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.