Samsung accused of benchmark cheating with Galaxy S4

Samsung denies claims of 'benchmark boosting' with Galaxy S4

Samsung might have been letting its Galaxy S4 smartphone cheat in benchmark tests to score higher than rival devices.

The Samsung Galaxy S4: cheating benchmarks?
The Samsung Galaxy S4: cheating benchmarks?

Research conducted by Anandtech on the Galaxy S4 has led to allegations that Samsung cheats on benchmark tests, aka 'benchmark boosting'. The respected tech site found that both the Exynos 5 and Qualcomm models of the Galaxy S4 allow the clock speed of the CPU and GPU to increase for certain benchmark tests.

The research discovered that for benchmarking apps AnTuTu, Quadrant and GLBenchmark 2.5.1, the Galaxy S4 GPU (Exynos 5 model) clock speeds gets boosted to 532MHz. "Running any games, even the most demanding titles, returned a GPU frequency of 480MHz" confirmed Anandtech.

This means that the benchmark scores often used in reviews of the Galaxy S4 could be seen as skewed and don't reflect the performance users will actually see on a day-to-day basis.

Interestingly, the later version of GLBenchmark which we now use at PC Advisor, version 2.7, uses the lower clock speed. We don't use AnTuTu or Quadrant either.

Anandtech also found that the CPU speed for the Exynos 5 and Qualcomm models was being granted permission to work harder than normal. This speed is available to all apps but it appeared that the chip was forced to maximum power for the benchmarks.

It's unclear whether any of Samsung's other Galaxy smartphones or tablets have been given the same treatment.

Despite these findings Samsung denies any allegations of cheating, stating that the different clock speeds are both normal and necessary.

"Under ordinary conditions, the Galaxy S4 has been designed to allow a maximum GPU frequency of 533MHz. However, the maximum GPU frequency is lowered to 480MHz for certain gaming apps that may cause an overload, when they are used for a prolonged period of time in full-screen mode." Samsung told CNET.

"Meanwhile, a maximum GPU frequency of 533MHz is applicable for running apps that are usually used in full-screen mode, such as the S Browser, gallery, camera, video player, and certain benchmarking apps, which also demand substantial performance.

"The maximum GPU frequencies for the Galaxy S4 have been varied to provide optimal user experience for our customers, and were not intended to improve certain benchmark results."

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Chris Martin

PC Advisor (UK)
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