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Cellphones Hardware

Samsung Caught Boosting Galaxy S4 Benchmarks 234

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-that-you-should-buy-a-phone-for-its-benchmarks dept.
A recent forum post at Beyond3D made an interesting claim: that the Samsung Galaxy S4's GPU ran at 532 MHz for certain whitelisted benchmark applications, and at 480 MHz for everything else. The folks at AnandTech decided to investigate and found out that the phone does indeed let its GPU run at a higher frequency when particular benchmark software is running. They found a similar oddity with the CPU — it wasn't restricted for other apps, but it was forced to run at max speed during benchmarks. Then they decided to look for direct evidence that this was intentional. "Poking around I came across the application changing the DVFS behavior to allow these frequency changes – TwDVFSApp.apk. Opening the file in a hex editor and looking at strings inside (or just running strings on the .odex file) pointed at what appeared to be hard coded profiles/exceptions for certain applications. The string 'BenchmarkBooster' is a particularly telling one. ... Quadrant standard, advanced, and professional, linpack (free, not paid), Benchmark Pi, and AnTuTu are all called out specifically. Nothing for GLBenchmark 2.5.1 though, despite its similar behavior."
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Samsung Caught Boosting Galaxy S4 Benchmarks

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  • by pieleric (917714) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @07:37AM (#44433665) Homepage

    There seems to be an official answer from Samsung here: http://samsungtomorrow.com/4676 [samsungtomorrow.com]

    It's in Korean, but here is the translation, provided by sammobile.com:
    "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. 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.

    We remain committed to providing our customers with the best possible user experience."

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @07:38AM (#44433671) Homepage

    Here you go

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57593426-92/debate-sparked-about-benchmark-for-intel-arm-chips/

    Meh. That link basically says that there are different results from different benchmarks. It says that it's a "not uncommon assertion" that companies "have attempted in the past to "manipulate" benchmarks", but that's not the same as finding code that overclocks the chip specifically when it's running benchmark programs

  • by the computer guy nex (916959) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @07:42AM (#44433689)
    Shows how far behind Samsung is in terms of hardware engineering. They stack the deck and still can't touch a 9 month old phone. Both browser performance and gaming performance, the 2 most stressful use cases on a smartphone, are way behind Apple.

    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6914/54294.png [anandtech.com]
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6914/54296.png [anandtech.com]
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6914/54300.png [anandtech.com]
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6914/54298.png [anandtech.com]
    http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6914/54305.png [anandtech.com]
  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @07:58AM (#44433851)

    Maybe you should learn to use Google. There's plenty of quotes of 533mhz for the GPU from long before this article and Samsung's response.

    One example in the comments section of this article from March which a very quick simple search dug up:

    http://www.sammobile.com/2013/03/03/galaxy-s-ivs-specifications-leak-confirm-exynos-octa-powervr-sgx-544mp/ [sammobile.com]

    Or are you just being a fanboy and not actually interested in the facts? Because the comment you just posted is a complete lie which suggests that maybe that's the real problem you have.

  • by hattig (47930) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:10AM (#44434009) Journal

    But the device doesn't do 533MHz for the GPU in any other use case, the top clock for the GPU is 480MHz.

    This isn't "forcing the system into optimal mode for benchmarks so that power saving, etc, doesn't futz the result".

    This is forcing the GPU into a state that never can be attained by any other software on the system.

    Of course I'm not ignoring the fact that another Samsung device runs at 533MHz and this was a bad cut and paste job onto the new device!

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:22AM (#44434131)

    It doesn't. Other applications can run at 533mhz...

    No. They can't. Please try reading the article.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/7187/looking-at-cpugpu-benchmark-optimizations-galaxy-s-4 [anandtech.com]

    ...all other apps/games were limited to 480MHz.

    Other applications can NOT run at 533. The only applications that have access to that speed boost are benchmark apps.

    The ONLY apps.

    Please read the article before you continue spreading your misinformation.

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @09:04AM (#44434683)

    "How much does Samsung pay you to spread this misinformation?"

    Most likely the same as Apple pays you, nothing, because I'm not a shill and presumably neither are you. Unless you are of course, in which case then they still pay me nothing.

    "This thread is littered with multiple posts from you spreading the same misinformation that is clearly wrong to anyone who's read the article - the 533MHZ speed is ONLY available to benchmark apps"

    What is it about Samsung's official response that confuses you so much? I think it's quite easy to understand from their simple response that they do this for more than just benchmark apps and also do it for a number of other every day apps:

    "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."

    "What is the going rate for spreading misinformation in a Slashdot discussion?"

    Now I've explained that I'm not a shill and that I've explained why you're wrong I have a question for you instead - what is the going rate for attacking Samsung despite being wrong? Nothing? I thought so, so why exactly do you insist on doing it?

    If you really want to see someone spamming this thread go look at your fan Sockatume, who has posted many more posts backing up your incorrect position than I have correcting the both of you. I don't think he's a shill though, I just think he refuses to back down when he's clearly and demonstrably wrong and instead just likes to witter on even more as if if he posts enough he'll somehow become right, even though that wont happen because you can't change reality.

    If you can prove to me that it's all a lie, and that Samsung's other apps listed above don't run at 533mhz, and that no other apps can utilise this feature other than benchmarking apps, and that all the quotes of the GPU in the S4 running at 533mhz are lies and that this was never the case and it's simply being overclocked for benchmarking then I'll gladly concede defeat and agree that Samsung are in the wrong.

    Good luck with that though, but kudos if you can in fact somehow uncover such a massive deception campaign dating back to articles all the way from March.

    Protip: Just because you disagree with someone doesn't make that other person a shill.

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @09:52AM (#44435303)

    All the ones Samsung listed for a start:

    S Browser, Gallery, Camera, Video Player

  • by Holi (250190) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:07AM (#44436243)

    An article cannot be wrong?

    S browser, gallery, camera, video player all run at 533mhz
    Others can as well if they need to. It's just how many developers out there are going to optimize for one phone?

    Just because you don't want to do any research your self because you lazy and would prefer to insult people does not mean that anyone else lied. It just means that you took someones word without verifying it.

    Now apologize the the GP for calling them a liar.

  • by the computer guy nex (916959) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:10AM (#44436281)

    Shows how far behind Samsung is in terms of hardware engineering. They stack the deck and still can't touch a 9 month old phone. Both browser performance and gaming performance, the 2 most stressful use cases on a smartphone, are way behind Apple. http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6914/54305.png [anandtech.com]

    Look at your link. It shows the S4 beating the iP5. Also Sunspider is kind of weird. I think that current Windows Phones with underpowered SoCs post the best scores in more recent comparisons, and that doesn't make a lot of sense.

    Regarding your other links, yes, the iP5 has oddly good GPU performance.

    The S4 beats the iPhone 5 while in a freezer. It has heat dissipation issues due to poor built quality.

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