SPECapc Lightwave Tests
SPECapc (Application Performance Characterization) tests are fundamentally different from the SPECviewperf tests I’ve used in other performance reviews. 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.
Lightwave rendering is an extremely demanding thing all on its own, but the SPECapc script delves heavily into multitasking, too. Since the renders can often take hours, it makes sense to create a workload that represents what a real Lightwave user would do: work on other parts of the project while a long render is going on.
The manually-overclocked FX-8320E wins every test, and the Intel CPU wins none, although it slightly edges out the stock-clocked FX CPU in the Interactive portion of the test. Again, note that the overclocked FX-8320E wins against the FX-9590 in every single test.
For the last non-gaming test, let’s take a look at CINEBENCH R15’s results.