SPECviewperf® 11 Conclusions

SPECviewperf® 11 is a remarkable improvement upon the predecessor.  More smooth and the data sets load much more efficiently.  So we must then turn to those unsung heroes that have sat down for many, many months putting this all together, without doubt kudos to you all.   The final package has that needed fresh crisp look and new well thought out constructive data sets.

This is most certainly a substantial benchmark that is given back to the community by the hardware vendors.  For those out in the wild who complain that nothing is ever given back, please think again as these guys and girls who make up the SPEC/GWPG and its project groups — SPECapc and SPECgpc;  give up much of their free time to attend these committees and oversee the professional benchmarks so many take for granted.   For the more adventurous who wish to see the full remit, try sitting watching a complete FSAA run.  It’s only after this you will truly understand just how much gruelling and demanding work has gone into this build.

To quote the current SPECgpc chair; Ian Williams.  “The New GUI, updated viewsets is one of the most significant releases of SPECviewperf in recent years. It delivers a much better user experience and the major workload updates better align graphics performance results with what users experience in their day-to-day work with professional applications.”    Never has one phrase been so accurate within the professional arena.   Professional systems are now about to face the challenge that will stretch them to the limits.

It brings to the fore the question many of the more larger S.I.’s and VARS must now be asking “why should we submit a submission, after all, the Tier 1’s dominate these sorts of things”.  Not so the case.   Not just a year ago; several companies completed and successfully met the criteria and their rewards where great.     It did involve a little bit of extra work behind the scenes, though they did all reap the reward of very successful orders.     And, their SPECviewperf results also were as good if not better in some areas than the Tier 1’s.  It just takes that bold decision to step up to the plate and a leap of faith.  It can be done successfully.

The first results are now live on the SPEC website and show an interesting set of returns under Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.  As many still maintain Windows XP Professional 64-bit we maintained our platform OS of choice so that readers can get a good insight to how their systems should be performing.  We can advise those out in the wild that the numbers we have obtained under Windows XP Professional 64-bit are very good indeed; therefore you have a guideline in which to follow.

Therefore to summarise.   The new SPECviewperf 11 GUI makes it easier for novice or infrequent users to set up multiple benchmark runs, access results, and receive help for common issues. Identical scripting is used for both Windows and Linux environments, helping ensure consistent results across different operating systems.    Test files in SPECviewperf 11, called viewsets, are traced from newer versions of eight different graphics-intensive applications and incorporate advanced OpenGL functionality such as shaders and vertex buffer objects (VBOs). The new viewsets also contain larger models – some with more than 60 million vertices – to exercise the latest generation of graphics cards and to reflect current user workloads.   Notwithstanding, we still have to complete that Config file hidden away within the application.  It should be properly completed as you never know who or what organisation will ask for a copy of your run logs one day.  Store them safely.

We now have a professional graphics benchmark package that fully supports those new professional graphic cards that have hit the streets from ATI and of course, still making some formidable noise are the current Quadro series from Nvidia.  Within SPECviewperf® 11 this is where the true battle does commence.   Though we have to look at this all very objectively as each company has their own merits within, and, of course we have finally the choice.  Though we anticipate these next 6 months to be very bitterly fought out here, within SPECviewperf® 11 and in the marketplace.
The year ahead, it’s going to be very interesting indeed.  All those wonderful hardware parts will make differences within certain viewsets, and of course each new driver and hardware release from both ATI and Nvidia will bring with it more advancement of the viewset results.  Therefore we all have to watch these spaces very closely as the going is about to get very tough and exciting indeed.

The line is now drawn in the sand for both ATI and Nvidia, the gauntlets are down – let the optimisations begin.

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