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iPad Mini 4 - bad gaming performance?

09-25-2015, 07:57 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,095
iPad Mini 4 - bad gaming performance?

I recently bought an iPad Mini 4. I've tried quite a few games on it, and am noticing some problems with low frame rates and choppiness during scrolling. Happens in both 2D and 3D games. Some examples:

Geometry Wars 3 Evolved (3D twinstick shmup) - seems like it's maybe 30fps.
Sword of Xolan (excellent 2D sidescroller) - also seems to drop to 30fps a lot.

These same games run very smooth on my iPad Air 2 with iOS 9. Sword of Xolan also runs very smooth on my iPod Touch with iOS 7.

Anyone else have a Mini 4, and what is your experience?

iOS: iPad Air 2 128GB Space Gray, iPod Touch 5 32GB Space Gray
Android: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Black/Gray
09-26-2015, 03:19 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,377
The only thing I can think of is that the Mini 4 has an A8 SoC only (same as the one in iPhone 6/6+ but slightly higher clocked) compared to the A8X found in the Air 2. The A8X is much much stronger than the A8 and honestly, I dont think an additional 100mhz does anything, especially if it only counts toward the CPU, not GPU. We already know that a 6+ is slightly struggling in some games due to its much higher pixel count compared to the 6. Now the Mini 4 has to push even more pixels than the 6+. This was a bad design decision by Apple imo but maybe they didnt had the tech right now to put an A8X inside a much smaller case. In the end, it comes down to how much work developers put into optimisations for specific devices. Dont keep your hopes up high on that, though.
This is why I held out on getting a Mini4 myself.

Besides that, how is 30fps considered as a low framerate?

Last edited by Nekku; 09-26-2015 at 03:26 AM.

09-26-2015, 06:18 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,095
Well, I'm only guessing at frame rate. All I know is games are not as smooth like on my iPad Air 2. Once your eyes are accustomed to a smooth frame rate, it's hard to play them at choppier frame rates.

I think you're correct about the a8 vs a8x. I didn't expect the difference to be so big though. Some of the affected games are not that complex, just 2D sidescrollers. I think iOS 9 is a bit too demanding for the Mini 4. I don't understand why Apple didn't put the a8x inside the Mini 4. It would've been the perfect Mini.

It's really too bad because it's such a nice tablet, and the screen on the Mini 4 is fantastic. But I may return it, since gaming is important to me.

iOS: iPad Air 2 128GB Space Gray, iPod Touch 5 32GB Space Gray
Android: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Black/Gray

Last edited by Chocolate; 09-26-2015 at 06:22 PM.
09-26-2015, 07:09 PM
I doubt that the processor is the cause of issues. Looks like a IOS9's problem.
My games are lagging a lot on Ipad Air 2.
Downgrading to IOS 8.4.1
09-28-2015, 09:16 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,377
Originally Posted by Chocolate View Post
I didn't expect the difference to be so big though.
It is, by a large margin. The A8X runs basically two GPU's on one SoC (A8, 4 cluster vs A8X, 8 cluster). That is where the performance gap is coming from. Hell, it even outperforms the A9 on multi-threading processes. Surely, the iPad Air 2 is overpowered and this may also be the reason why Apple didnt saw any point to put its resources into a 3rd one for now but instead focusing on other devices first.
And well, yeah, iOS 9 surely adds some downsides to overall performance too.

Last edited by Nekku; 09-28-2015 at 05:41 PM.
09-28-2015, 10:29 AM
Ios9 is like something unfinished. I tryed everything, from reset to fresh install.
I have installed IOS9.1 beta 2, all back to normal on Ipad Air 2.

Last edited by Marcos stein; 09-28-2015 at 10:37 AM.
09-29-2015, 02:56 AM
iOS 9 is running better then iOS 8 on my Air 2 :P
09-29-2015, 06:19 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 1,447
Originally Posted by IzumiNowa View Post
iOS 9 is running better then iOS 8 on my Air 2 :P
Same experience for me.
11-15-2015, 02:28 AM
I just bought a Mini 4...

... and the performance is terrible. My iPhone 5 runs games better than my mini4 can run the same titles. It's really terrible because there is a stutter, like there isn't enough vram to support the 2k resolution screen. I am sure that all it takes is for a developer to account for the fact that the Mini4 is 30% slower than an iPad Air2, but developers aren't doing it yet. Its frustrating trying to game on a system that has problems running 2d single screen tower defense titles.
11-15-2015, 11:46 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Cyber Town
Posts: 570
Glad i made the right decision.I was about to buy ipad mini 4 since its easy to carry and on paper looked as good as ipad air 2 but i went with the air 2 just cause of larger screen even though it costs more but after reading this , i am a bit relaxed on my decision.

I am sorry you guys have issues and hope it is solved with a firmware update , or better app optimizations but i doubt it because of the above mentioned reasons.

I guess another reason not to buy latest gadget at launch


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