Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4 vs Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4: Double or nothing

GSMArena team, 27 May 2013.

Performance

Both versions of Samsung's Android flagship for 2013 breeze through not only the heavily TouchWiz-coated Android, but also through any application or game you throw at them.

Samsung's Exynos 5 Octachipset utilizes ARM's big.LITTLE chipset architecture. It mates a set of four low-power Cortex-A7 cores with a set of four beefier Cortex-A15 cores to provide better balance between power consumption and performance. In the case of the Exynos 5 Octa, quad 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 cores take care of trivial UI tasks, as well as calls and messaging. When demand for performance increases, the four 1.6GHz Cortex-A15 cores step up to the job at hand.

In comparison, the Snapdragon 600 that's in control under the hood of the Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 relies purely on the quad-core 1.9GHz Krait 300 CPU inside to be power efficient when there's not much to be done, and performance-oriented when there is. It's clocked considerably higher than the Cortex-A15s, which usually means more power consumption, but also more power.

However, the CPUs aren't the only difference between the two chipsets - the GPUs are different models, too. The Adreno 320 clocked at 450MHz is the graphics guru in the Snapdragon 600, while the tri-core 533MHz PowerVR SGX544 GPU is in charge of graphics on board the Exynos chipset. If the latter sounds familiar, that's because it's not exactly new, but the extra core and clock speed should give it an edge over its Adreno counterpart.

Before we begin with the benchmarks, it should be noted that while technically true, the Galaxy S4 GT-I9500 isn't exactly an octa-core device in the sense that only a set of four cores is working at any single time. This means that when things get really hairy, the Cortex-A7 doesn't provide any additional computational power to the Cortex-A15.

Both versions of the Galaxy S4 smoke the competition out of the water in the BenchmarkPi test. Interestingly, there isn't a winner among them, as they both score the same score.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    132
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    132
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    147
  • HTC One
    151
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • HTC Butterfly
    266
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    330
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    359
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    362
  • Nexus 4
    431

Linpack measures the speed of how fast an Android device can solve a standard calculation in MFLOPS (millions of floating point operations per second). Here, the more powerful Cortex-A15 cores take the edge on the Krait 300, but only by a narrow margin.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    791
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    788
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    743
  • HTC One
    646
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • HTC Butterfly
    624
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Oppo Find 5
    593
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    214.3
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    189.1
  • HTC One X+
    177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175.5
  • HTC One X
    160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141.5

Geekbench 2 is a cross-platform benchmark, which measures both CPU and memory performance. It allows us to compare the Galaxy Samsung Galaxy S4 against the iPhone 5, but our main focus here is how the Octa and Snapdragon 600 versions differ, and the former takes this one as well with almost 100 score points.

Geekbench 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    3324
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    3227
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    3040
  • HTC One
    2708
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2173
  • HTC Butterfly
    2143
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1845
  • LG Optimus G
    1723
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1661
  • iPhone 5
    1601

Moving on to compound benchmarks, AnTuTu and Quadrant put the Galaxy Samsung Galaxy S4 with Exynos on top - the octa-core version is once again slightly faster.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    26275
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    24716
  • HTC One
    22678
  • Sony Xperia Z
    20794
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    20056
  • HTC Butterfly
    19513
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    15547
  • Oppo Find 5
    15167

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    12446
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    12376
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    12105
  • HTC One
    11746
  • Sony Xperia Z
    8075
  • HTC One X+
    7632
  • LG Optimus G
    7439
  • Oppo Find 5
    7111
  • HTC One X
    5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    5916
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    5450
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5170
  • Nexus 4
    4567

Now let's look at the GPU benchmarks. We ran GLBenchmark 2.7 in 1080p off-screen mode, which is also the native screen resolution for the flagships. The Galaxy Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600) came out ahead of the HTC One here, which leads us to suspect that the GPU has been overclocked, just like the CPU. The S4 (Octa) was a couple of frames faster.

GLBenchmark 2.7 Egypt (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    41
  • HTC One
    37
  • Oppo Find 5
    32
  • Google Nexus 4
    32
  • Sony Xperia Z
    31
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    31
  • Sony Xperia SP
    31
  • Apple iPhone 5
    30
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    30
  • LG Optimus G
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17
  • HTC One X
    11

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    59.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    57.1
  • HTC One
    56.4
  • Sony Xperia Z
    55.6
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    54.2
  • Nexus 4
    53.9
  • Asus Padfone 2
    53.4
  • LG Optimus G
    52.6
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    41.3
  • Oppo Find 5
    38.6

When it comes to JavaScript performance both Galaxy S4 variants are in a class of their own. HTML5 performance is fast as well, but as Vellamo points out, it still needs some work as far as compatibility with the latest standard is concerned. Nevertheless, the difference between the two remains negligible.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    804
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    810
  • Samsung Ativ S
    891
  • Apple iPhone 5
    915
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    910
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    972
  • HTC One X+
    1001
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1011
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    1059
  • HTC One
    1124
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1192
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1312
  • Sony Xperia Z
    1336
  • LG Optimus G
    1353
  • HTC Butterfly
    1433
  • Nexus 4
    1971
  • Oppo Find 5
    2045

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2418
  • HTC One
    2382
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    2078
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    2060
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    2056
  • HTC Butterfly
    1866
  • Oppo Find 5
    1658
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Nexus 4
    1310

As far as synthethic benchmarks are concerned there isn't too much of a difference between the Octa and Snapdragon 600 versions of Samsung's best droid yet. We suspect this is on purpose - Samsung wanted to guarantee that devs can expect the exact same level of performance form the Galaxy S4, regardless of which version the user has. And they've done an excellent job. But this isn't the best that Cortex-A15 in the Exynos chipset is capable of - we might have to wait until the Galaxy Note III to get a true feel for its performance.

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