GPU Performance

GPU performance of the Red Magic 3 is something I was particularly looking forwards to given it’s the only phone we have that actually has active cooling built in to its hardware design. The small fan has an air intake at the rear of the phone underneath the camera, and exhausts it on the side next to the volume buttons on the right of the phone. The fan can be toggled on and off in the software, and additionally have RPM settings of “auto” based on CPU temperature and maximum RPM. The fan is audible but it’s certainly not loud.

Unfortunately based on my extensive testing with the phone under different scenarios, I just wasn’t able to discern any kind of impact by the fan’s operation. Running the sustained performance tests with the fan on and off showcased a temperature difference of maybe 0.5°C, measured both in terms of peak skin temperature as well as reported by the phone’s gaming OSD temperature metric. I thought that maybe at least if temperature didn’t drop, at least performance would change, but again unfortunately the performance differences measured here were in the realm of measurement variability, differing a maximum of 1-5% in the sustained performance results compared to having the fan off.

The problem here is that he little fan just isn’t able to move enough air to actually make any kind of a difference to the significantly higher thermal envelope of the phone. The tiny amount of hot air coming out of the exhaust just pales compared to what’s radiated out by the whole body of the phone.

Given that there’s no noticeable difference with the fan on or off, there was no point in publishing two sets of performance numbers.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

In the 3Dmark Physics test, the Red Magic fares very well and comes only second to the OnePlus 7 Pro when it comes to its throttling behaviour, amongst Snapdragon 855 phones that is.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

In the Graphics test, the RM3 throttles a little bit more, but it’s still ahead of the majority of other Snapdragon 855 phones out there.

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

Overall, the Red Magic 3’s sustained performance is quite good, although it’s not quite as outstanding as the Reno 10x’s or the OnePlus 7 Pro’s. On the other hand, the positive about this is that the RM3 doesn’t get nearly as hot as those devices, and while it’s still certainly a warm phone when under full load, it’s still comfortable enough to hold. I think the RM3 here achieves a good balance between performance and thermals.

Machine Learning Inference Performance Display Measurement
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  • abufrejoval - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Nice to read that the fan can be turned off without any negative effect.

    Already wishing that rubber cases might actually cover that "dust pipe".

    Is there any indication of the USB-C speed or if it supports display port alt mode?

    Does the device support developer mode and an unlocked boot-loader?
    Reply
  • tiwi1391 - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Have the RM3. It supports developer mode (currently using it to speed up animations), but I didn't look into the bootloader. XDA have a small RM3 community that could answer that question. Reply
  • nerdydesi - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Yes, I've unlocked the bootloader, rooted my device and installed twrp. No custom roms yet though as far as I know. Reply
  • Wardrive86 - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Where i think Nvidia had it right, back in the days of the Tegra Note 7, was shipping with the ability to map a gamepad to any game. If its a gaming phone it needs this capability Reply
  • Xex360 - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    We live in strange times, cheaper phones are the premium ones and expensive ones have less features and design flaws. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    I agree that taken in the context of the Black Shark 2 review, the Red Magic 3 looks considerably better in all aspects. It further detracts from any possible value the BS2 might offer. Reply
  • Total Meltdowner - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    It's all the same crap. "gaming phone" is just a new marketing term.

    Release a phone with some INNOVATION. They are all the same and it's boring.

    Try a 12000mAH battery
    Maybe make the phone like a lego kit where you can continuously upgrade the pieces over time.

    Anything to make your phone stand out from the others may be worth the risk.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    I vaguely recall there was a lego-like phone project that allowed modular replacement of various sub-components, but it never made it into production. Like you, I agree that a larger battery would be a useful feature. I miss the days of removable back panels that could be replaced with a thicker/bigger panel to allow double or triple the battery capacity. Reply
  • ingwe - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    I think the real thing with a phone that has removable parts is that the interfaces just take up a lot of room that could be going to other things. When it comes down to have 2/3 or less of the battery capacity (at the same size phone) with a replaceable battery vs a non replaceable battery. Reply
  • patel21 - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Actually MOTO Z series was really innovative on this part, but I guess people didn't rewarded their LEGO-ability. Reply

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