By Alexandra Burlacu | Jul 31, 2013 05:14 AM EDT
Samsung was reportedly caught red-handed, cheating in benchmark scores to make its Galaxy S4 look better.
As it turns out, the new Samsung Galaxy S4, especially the model packing the Exynos 5 octa processor, features some intriguing optimizations that give it a higher score when running benchmarks.
According to a new AnandTech report, a special setting in the Galaxy S4's software activates overclocking for certain applications such as benchmarks. More specifically, the smartphone has its GPU running at 480MHz in most apps and games, but when it comes to benchmark tests such as AnTuTu, Quadrant an GLBenchmark, it suddenly jumps up and overclocks to 533MHz. That results in a performance boost of roughly 10-13 percent for certain benchmarking applications, which gives the Galaxy S4 a huge advantage against its rivals.
Moreover, Samsung did not stop at GPU. The company has also ramped up the CPU clock speed in some benchmarks. In GLBenchmark 2.5.1, for instance, the CPU never drops below 1.2GHz, but in GFXBench 2.7 it can dip to 500MHz (250MHz virtual frequency). Basically, benchmark tests get the CPU on steroids and throw it in a higher-performance benchmark mode, giving it an artificial boost to make it look better while hiding its actual performance. Its numbers may look better, but the situations are fake.
AnandTech found a string that shows the Samsung Galaxy S4 is hardcoded to perform better in specific applications for benchmark testing. Mentions include Quadrant standard, advanced and professional, linpack (free), Benchmark Pi and AnTuTu.
As CNET points out, one of the side effects of Samsung's tweaking is that if certain benchmarks are running, the CPU is automatically running at the highest possible speed, even if the app is idle. The same tweak seems to be boosting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 version as well.
The new Samsung Galaxy S4 is a high-end, top-performance smartphone nonetheless, but Samsung apparently felt the need to "optimize" it so it scores better in benchmarks than it normally does. In other words, it's a top-tier smartphone but the benchmarks are inflated. If there's any lesson to be learned here, it's that one should not trust benchmarks when it comes to evaluating smartphones.
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