Samsung caught rigging benchmarks again with Note 3

Analysis by Ars Technica shows that the Note 3 engages an artificial boost mode when running benchmarking apps.

img h Samsung caught rigging benchmarks again with Note 3

Samsung has been caught in the act of manipulating benchmark scores once again.

Earlier this year Samsung caught some flak for rigging the benchmark scores of the Galaxy S4.

Following up on a tip sent in by a user on the Beyond3D forums, Anandtech followed up and discovered that while running benchmarking apps the Galaxy S4 relaxes its GPU throttling rules and allows the GPU to clock itself at 533MHz instead of the standard 480MHz. In effect, this allows for a much higher benchmarking score than a phone with a similar hardware loadout.

In the case of the Galaxy Note 3, Ars Technica noticed that the Note was beating the LG G2 by leaps and bounds during benchmarking — despite the fact that both devices have a Snapdragon 800.

Suspecting that Samsung was up to its usual tricks and manipulating benchmark scores by providing a boost or full-power option (in normal operation the SoC scales down performance when acceptable to conserve battery life) when the Note detected a benchmarking app was running, the Ars team set about making their benchmarking app not a benchmarking app. They did this by disassembling the Geekbench package then changing the package name to “Stealthbench”, fooling the phone into thinking it was running just an ordinary app.

Running “Stealthbench” as it would any other program results in a substantial change in benchmarking scores: scores drop by 20 percent into LG G2 territory.

Ars went a step further and located the Java code that lists which apps should trigger the SoC power boost. Amongst the apps were Geekbench, Quadrant, Antutu, Linpack, GFXBench — the who’s who of benchmarking tools. Doing the same stealth test with some of these other apps revealed similar performance drops to the Geekbench test.

Even without the artificial benchmark boost Samsung’s Note 3 comes out faster than the LG G2. While it is the better device, Samsung has lost a lot of credibility by lying about scores.

Source: Ars Technica

Sam Reynolds is a Canadian technology journalist based in Taipei. His interest is the intersection between politics, business and technology.