After a good bit of sleuthing, we can confidently say that Samsung appears to be artificially boosting the US Note 3's benchmark scores with a special, high-power CPU mode that kicks in when the device runs a large number of popular benchmarking apps. Samsung did something similar with the international Galaxy S 4's GPU, but this is the first time we've seen the boost on a US device. We also found a way to disable this special CPU mode, so for the first time we can see just how much Samsung's benchmark optimizations affect benchmark scores.
On one hand, who cares? Synthetic benchmarks don't mean as much as how fast a phone turns on, or powers down, or launches a game, or crunches a video, or does any of a thousand other things real people need them to do every day. Things that are far more important, and far harder to cheat at. On the other hand, given that, why bother? Especially if you've been caught before. You know you'll be caught again, and you'll give people who already dislike or distrust you yet another reason to pile on the internet wedgies, and all for absolutely no gain.
It's nothing worth cheating over. It's nothing worth Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, tweeting over. It's certainly nothing worth breaking reviewer or customer trust over, not for a few extra points on a graph only nerds read anyway.