After rooting a device and loading a ROM or two on it, it’s easy to start to wonder what tweaks and settings actually make a difference in performance or whether you’re just imagining things. For example, my devices all have the option to force Android to use the GPU for rendering (under Developer Options), but does it really help?
Benchmarks are a synthetic but objective way to measure the effect. I use Antutu.
Antutu measures 10 aspects of performance. Weighing them evenly is a bit deceptive–my phone scores 25% higher than my Nook Color, but that’s entirely due to the GPU, so I never notice the difference because I’m not doing any 3D gaming on any of these things. Tap “Details” to see the breakdown.
Forcing GPU rendering gains me about 50 points in 2D performance, and, counter intuitively, the Deadline I/O scheduler gains me more I/O performance than the simpler NOOP scheduler.
The tweaks let you nickel and dime your way to a little more performance, and the benchmarks help you verify. But your most common use for the benchmark, most likely, will be after loading a new ROM to see how it affects performance.