GLBenchmark pitted a few tablet processors against each other in a speed showdown, and Apple’s custom-designed A5 chip in the iPad 2 handily beats Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor, used in competing tablets like the Motorola Xoom. A few analysts are saying that it’s the size that matters in this case — Apple’s chip is bigger than the Tegra 2 by more than twice the size, and that allows Apple to pull off some better benchmarks, even though the two chips are relatively the same in terms of specifications. Usually, of course, a bigger chip would mess with the design of the overall hardware, but since Apple is doing everything itself, it can afford the extra space and the larger components.
Of course, Nvidia is set to introduce a Tegra 3 chip later on this year, and that will undoubtedly introduce a new wrinkle to the tablet lineup. Apple no doubt also has its engineers working on faster chips, which means the speed of tablet computing likely still has a long way to progress.