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.
Bear in mind that what this benchmark does is use scripts to control a stand-alone instance of Lightwave, so in that sense it’s more indicative of real-world performance than the embedded Lightwave code in SPECviewperf. Again the performance difference between the two CPUs is almost nonexistent at stock clock speeds. However, overclocking brings significant performance benefits, especially in the multitasking script, where it’s almost 30% faster than the stock-clocked CPU.