The new 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube has been released and it has some big shoes to fill to take over the flagship Fire TV spot from the much loved 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube. Amazon has tossed around some lofty claims of being 20% faster than the outgoing Cube and twice as fast as the very impressive Fire TV Stick 4K Max, but can the new Cube hold up to those claims? I’ve run it through a few popular benchmark utilities to gauge its raw performance and, spoiler alert, as you can probably already tell from the title of this post, the results are impressive. Here are benchmark comparison scores for the new Fire TV Cube 3 against the older Cube 2, the latest Nvidia Shield TV Pro, and many other Fire TV and Google/Android TV streaming devices.
Whenever discussing benchmark scores, it’s important to remember that these are synthetic tests that push a device to its absolute limits, which isn’t something that happens often in everyday use. For that reason, they’re not a good way to gauge real-world performance. However, benchmarks do provide an even playing field to directly compare the raw power of one device to another, which can provide some idea of how well devices will perform relative to each other.
As with all my benchmark testing in the past, I ran each benchmark 3 times on a newly factory reset device with all possible OS and system app updates installed. The scores listed below are the average of the top 2 scores for each test. I reran all benchmarks this week for all 4K devices (except the Tivo Stream 4K because I simply forgot about it) and reused my past scores (from roughly a year ago) for all 1080p devices.
The Fire TV Cube 3’s octa-core (4 x 2.2GHz & 4 x 2.0GHz) Amlogic POP1-G CPU is a beast and simply dominates the Geekbench test, as seen in the chart above. This benchmark primarily taxes the device’s CPU but it also incorporates some light testing of the RAM and other components, so it does a good job of providing an overall performance rating.
With a score of 4,938, the new Cube comes in at just over 18% more powerful than the outgoing 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube, which is pretty close to Amazon’s claim of the new model being 20% more powerful. Amazon also said the new Fire TV Cube is twice as powerful as the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and my testing lines up with that claim almost exactly. Compared to the top-performing Android TV device, the new Cube is just over 20% more powerful than the Nvidia Shield TV.
Those of you paying attention may have noticed that the older 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube has moved ahead of all Shield TV models on this chart, whereas it used to sit just below the 2nd-gen Shield TV on my previous benchmark charts. That’s because, with my retesting of all 4K devices this week, I learned that the Shield TV lost performance with its upgrade to Android 11, while the 2nd-gen Cube has gained performance with its recent upgrades. The two performance changes were just enough to move the 2nd-gen Cube ahead of the Shield TV. I’ll also point out that I picked up the latest Shield TV Pro since my last benchmark article and added it into the mix for the first time. Note that the 2nd-gen 2017 Shield TV models outperform the newer 3rd-gen 2019 models in CPU performance because the new models have their four slower Cortex-A53 cores disabled, while the original Shield TVs can utilize all eight cores.
Moving on to the GPU benchmark, which measures a device’s gaming potential, it’s no surprise that the Nvidia Shield TV devices continue to dominate this category since they were initially designed to hold their own against full-fledged game consoles before pivoting to video streaming when the micro-console craze died down (R.I.P. Ouya). That said, the Fire TV Cube 3 is giving the Sheild TVs a run for their money at over twice as gaming capable as the outgoing 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube. I may be biased, given the name of this website, but that’s pretty impressive for the Fire TV Cube 3’s eight GPU cores against the Shield TV’s 256-core GPU that’s also used in the Nintendo Switch game console. It’s a shame that Fire TV gaming has shifted so much towards cloud gaming services, like Amazon Luna, since the new Cube has a lot of gaming potential. At least game console emulators will likely run great on the new Cube for all of you retro gamers.
Overall, the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube is an impressive successor to the outgoing Cube when it comes to raw performance. It takes the crown as the new king of overall power and has closed the gap quite a bit with the Shield TVs when it comes to gaming chops.
See all my 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube coverage here.
An important note about the Geekbench score. I’ve always stuck to using Geekbench 4, instead of the newer Geekbench 5, because Geekbench 5 is incompatible with Fire OS 5 devices. I planned to switch to Geekbench 5 for this Fire TV Cube 3 comparison and remove all Fire OS 5 devices from the chart, but it seems like Geekbench 5 has issues running on the new Cube. My Geekbench 5 scores for the 3rd-gen Cube were under 700, while the Geekbench 5 scores for the 2nd-gen Cube were above 900, which doesn’t make any sense. The 2019 Shield TV Pro and 2017 Shield TV also score in the 900s in Geekbench 5, but the cylindrical 2019 Shield TV crashes when running Geekbench 5, so there’s definitely something wrong with that benchmark. I’m going to look into it further when I get a chance, but for now, I’m sticking with Geekbench 4 since it produces more reliable results across both old and new devices. So be wary of reviewers that discuss Geekbench 5 scores for the new Cube, since something isn’t quite right with that benchmark. I’ve reached out to Amazon about this and will update this comment if they have anything interesting to say about it.
Update: Amazon got back to me about the strange Geekbench 5 behavior. They provided the following reason for the unusually low Geekbench 5 score:
“The reason why you might be seeing misaligned results when running Geekbench 5 is due to the nature of the Geekbench 5 benchmark version itself. While on previous Geekbench versions all threads are taken into account in the test, Geekbench 5 is fixed to only four cores and does not show the aggregate improvement due to the additional two cores in the Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen.) over the Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen.) – eight cores vs. six.”
Just wait to see new Apple TV 4k the one with wire internet port , than we are going to see who is the king
Not sure how your going to get benchmarks on the Apple TV 4K with out being able to load apps. But I did run the benchmarks on my iPad Pro with A12Z and it wins hands down so in theory the Apple 4K w/ A12 minus 2-cores and gpu cores still wins. The Cube has the ability to side load apps apple does not. It comes down to picture quality and app support. The new cube will only get better with software updates. Having the New Cube, Apple 4K 2021, and 2019 Shield pro they all have ther quirks and benefits in what they can do. I like all 3
Unless Apple TV 4K can sideload apps, it won’t even be close.
I wish Nvidia would pull their finger out and release a new shield pro.
It’s still the only one afaik that can pass Dolby True HD and DTS-HD MA but it’s almost 4 years old now.
Wire internet port?
You really know your stuff, so I better listen yo you
Of course because apple is a follower not a leader.
Sidenote for your article: GPU is not only for games: it is also used to accelerate browsers, gui’s, crypto, video decoding etc.. it is possible that a slower CPU in combination with a good GPU performs much better (like the shield).
This is why I find it strange you don’t mention the hardware decoding formats like vc1 etc…
I don’t understand this comment:
“It’s a shame that Fire TV gaming has shifted so much towards cloud gaming services, like Amazon Luna, since the new Cube has a lot of gaming potential.”
I would think that a shift towards gaming would take advantage of the increased gaming potential ……?
Cloud gaming doesn’t utilize the local (e.g. GPU) gaming potential of a device. So the Fire TV Cube’s gaming potential is wasted because there are very few local gaming options these days because there is a lot of focus on cloud gaming services. Cloud gaming runs just as well on a Firestick as it does on the new Cube, but local gaming runs way better on the new Cube than any other Fire TV model. I’m saying it’s a shame there aren’t more local games being developed and released for Fire TVs.
For example, Amazon is about to launch a “Game Hub” for Fire TVs. (More on that coming soon.) The hub has about a dozen rows highlighting Luna cloud gaming and maybe 2 rows highlighting local gaming.
Its the same with the shield also, Cload gaming. Look at the app stores not much to talk about.
Hello my question is this… I have a 2017 shield tv that had been pretty amazing up til about a year ago where it seemed to slow tremendously since new updates. I have wifi 6E and one of the main issues with the nvidia shield for me has been the touch and go wifi connecting and reconnecting. Would i notice a noticeable improvement with the cube 3 in performance?
Based on what you’re saying, you likely would see a noticeable improvement. You’re two main issues, WiFi and performance, would both be improved with the new Cube, since it has WiFi 6E and better all-around performance. It’s certainly not going to be a night and day difference since the Shield TV is still a great device, but I’d say you will see a difference. Worth a shot at least, since you can always return it pretty easily if it doesn’t change things much.
If they didn’t send you the updates to slow your device, you’d never buy a new one.
Updates that slow your device are absolutely a real, purposeful thing.
Thanks for the testing. Hopefully the speed increases are noticeable in day to day usage.
Does the new cube indeed only have Ethernet still and not gigabit?
Yup. I haven’t actually tested the speed myself, but Amazon confirmed to me that its 10/100 Ethernet built in. No Gigabit Ethernet.
10/100 nic 92 Wifi 6E maxs my internet speed.
I use a USB to 1G rj45 adapter and I pull 425 mbps on a speed test
Why no comparison with Apple TV 4K? Current 2021 version and then upcoming 2022. Could it détrône Cube 3?
Theres no way to load the apps on apple tv 4k.
Exactly. Very hard to compare things across platforms, but I expect the Apple TV wins hands down if it were possible. My “king” comment was in regard to mainstream Android-based streaming devices.
Elias, one aspect of the cube that is frequently overlooked is how well it functions as a speaker, since most audio is thru the tv. How is the audio on the cube by itself? Echo dot level? Echo flex? Thanks for your reply. :)
Interesting. Can the box be used as a cheap sound bar? A lot of these inexpensive TVs built-in speakers set a low bar to beat.
I’ll do some testing with the internal speaker and post if there’s anything interesting or significant.
Would it be possible to get some actual game performance results? Benchmarks are nice, but they often don’t translate well to the real world performance seen by end users.
I would love to see someone use Gamebench, and compare real world results for some popular 3D applications -for apps that allow you to adjust visual settings, match settings across devices, and for apps that don’t just give us the fps they run on each device with a brief mention of any obvious visual compromises (“The textures on this platform were especially muddy”, “The draw distance was set super low, and we saw lots of pop-in”, “This device had significantly better lighting and reflections”, etc).
Hey, maybe even try loading up an emulator and tell us how well they can each handle something like PSP, or which ones can handle higher end emulation like GameCube or potentially even PS2. That would be really handy info.
I’ll definitely be looking into this. Got any recommendations for apps/games to try?
I tried asphalt 8 at max settings and played with out hiccups, tried to side load asphalt 9 but Play store is needed.
Asphalt 9, if there’s a way to get it on there. PUBG might be good as well
As for emulation, try PPSSPP. See how it he does the God of War games run, those are known to be particularly rough on hardware, so how well it performs there will speak volumes.
I would also recommend testing :
•ReDream (Sonic Adventure is a good overall benchmark, and any of the 2D fighting games like Marvel Vs Capcom are good for testing 2D performance, it can be surprisingly brutal on hardware).
•Citra (3DS emulation, surprising challenging for Mini-PC and SBC devices to run)
•Dolphin (Gamecube/Wii emulator, runs surprisingly well on a lot of Android phones, try loading up a GameCube title like Mario Sunshine or Simpsons Hit N’ Run)
•AetherSX2 (PS2 Emulation. If the new Fire Cube is struggling to maintain a good frame rate with the above emulators, you might not need to bother with this one. But if you can actually get decent frame rates in some of those, then definitely see if it can handle AetherSX2.)
I guess my question is should I replace my Gen 2 with the new Gen 3? Will I see a difference?
Depends if it has more hardware decoding formats. It is not the cpu or ram that will make the difference.
Hardware decoding of vc1 or vp9 demonstrates huge performance, that no CPU can duplicate.
I have 2nd gen. Cube but.. 2022 and..? Finally new 3rd gen. Cube. What’s new? Still 2GB RAM, 16GB, USB 2.0, 100Mbit Ethernet. Is it a joke? For almost $140? Where’s Remote Pro? You have to buy it for additional $35. Now just compare new 2022 ATV specification and price. 128GB and 1Gbit for $149. Really Amazon?
So what is your advice and what is the best for streaming movies ??? I really don’t care about games because I am much older and I just want a stable device that doesn’t buffer and gives me an amazing picture and that’s why I’m asking you.????
Apple TV 4K 2022
Hi Elias. I just got my 55″ Amazon Omni 4K Fire TV from the lightning sale set up this week (thanks for the heads up and tips, I missed out on the regular prime day sales). I was wondering if you had benchmarks that would show where it fits into this list. I was using the firestick 4k max and the ONN 4k on a very old non smart tv before I scored my new TV. Seeing them both listed here made me wonder.
How is the upscaling on the Cube 3 vs the 2019 Nvidia Shield Pro? Watched a lot of YouTube videos and no one seems to touch on that yet Amazon is pushing it as one of their main features on the device. Going to have to think hard about getting a Cube 3 as the Cube 2 I bought a few months ago only cost me $65CAD as it was open box but completely unused (the store needed the box as a display). Hard to swallow another $200CAD with tax on a device that may still be inferior to my Shield 2017/19. Also I’ve been reading reports that the OS is 32 bit as well, the USB port doesn’t recognize NTFS formatted drives. FAT32 I can understand. How about exFAT? How about using hubs to get around limitations in the Ethernet port? With 6E ifi compatability, this might be great if you are in an area that allows 3 Gbps download speeds. I alas will have to make do with 1 GPS speed…
No one seems to be talking about the upscaling much. It may be the key feature that gets me to upgrade my gen 2 cubes. Elias plans on doing some testing on this I believe. Hopefully it can make the 720p on TubiTV look tolerable.
I really can’t see that much difference as the the same with the shield all it does is sharpen the image just like the shield. You see it more in text and animation movies. No device made is going to make an upscale image like WOW insane. For one with the new cube I can see a much better picture in streaming apps vs the shield .My shield pro is sitting off to the side until Nvidia gets their OS in order. With updates to the new cube I see it to have a lot of potential and the processing power to be a great device.
Check out the video by Triple M on YouTube that answers some questions. His tests show that the Cube 3 doesn’t recognize drives formatted as NTFS or eXFAT. FAT 32 only. That’s a severe limitation for local file playback IMO. He also does a test with the upscaling and frankly, I could not see much of a difference, probably owing to the small size of my TV (43 inch Samsung KU7000). Maybe on a bigger set, it might be more noticeable…
Man, don’t act like this is a powerful device. This is about as fast as a phone from 2016. (Samsung S7)
That is a cell phone, this is a streaming device. Kind of a silly comparison.
With the new release of the Apple 4k 2022. I used my iPhone SE3 to run the same benchmarks (A15 and 4 gigs) Geekbench 5 MC 4773, GFX Trex offscreen 24042 430fps. This is just for comparison purposes.
Elias, could you make a version of theses graphics with the SoC and GPU models showing next to each devices’ name, please?
I’m actually working on a device detail page where you’ll be able to list any spec you want, including these benchmark scores, in a table so you can make custom charts/tables. Hopefully it’ll be done next month.
Wow, that’s nice to hear. I’ll be waiting for it. Thanks.
Could you add the original Fire Stick 4K and the Google Chromecast (pre 2020)?