3rd-gen Fire TV Cube will likely dethrone the Nvidia Shield TV in raw performance

The Nvidia Shield TV has been a beast of a device when it comes to performance thanks to it initially launching in 2015 as a gaming console first, before later pivoting to being a streaming device first when the microconsole hype of the mid-2010s fizzled out. That gaming origin, and the raw performance capabilities that came with it, have impressively kept the Shield TV comfortably on top of most streaming device benchmarks for years. Amazon has been slowly chipping away at that lead with newer Fire TV models and it’s looking very likely that the new 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube will finally dethrone the Shield TV in raw CPU performance when it’s released next month.

As it stands today, the 2nd-gen Shield TV sits atop my own streaming device CPU benchmark chart with a Geekbench 4 multi-core score of 4,126, just above the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube’s score of 4,024. The 3rd-gen Shield TV Pro, which I don’t own, usually scores slightly higher than that, in the 4,200 to 4,300 range. The absolute highest score achieved by any Shield TV is currently 4,794 which appears to be achieved by overclocking its normally 1.9 GHz CPU to 2.42 GHz.

Amazon has said that the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube is “20% more powerful” than the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube. Additionally, Amazon has said the new Cube is “twice as powerful” as the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Manufacturer claims like that rarely translate directly to benchmark scores, but if we take those claims literally for the time being, then the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube would score between 4,828 (120% of the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube) and 5,012 (200% of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max). That already puts it well above the average latest Shield TV Pro’s score of 4,300-ish and even above the absolute top overclocked score of 4,794.

Even though most manufacturers tend to be overly generous with device improvement figures, we don’t have to just go by Amazon’s claims to estimate the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube’s performance. The Amlogic POP1-G processor in the new Cube isn’t found in any other device, but it is practically identical to the Amlogic A311D2, which has been used in some devices. Both use octa-core CPUs, where half are 2.2GHz CA73 cores and half are 2.0GHz CA53 cores, and both are mated with a Mali G52 MP8 GPU. Given the identical specs, it’s probably safe to assume the Amlogic POP1-G in the 3rd-gen Cube’s SoC will have very comparable benchmark scores to the Amlogic A311D2.

Luckily, there is a single Geekbench 4 benchmark score for the Amlogic A311D2 where it scores an impressive 5,410 multi-core score. That score is way above anything the Nvidia Shield TV has achieved, regardless of overclocking. However, while the CPU clock speed of that Amlogic A311D2 device matches the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube’s clock speed, the device has nearly twice the RAM, so it’s probably safe to assume the 3rd-gen Cube won’t score quite that high.

Now, this isn’t to say the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube is going to wipe the floor with the Nvidia Shield TV in all regards. For starters, the Shield TV’s GPU is nearly 4 times as powerful as the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube, so I don’t expect the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube to come anywhere close to matching the Shield TV in GPU performance. But, for a streaming device, the CPU is far more important to everyday use than the GPU and it does seem like Amazon’s next flagship Fire TV has the Nvidia Shield TV beat for the first time.

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  1. Mike says:

    Not to worry, I’m sure Amazon will do something to cripple the nicest abilities and lock it down. As soon as they find the features that the users like the most, they’ll figure how to restrict them. They’re almost as reliable as Google in that regard.

    • AFTVUser says:

      Really? Although Amazon has both the knowledge and the ability to “cripple the nicest abilities and lock it down,” they have chosen not to do so. My own experience is that I’ve been able to successfully either directly or sideload virtually every app on each of my numerous Fire TV devices upon which I have chosen to do so, without fail. Can you expand upon your comment with regard to “cripp[ling] the nicest abilities and lock it down?”

      • Pawdog says:

        Ability to make a 3rd party launcher default is the biggest one. Although it may only be a matter of time before somebody cracks it again.

    • Donnie says:

      Yeah they waste everyone’s time!
      We eventually figure a way to buy pass all their restrictions but they waste our time doing it!
      They’d sell even more if they were more open ended

      • DrakenFX says:

        I just wish 3 or 4 gb of ram was the standard now days (no matter device main purpose), also 32 bits OS kills the ability to use apps design just for 64 bits devices (side load or not).

    • Rafael says:

      Totally agree, as long as nvidia is the only one that let you play local files, trueHD Dolby atmos, DTS-HD and other lossless files, people will prefer them, that’s why they have not released a new version. Amazon and Google just want to track their users behavior to get money out of it.

    • M Hin says:

      I’m with AFTVUSER on this one. I use both the new cube and the 2017 Shield and love them equally.

  2. Shirley Dulcey says:

    One of the unique selling points of the Shield TV is its excellent upscaling. And that’s where that more powerful GPU comes in; Nvidia’s device is likely to keep its edge there. The Shield TV also has gigabit Ethernet, which the new Cube lacks. Against that, the Cube has WiFi 6E support, while the Shield is a WiFi 5 device.

    The Shield has less internal storage (8 vs 16 GB) but it has a Micro SD slot. The Cube has an HDMI input, IR blaster output, and USB-A port, none of which the Shield has.

    Perhaps the most important lack of the Shield is that it does not have AV1 support. Time for an upgrade, Nvidia!

    • Small Potatoes says:

      The shield (non tube models) have usb 3.0 though which you can easily attach a 2.5″ ssd via a sata to usb 3.0 adapter for expanded internal storage. I have a 500gb on mine and the transfer rate is faster than the internal storage.

    • Daniel M. says:

      What? My og 2015 shield remote has an ir blaster does that count? This whole article is stupid anyway.

      Author: This new Amazon device will be faster than shieldtv in raw performance.

      Nvidia: So you’re comparing Amazon’s top tier TV companion with Nvidias 2nd and 3rd tier products, from designs that have barely changed since 2015.

      ShieldTv Pro… anyone named Elias ever heard of it?

      Real fresh Elias.

      • audiom3 says:

        Not without lossless audio codec support. Many people own a ShieldTV for their home media and the Shield is the only cheap streamer which has full lossless audio codec support. Zidoo, Zippiti and DuneHD also do, but they’re all worlds behind as a streamer (ie. PRIME, hilu, Netflix).

      • The comparison made in the article is with the 3rd-gen Shield TV Pro, which is the top tier Nvidia device. It’s not in the chart because I only include devices I’ve personally benchmarked in the chart.

        • none says:

          the 3nd gen nvidia shield is the same as 2nd gen with just a couple new features that have nothing to do with performance.

    • Pawdog says:

      Definitely time for a Shield update, but I’m not missing AV1 at all, as far as I can tell with the Fire Stick 4k Max AV1 doesn’t provide any obvious improvement to anything

  3. Hebert says:

    Thanks, Elias for making this post. Raw performance is all it matters to really future-proof a streaming device and the Cube 3rd Gen does make a good show.

    I won’t buy one, yet. The whole fireOS 7 situation and the inexplicable lack of a gigabit ethernet port (which the Nvidia Shield TV 1st gen from 2015 has) are holding me back.

    For sure, I will use your referral link to make the purchase if I decide to make the jump.

    Can’t wait until you got a FireTV Cube 3rd gen in your hands to make a more in-depth review.

    Much appreciated.


  4. Chuck Ottati says:

    How does is compare to Apple TV 4K? That has been the fastest so far.

    • Stewart says:

      Fastest but no 3rd party apps. Like having the fastest car yet can’t leave the apple parking lot

    • I expect it would easily surpass both the Shield TV and the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube in raw CPU performance, but there aren’t any artificial benchmarks that I know of that can run on both Apple TV and Android-based streamers. The A12 in the Apple TV scores around 11,000 on Geekbench 4 when in iPhones/iPads, but I don’t know if that same performance translates across to Apple TV or not.

  5. No says:

    Dang. GPU is what I care about the most as it directly impacts streaming performance.

    • Plumplum says:

      That’s wrong.
      Streaming is linked to decoder capabilities.
      Video decoder/encoder isn’t linked to GPU itself (the confusion comes as decoder/encoder is a component of graphic cards on PC)

      An Amlogic S905X4 is able to decode 4k/av1 (hardware decoder).
      With a tiny entry level Mali G31mp2 GPU (and quad cortex A55 CPU)
      Snapdragon 8+Gen 1 can’t with its ultra high end GPU (must be 20x more powerful than G31mp2). It will have to use software decoding with very high CPU (not GPU) charge and power consumption.

      Decoder is dedicated silicon.

      Same on PC, for streaming, you’d better go for a i3-1215U (Gen 12) with built-in GPU than a powerfull GTX1080.

  6. Jeff says:

    When I had my iPhone XS(A12) it beet the Shield Pro 2019 in all the benchmarks I ran on both. Benchmarks are synthetic and not real life performance of apps that are developed. I am hoping That the Cube wins the CPU benchmark scores of the shield. I am holding off until it is released to see what the reviews look like.

  7. hdmkv says:

    nVidia needs to get a new Shield Pro out. But, with Amazon’s latest Cube throttled by 100 LAN, lack of HD audio for local content, that lousy/cluttery UI/UX, Shield will remain king for us HT enthusiasts.

    • Jeff says:

      Yes a new Shield is needed. But first Nvidia needs to get the major bugs worked out in Android 11(9.1). At points it is not possible to use. Gets very frustrating. The Shield from its first release (2015 to 2019) was developed for gaming and not streaming. In 2019 it lacked so many standards at the time where other devices had it implemented. Cube for one. Not providing VP9 Profile 2 for the shield and HDR10+/HLG where the Cube had at release.

  8. David says:

    The shield pro is hands down better than any device in my opinion. I have a fire cube and three Firesticks in the bedrooms and the pro in my living room Hooked up with my Sonos system and it’s the bomb as far as Apple TV goes it’s at the bottom. No 3rd party apps. They are stingy.

    • KraziJoe says:

      Which is ironic because the Apple TV is at the top of mine because Spectrum didn’t have a FireTV app. Even sideloading it was a hassle and never worked right.
      I don’t really need 3rd party apps as I only use it to stream. If I want to play games I use any other device I have. Even when I had all my FireTV’s all I did was stream.
      And I really hate the FireTV interface. So freaking clunky…One of the reasons why I gave up on my Fire Tablet…

      • Stewart says:

        As with most apple products you paid way to much to do what you are doing. $199 to watch Netflix? Any cheap $30 android box will run mainstream streaming apps fine. Buying a race car to drive in apples parking while comparing performance specs is meaningless. Those interested in the new cube performance or the shield want to run cpu hungry 3rd party apps like Kodi.

        • KraziJoe says:

          No, I went with Apple because it did everything I wanted it to do without having to play the reconfigure game.
          If I want Kodi, I use Channels or JellyFin or EMBy. Easy enough there…
          Sure I did pay but again, the interface is far superior to FireTV, the ease of use is much better and it runs all the Apps I want, without having to jailbreak or sideload anything.
          I was all about Amazon, but they kept falling short and annoying me then when I did decide to go straight streaming, they didn’t have the Spectrum TV app, and I am not sure if they have it now and since I am Spectrum, I said bye and went with the one I knew had it all without hassle and that was Apple.
          Over payed? yeah but again, it does all I want it to. None of the others do…

  9. Pawdog says:

    As we have seen with Apple TV 4k, raw benchmarks are only benchmarks, nice for marketing but not useful in practice when the device is held back by various choices. The 3rd gen Cube not having the ability to change the launcher, and apparently not supporting DTS, gigabit ethernet, USB 3.0 all the little things that always added up to keep the Shield king with enthusiast users. Raw power is the least important once we get to the area these devices have gotten to.

  10. Jeff says:

    When it comes to streaming its Apple TV 4K and Roku Ultra for me. My Shield pro is a gaming device and for side loading various apps. My 2nd Gen Cube is a great device for what it is and I have had very little to no issues with it other than what I have done. That said all devices have there good and bad.

  11. Pawdog says:

    The Shield does it all, but I like playing with devices even though I don’t need to. These days I don’t even sideload much on the Shield pretty much everything is available for Android TV now. Any developer that doesn’t support Android TV I ignore. Lol.

  12. Jeff says:

    The Shield does it all. Interesting for a device that has more bugs than other devices. And for the Arm A53 cores, what do they accually do? Hard to find a good answer. I like my Shield Pro but there is other devices that are just as good if not better for streaming. The Shield is a great device for tinkering with and trying things.

    • Pawdog says:

      Not sure which bugs you are talking about. Certainly not anything that hinders use. The Shield has a lot of capabilities the budget devices don’t have so maybe being a more capable and more ambitious device comes with that. I’ll take those bugs. I just know after all these years and a couple of dozen non Shield devices, the Shield is still front and center. Maybe not head and shoulders ahead like in the past but I’m still waiting for somebody to match it. When that device comes along in the price range I’ll be the first to pre-order it.

  13. Stewart says:

    As with most apple products you paid way to much to do what you are doing. $199 to watch Netflix? Any cheap $30 android box will run mainstream streaming apps fine. Buying a race car to drive in apples parking while comparing performance specs is meaningless. Those interested in the new cube performance or the shield want to run cpu hungry 3rd party apps like Kodi.

  14. Pawdog says:

    Other than VP2.2 which is YouTube HDR, very little, which is why few really care about them. They are however check on a marketing spreadsheet.

  15. Johny says:

    Nvidia are also bringing out a new machine. Specs are a lot higher than any precious machine. This will plop them back on top again.

    • Adam says:

      Nvidia are also bringing out a new machine.

      There’s simply no indication of that. At most there’s random users theorizing that one will follow the release of a new Nintendo Switch due to parallel SOC development.
      There’s definitely room for Nvidia to update the 2019 hardware as things have moved on in the interim, ie. HDMI 2.1a, wifi 6e, AV1, etc. But like I said, Nvidia has given no indication that one is imminent.
      Meanwhile, this cube looks like its going to be a helluva nice machine, quibbles notwithstanding.

  16. James F. says:

    I heard the reason NVIDIA is slow to release any new TV and handheld devices is because of their deal with Nintendo. This is why we haven’t seen any new tablets from them in years. The original Shield TV came out before the Nintendo Switch and supposedly their deal is the reason why the 2019 model was only a slight improvement. Basically don’t expect anything new from NVIDIA for TVs or handhelds (tablets) for a while.

  17. Jeff says:

    I got my Shield pro 2019 for new for 80 and my Apple 4k 64gig for 120 on prime day this year. Both were great deals. I like both and use them both. Depending what I am doing determines what device I use. It will be interesting when the new cube comes out to see the reviews.

  18. Matt says:

    What formats does it support though?

    I’m able to direct stream just about anything to my Shield without transcoding, I’m wondering how the fire TV does on that front.

  19. Ricardo says:

    It doesn’t really matter, I have shield tv pro because it’s the only one that supports passthrough of all audio and video formats I need for Plex. Of there was something cheaper with same capabilities I would go for it, raw power alone is nothing.

  20. Adam says:

    Jeff says:
    The SOC in the link is what I think will be in the new cube.

    Me no read so good sometimes. ;-)

  21. Ian says:

    The big weakness on my NS 2019 Pro is it needs to be updated in many communication standards. For instance there is no BT Multipoint ability

  22. Deadly98 says:

    I choose shield anytime power isnt everything! , although shield is occasionally buggy, i use as a plex server for all my media, and for streaming my pc games and geforce now. Maybe if amazon opened up these features to utilise its power i would consider, but never going to happen with its precious prime video and there second rate gaming service.

  23. John says:

    It may, but Amazon will stop updating it after a few years. It will even launch with an outdated version of Android as a base.

    The OG shield was released in 2015 and still receives regular software updates and and android version updates.

    I assume the 2019 shield pro will supported longer than this Cube.

  24. Thatoneguyfromschool says:

    But will it upscale everything to 4K? No? ‍♂️ so no thank you

    • The new Cube does have a new capability called “Super Resolution Upscaling” that is supposed to upscale all content to 4K, like the Shield TV’s “AI-enhanced” upscaling. We’ll see how well they work and compare in practice.

    • Pawdog says:

      All 4k devices upscale to 4k, The Shield has enhanced or what they call AI upscaling which is really just a nice bit of sharpening.

  25. Schooled says:

    It does not take much to beat the Shield TV in CPU performance. When the Shield TV launched the CPU was already outdated, not to mention broken. Tegra X1 is falsely labeled as being 8 cores, big.LITTLE, but the little cores do not work due to manufacturing errors. Therefore the Shield TV only has 4 A57 cores.

  26. C-Fu says:

    CPU is more important that GPU for….. video? In which universe?

    BREAKING NEWS: NEW TECH IS BETTER THAN OLDER TECH…. but in this case it’s not. Just clickbait.


  27. AnthonyJCRM says:

    I may upgrade my shield tv pro (2017) to the cube 3. I find the shield slow now with hiccups here n there. It’s not how it was 5 years ago and I don’t expect it to but there is times when performance is so below average, you will think your using a budget walmart android tv stick. Plus im here for the wifi 6e. Amazon’s android ui launcher may not be ideal but I’m used to the Google’s TV Chromecast with suggestions.

  28. Jeff says:

    Had to do my own benchmarks. Geekbench 4 and 5. My results with Shield pro 2019 GB4 single 1362 multi 3626, GB5 single 270 multi 901 and the 2nd Gen Cube
    Gets GB4 single 1475 multi 4159 GB5 single 291 multi 968. I swear half the cores don’t work on the shield. There is speculation that this is true with the 4 arm a53 cores. Then with the new 3rd gen Cube coming out I can just imagine the difference between both.

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