CPU Performance

The Galaxy S 5 marks the second Snapdragon 801 based device we've reviewed at AnandTech, the first being HTC's M8. I've gone through the Snapdragon 801 in depth already, but we're basically dealing with a reasonable upgrade to Snapdragon 800 on an improved 28nm HPm process. The bulk of the improvements impact GPU and ISP performance, but the SoC is just better overall. GS5 owners are lucky as all versions of the device that use Qualcomm silicon feature the MSM8974AC v3 SKU, which includes four 2.5GHz Krait 400 cores and a 578MHz Adreno 330 GPU.

Snapdragon 800/801 Breakdown
  SoC Version Model Max CPU Frequency Max GPU Frequency ISP eMMC DSDA Memory IF
MSM8974VV v2 S800 2.2GHz 450MHz 320MHz 4.5 N 800MHz
MSM8974AA v2 S800 2.3GHz 450MHz 320MHz 4.5 N 800MHz
MSM8974AB v2 S800 2.3GHz 550MHz 320MHz 4.5 N 933MHz
MSM8974AA v3 S801 2.3GHz 450MHz 320MHz 5.0 Y 800MHz
MSM8974AB v3 S801 2.3GHz 578MHz 465MHz 5.0 Y 933MHz
MSM8974AC v3 S801 2.5GHz 578MHz 465MHz 5.0 Y 933MHz

Although Samsung was the first major OEM to be caught cheating in Android benchmarks, it appears to have completely abandoned the practice with the Galaxy S 5's shipping software. Not only was I unable to find any evidence of the old cheats, I couldn't find any evidence of HTC's new subtle cheating either. The Galaxy S 5 appears to be clean as far as I can tell. Kudos to Samsung on doing the right thing, and I hope all other OEMs take this as a sign to stop the silliness.

For our performance tests I turned to our usual suite of browser and native applications. If there's one obvious takeaway from our CPU tests it's that despite having faster silicon than HTC's M8, the GS5 isn't always faster. I believe this has more to do with thermals than anything else. HTC's metal chassis is able to do a better job of dissipating heat than the GS5's plastic chassis. I don't believe there's a substantial impact on user experience, but it's interesting to note how choice in materials can have a performance impact like this.

SunSpider 1.0.2 Benchmark  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT (Chrome/Safari/IE)

BaseMark OS II - Overall

BaseMark OS II - System

BaseMark OS II - Graphics

BaseMark OS II - Web

GPU Performance

GPU performance remains where we see the biggest benefit from Snapdragon 801 vs. 800, and since the GPU gains are almost entirely due to frequency scaling it's not too surprising that the M8 pulls ahead of the GS5 here in most cases.

There aren't any surprises here. The Adreno 330 in the Galaxy S 5 is more than capable of driving the device's 1080p display both in current and near term future 3D games.

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Overall

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Graphics

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Physics

BaseMark X 1.1

BaseMark X 1.1 - Overall (Medium)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Overall (High Quality)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (Medium, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (Medium, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (Medium, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (Medium, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Offscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Dunes (High Quality, Onscreen)

BaseMark X 1.1 - Hangar (High Quality, Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 ALU Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 ALU Test (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Alpha Blending Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Alpha Blending Test (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Driver Overhead Test (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Driver Overhead Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Fill Rate Test (Offscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Fill Rate Test (Onscreen)

GFXBench 3.0 Quality/Accuracy Test (High Precision)

GFXBench 3.0 Quality/Accuracy Test (Medium Precision)

NAND Performance

The GS5 ships with 16GB or 32GB of NAND internally on an integrated eMMC device. Expansion is supported through a microSD card slot behind the removable back cover. Although the Snapdragon 801 inside supports eMMC 5.0, that alone doesn't guarantee a substantial increase in NAND performance. Keep in mind that most OEMs find multiple sources for their internal eMMC/NAND solutions, so what I'm testing here may only be representative of a portion of all GS5 devices.

Samsung sampled a 16GB GS5 review device. I put it through our usual random/sequential IO tests on a 100MB span of LBAs.

Random read performance is disappointing, it falls behind all modern devices we've tested. Random write performance is middle-of-the-road at best. It's unclear to me if this is a cost optimization or a lack of concern for NAND performance, but either way I'd rather see these metrics improve rather than regress.

 

Internal NAND - Random Read

Internal NAND - Random Write

Sequential read/write performance both improve handsomely compared to the Galaxy S 4. I can see why Samsung would want to optimize for these two cases as they are quite common in regular usage, but random read/write performance can also significantly impact user experience.

Internal NAND - Sequential Read

Internal NAND - Sequential Write

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  • comomolo - Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - link

    For such a rant about others idiocy, you don't seem to have very solid arguments, just a pretty subjective opinion.

    Lack of microSD and replaceable battery is a no go for many people (including myself) against the Nexus. Also, besides all the FUD around "tech" sites, AMOLED is just a much better technology for any screen and especially useful on mobile devices... if it was properly leveraged, which amazingly Samsung does not, but a knowledgeable user can. Even if you don't take advantage of the low consumption of dark themes on OLEDs, you get the best screen out there with the S5, according to DisplayMate.

    Now why exactly is the Nexus 5 so "superior"?
    Reply
  • goobersnatcher - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    The N5 isn't superior by any measure other than the promise of fast OS updates. However, when you take in the huge "bang for the buck" .......... the N5 is very compelling! The Moto X, very nice when it was on sale. You can buy a N5 and a nice tablet for the purchase price of a S5. The value for many for the $600.00+ price for a S5 ......... is prohibitive. Of course I respect those who value having one of the best ...... if that means that much! It's just "different stroke for different folks"! Reply
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - link

    Huh? No weak points? The lousy camera, speakerphone and build quality? Reply
  • LakerHater - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    I disagree, the LG G2 is the same as the Nexus or even better in some areas (camera, battery). Plus, I can always switch to the Google Now Launcher if I want stock android look. Reply
  • goobersnatcher - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    Great phone ....by the way. Can get it for a little over $400.00. The G2 can do it all! :) Reply
  • nos024 - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    Wow...you just called out all the apple users out there basically. Reply
  • max1001 - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    So you are telling me you judge an ui lag base on 23 fps youtube video? That's like measuring a rocket speed using a radar gun that max out at 60 mph. . Reply
  • pjcamp - Friday, July 04, 2014 - link

    I made one change to my Galaxy S3. I replaced the stock ROM with Cyanogenmod 11. Stuttering and crashes went away. Agreed -- Touchwiz is the weak point for Samsung and always has been. Reply
  • sabot00 - Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - link

    Rather unfortunate to see very incremental changes lately. Both the new HTC One and the GS5 are small evolutions. Reply
  • BedfordTim - Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - link

    Agreed, but as xsoft7 has pointed out Samsung has a way of making the change seem bigger than it is.
    Personally I would have liked to see the power button moved so you don't press it when you pick up the phone.
    Reply

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