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Gaming on Google Pixel 8 Gets Crazy Faster After the New Update

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In recent years, Google has started equipping Pixel devices with its in-house Tensor G chipsets, which are already in its 3rd generation. While this choice allows them to customize the silicon, the performance of its Tensor chips has not always been admirable when compared to SoC alternatives. However, it still appears that the company is trying to improve this over time via software, particularly in the graphics section.

Google's Tensor-powered phones are much faster with this update

As spotted by developer Mishaal Rahman, the December Pixel Feature Drop that was rolled out to Pixel phones and tablets yesterday comes with a new GPU kernel version that should boost the graphics performance of these devices. It added that the result is outright noticeable in benchmarks and when playing games like Fortnite and Genshin Impact with more stable and higher frame rates.

At the same time, not all Pixel devices that updated to the latest software seem to take advantage of the enhancement. It is noted by Rahman that the new kernel is only applicable to Pixel phones equipped with Tensor chipsets including the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro (review), older Pixel models like the Pixel 7a (review), Pixel Fold (review), and the Pixel Tablet.

Google Pixel 8 Pro's Geekbench benchmark result
Google's Pixel 8 Pro benchmark after the update (left) vs. before the update (right). / © X/u/Untylted / nextpit

But before this major quarter update, Google's recent QPR2 Beta 1.1 (quarterly platform release) firmware was said to already include the said system changes, although it was not really highlighted by the internet search giant.

Besides gaming, it's unclear what direct improvements the update brings to other areas. Presumably, it also addresses the overall performance of these Pixel devices, such as reducing the lag in animations and effects in UI and videos.

In addition to the new GPU kernel, Google's December Pixel Feature Drop is also adding numerous new features. More specifically, the Pixel 8 Pro gains Video Boost and Gemini generative AI. There are also essential additions to the rest of the Pixel catalog, like an upgraded image quality and support to turn a Pixel into a web camera for laptops.

Have you installed the latest software on your Pixel, and did you notice the difference when playing games or running graphics-intensive tasks? Share with us in the comments.

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Jade Bryan

Jade Bryan
Junior Editor

I still remember how amazed I was when I first got hold of the Nokia 3210 back when I was a kid, and it was during that time I developed my love for technology, particularly for mobile phones. I started sharing my knowledge through writing in different blogs and forums back in Nokia Nseries era. I even make videos before where I put different phones side-by-side. Today, I'm still an avid enthusiast of smartphones, but my interests have evolved into smart devices and electric vehicles.

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