacred Path results ranking computers, mobiles, and other devices are currently available on Powerboard 4.0. Predictably, high-end PCs with recent flagship graphics cards like the RTX 3090 occupy all the top spots, but the middle ranges are where things get interesting.

Average scores for the 5th generation iPad Pro and Apple’s new in-house silicon appear next to PCs running mature mid-range graphics cards like the GTX 960 or 1050. Internal tests at Toms Hardware revealed perhaps the most surprising result, with the iPad 14 Pro (1837) edging out the Steam Deck (1828).

Of course, these tests don’t hold the same weight as professional CPU and GPU benchmarks. Comparing wholly different systems introduces additional factors like overhead from operating systems and graphics APIs. Even a single game will differ between platforms depending on the developer’s optimizations.

Tweaks players and developers make for Steam Deck performance are worlds apart from what iOS developers do to support multiple iPhone models. However, benchmarks like Sacred Path facilitate such internal optimizations for developers.

Sacred Path has a few modes to run the test under different conditions. Users can run the official benchmark at 1440p, each system’s native screen resolution, or with Variable Rate Shading. Unofficial custom benchmarks let users tweak various settings or run a smooth “experience mode.”

The technical features in Sacred Path include off-screen grid rendering for framerates beyond the GPU driver’s limits, Physically Based Rendering in an HDR pipeline, Image-Based Lighting, Ground Truth Ambient Occlusion, Temporal Anti-Aliasing, volumetric lighting, and bone animations. The free version automatically uploads results to Powerboard 4.0, while the corporate version offers more configuration options and lets companies keep results private.

Those interested can download versions of GPUScore: Sacred Path for all platforms from Basemark or our mirror.

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