|Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 02 January 2011|
Page 12 of 15
SPECapc (Application Performance Characterization) tests are fundamentally different from the SPECviewperf tests. While SPECviewperf tests incorporate code from the various test programs directly into the benchmark, the SPECapc tests are separate scripts and datasets that are run against a stand-alone installation of the program being benchmarked. SPECapc group members sponsor applications and work with end-users, user groups, publications and ISVs to select and refine workloads, which consist of data sets and benchmark script files. Workloads are determined by end-users and ISVs, not SPECapc group members. These workloads will evolve over time in conjunction with end-users' needs and the increasing functionality of PCs and workstations.
For this test, I ran the SPECapc "Lightwave" benchmark against a trial installation of Newtek's Lightwave 3D product. The benchmark, developed in cooperation with NewTek, provides realistic workloads that simulate a typical LightWave 3D workflow. It contains 11 datasets ranging from 64,000 to 1.75 million polygons and representing such applications as 3D character animation, architectural review, and industrial design. Scores for individual workloads are composited under three categories: interactive, render and multitask.
The benchmark puts special emphasis on processes that benefit from multi-threaded computing, such as animation, OpenGL playback, deformations, and high-end rendering that includes ray tracing, radiosity, complex textures and volumetric lighting. The test reports three scores: Animation (multitasking), Animation (interactive), and Rendering. The numeric scores represent the time it took to complete each section of the benchmark, in seconds, so lower scores are better.
I've found the SPECapc Lightwave 3D test to be an excellent indicator of overclock stability. In many cases, overclocked systems that will make it through every other benchmark here will crash in this test.
Although this test stresses system components other than the processor (the video card's OpenGL implementation, for example), it still shows obvious performance differences in the CPUs. The AMD 1100T ekes out a couple of very narrow victories over the Core i7-950 in two of the three tests, but it can't compete with the 2600K.
In the Animation (Multitasking) section, we see a very nice performance scaling with frequency for the Intel processors, with results following clock speed almost perfectly. This pattern is repeated in the Animation (Interactive) and Rendering sections, although the differences are less notable. The 1100T's relatively poor showing here prove that six physical cores don't always beat four physical cores.