What is the
The BYTEmark benchmark test suite is used to determine
how the processor, its caches and coprocessors influence
overall system performance. Its measurements can indicate
problems with the processor subsystem and (since the processor
is a major influence on overall system performance) give
us an idea of how well a given system will perform.
The BYTEmark test suite is especially valuable since
it lets us directly compare computers with different processors
and operating systems. The code used in BYTEmark tests simulates
some of the real-world operations used by popular office
and technical applications.
What do the different test scores in the suite mean?
There are 10 tests in the BYTEmark test suite. Each uses
a well-known algorithm to analyze the full spectrum of processor
performance in the same way real-world applications do.
Some tests concentrate on integer performance; others test
floating point capabilities. You can read more about the
individual tests and the operations they measure in the
BYTEmark documentation. It's available at http://www.byte.com/bmark/bdoc.htm.
Because processors don't always perform the same tasks
in the same way, and thus may sometimes give unexpected
results on individual tests within a benchmark suite, BYTEmark
performs statistical checks to confirm the validity of results.
What is the advantage of benchmark tests test suite?
PC test centers generally measure performance in two ways:
by performing controlled tasks with commercially-available
applications, and with custom-built programs designed to
test a particular facet of the computer system. Application-based
benchmarks perform tasks inside commercially available programs.
They're extremely useful for determining relative performance
within a given platform, and less useful for ranking performance
among machines that use different processor architectures.
The BYTEmark suite forces a system to perform carefully
chosen operations natively and in isolation, that is, without
assistance from an advanced operating system or other system
resources such as a fast hard drive or enhanced video subsystem. Application
benchmarks may show that a computer system is fast or slow,
but the BYTEmark tests can help determine if the change
in performance is due to extra memory or a faster processor,
for example. In certain cases they can also be used to demonstrate
obscure features (and sometimes flaws) in compilers or in
Remember, however, that a computer's overall system performance
is a composite of many factors : the processor, the speed
at which it and any L2 cache is clocked, the speed of its
physical memory, the speed of its hard drive, the speed
of its video subsystem and many other features. Vendors
make trade-offs when assembling computer systems in order
to achieve desired price points for new machines; these
can cause two machines using the same microprocessor to
report very different results.
Why do the Bitfield test results vary so much between
the two processors?
If you'll examine the chart carefully you'll notice that
one test, Bitfield, returns very high scores for the G3
when compared to the Pentium II. The reason? The PowerPC
compilers used to build these applications can generate
code that's significantly different from that of x86 (i.e.,
What's the difference between these compilers?
A lot of it has to do with how the compilers generate code
for this test. Compilers generate code based on their knowledge
of the target processor's architecture. They use this information
to produce machine code that implements the algorithm most
Do compiler optimizations impact results?
Yes, because they take advantage of the processor architecture.
This is exactly what a software developer wants; it helps
speed the performance of the application he's creating.
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