Samsung issued a statement explaining why benchmark apps can bump up the Galaxy S4 GPU to 532MHz, while games and other apps cannot. According to the Korean manufacturer, games, which run at max and in full-screen mode for extended periods of time, are not allowed to increase the GPU frequency above 480MHz in order to prevent an overload that could potentially damage the hardware.
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.
Samsung Electronics remains committed to providing our customers with the best possible user experience.
AnandTech examined Samsung’s claims and found that select Samsung apps can boost the GPU up to 533MHz for short instances, but not for sustained use. These blips of 533MHz occurred when applying filters in the camera app, for example. AnandTech also noticed that benchmark apps are granted the ability to temporarily raise the thermal limits of the hardware. This thermal boost is an option not granted to other apps.
Anandtech notes that other handsets besides the Galaxy S4 exhibit a similar CPU frequency behavior and will have a followup report soon.