Google’s Pixel phones, especially those powered by Tensor chips, aren’t known for their gaming performance, but there seems to be a considerable upgrade coming with the December 2023 update as a GPU upgrade behind the scenes should lead to better performance.
Through the past several Google Pixel releases, raw horsepower for mobile games and such hasn’t been a focus. We noted in our review of the Pixel 8 Pro this year that the latest iteration of Tensor clearly has better performance than the preceding releases, but still wasn’t up to par with the likes of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips. And, really, that’s by design, as Google has been pretty forward about it.
But still, a boost never hurts anyone.
Over the past couple of weeks, it’s become clear that newer updates for Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have been making improvements to gaming performance. This was first demonstrated on Twitter/X by TechDroider, where a side-by-side comparison of Fortnite on the highest graphics settings found that the stable version of Android at the time performed drastically worse than the latest beta, QPR2 Beta 1.1. The improvement was also noticed in benchmarks.
Now, we’ve got an idea of what’s actually been changed.
As noted by Mishaal Rahman on Twitter/X, the December 2023 update for Google Pixel devices updated the GPU kernel, effectively delivering an upgrade to performance to the GPU in Tensor devices. Specifically, the updated driver – “rp441” which was released on October 11, 2023 – replaces an outdated driver from August 2022 which as still in use.
Since this is just a GPU kernel upgrade, it shouldn’t be…
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