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Samsung accused of rigging Galaxy S4 benchmark process

Samsung has been accused of rigging its Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone to give inflated benchmark test results.

An Anandtech investigation revealed that Samsung was only allowing the Samsung Galaxy S4’s GPU to run at full capacity when being benchmarked.

There are a couple of hardware variants found within the Samsung Galaxy S4 in different regions, but the ultimate original configuration involved the first generation of Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa SoC.

As well as an impressive eight core CPU set-up (though only four are used at a time depending on the task), this Exynos 5 Octa chip sports a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU capable of running at 533MHz.

However, the investigation found that this GPU clock speed was only in evidence during certain major benchmark tests – GLBenchmark 2.5.1, AnTuTu and Quadrant. When even the most demanding 3D game was run on the Samsung Galaxy S4, by contrast, the GPU clock speed only ever hits a peak of 480MHz.

That’s a difference of almost 11 percent.

The result: some deeply impressive initial benchmark results that don’t accurately portray the kind of performance users can attain with the device.

It turns out that the Exynos 5 Octa’s elaborate CPU set-up is also maximised for these particular benchmarks, running the maximum 1.6GHz quad-core set-up regardless of the benchmark task being presented to them. Other benchmarks reveal the 500MHz power-saving cores kicking in for more common tasks.

Even the Qualcomm Snapdragon variants of the Galaxy S4 exhibit this CPU behaviour, it was found.

This isn’t quite the same as the GPU fiddle, as this maximum CPU performance is also available to users in certain demanding apps. It’s just that these CPUs have deliberately been forced to maximum output for the purpose of benchmarking.

That Samsung has given specific attention to boosting the S4’s benchmark results is made all the more explicit by a code string that was discovered, called “BenchmarkBooster,” which seemingly exists with the sole purpose of maximising benchmark results.

Next, read our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 comparison.

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