Head-To-Head: Microsoft Surface For Windows RT vs. Apple iPad 4

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CPU, GPU And Memory

The first Microsoft computer is equipped with an Nvidia Tegra 3 system-on-chip, which incorporates four 1.4GHz Cortex A9 cores plus a fifth low-power core that can perform all functions during device stand-by. The Tegra 3 also includes a GeForce GPU with a maximum resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (well beyond what the current screen can produce). There are 2 GB of system memory for running applications. Inside Apple's iPad 4 is a dual-core A6X custom SoC, which also runs at 1.4GHz. And while it provides just two ARM Cortex cores, Apple claims double the performance of the iPad 3's A5X part. The new SoC also includes four PowerVP SGX 554MP4 GPUs clocked at 300MHz plus twice the video memory as before.

If judged solely on core count, Surface wins. But processors alone can't tell a performance story. While we like the idea of a dedicated processor for handling tasks during sleep, Apple's power management prowess is legendary, and we've never seen jitter when running iPad apps. Therefore, we'd call the CPU match-up a draw. Both are available in 32-GB and 64-GB models; Apple adds a 16-GB model.

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