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SiSoft Sandra 2013SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. It's available in five versions, ranging from the free "Lite" version to the Sandra Enterprise version. Sandra fully supports and exploits multi-processor and multi-core systems, NUMA memory, Hyper-Threading, and MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE 4.1, SSE 4.2, AVX, and FMA instructions.
It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what's really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.
CPU Cache Memory Tests
The SANDRA DhryStone and Whetstone tests are CPU tests that run completely within the CPU + cache memory itself. These tests are perfect for seeing general efficiency per processing core. Dhrystone is basically a suite of arithmetic and string manipulating programs and is an older CPU tests. Even so, it remains a simple and accurate way to show RAW CPU processing performance. The whetstone benchmark primarily measures floating-point arithmetic performance.
CPU MultiMedia and Cryptography Tests
This benchmark generates a picture (640x480) of the well-known Mandelbrot fractal, using 255 iterations for each data pixel, in 32 colours. It is a real-life benchmark rather than a synthetic benchmark, designed to show the improvements MMX/Enhanced, 3DNow!/Enhanced, SSE(2) bring to such an algorithm. The benchmark is multi-threaded for up to 64 CPUs maximum on SMP systems. This works by interlacing, i.e. each thread computes the next column not being worked on by other threads. Sandra creates as many threads as there are CPUs in the system and assignes each thread to a different CPU.
The benchmark contains many versions (ALU, MMX, (Wireless) MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSSE3) that use integers to simulate floating point numbers, as well as many versions that use floating point numbers (FPU, SSE, SSE2, SSSE3). This illustrates the difference between ALU and FPU power. The SIMD versions compute 2/4/8 Mandelbrot point iterations at once - rather than one at a time - thus taking advantage of the SIMD instructions. Even so, 2/4/8x improvement cannot be expected (due to other overheads), generally a 2.5-3x improvement has been achieved. The ALU & FPU of 6/7 generation of processors are very advanced (e.g. 2+ execution units) thus bridging the gap as well.
Financial Operations, Multi-Core Efficiency, and Floating Point Tests
These final three tests measure the ability of the CPU to conduct various other operations. Financial-esque operations, including highly detailed mathematical algorithms are measured in thousands of operations per second (kOPT/s). The speed at which information is transmitted in multi-core setups is tested as well. Finally, SiSoft Sandra has its own suite of ALU Floating Point tests to test out the floating point operations of the CPU.
Next up we'll take a look at the GPU capabilities of the A10-6800K.