System Performance: Miscellaneous Workloads

Standardized benchmarks such as UL's PCMark 10 and BAPCo's SYSmark take a holistic view of the system and process a wide range of workloads to arrive at a single score. Some systems are required to excel at specific tasks - so it is often helpful to see how a computer performs in specific scenarios such as rendering, transcoding, JavaScript execution (web browsing), etc. This section presents focused benchmark numbers for specific application scenarios.

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R23

We use CINEBENCH R23 for 3D rendering evaluation. R23 provides two benchmark modes - single threaded and multi-threaded. Evaluation of different PC configurations in both supported modes provided us the following results.

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R23 - Single Thread

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R23 - Multiple Threads

As expected, Alder Lake-P retains the single threaded crown, and the Cezanne system delivers multi-threaded performance that is way ahead of any system in the list based on an Intel processor.

Transcoding: Handbrake 1.5.1

Handbrake is one of the most user-friendly open source transcoding front-ends in the market. It allows users to opt for either software-based higher quality processing or hardware-based fast processing in their transcoding jobs. Our new test suite uses the 'Tears of Steel' 4K AVC video as input and transcodes it with a quality setting of 19 to create a 720p AVC stream and a 1080p HEVC stream.

Transcoding - x264

Transcoding - x265_10bit

Software transcoding loves a lot of high-performance cores, and we can see the 8C/16T configurataion with Zen 3 cores handily besting the 4P / 8E combination in Alder Lake-P.

Transcoding - QuickSync H.264

Transcoding - QuickSync H.265 10bit

The QuickSync AVC / HEVC engine continues to remain the same between Tiger Lake and Alder Lake, except for a minor bump in clock speeds that get reflected in the transcoding rates above.

Transcoding - QuickSync H.264

Transcoding - QuickSync H.265 10bit

On the other hand, the VCE performance remains essentially the same between Renoir and Cezanne for the flagship SKUs.

Archiving: 7-Zip 21.7

The 7-Zip benchmark is carried over from our previous test suite with an update to the latest version of the open source compression / decompression software.

7-Zip Compression Rate

7-Zip Decompression Rate

Multiple cores help get compression and decompression done faster, and that is reflected in the significant lead enjoyed by the 4X4 BOX-5800U in the above benchmarks.

Web Browsing: JetStream, Speedometer, and Principled Technologies WebXPRT4

Web browser-based workloads have emerged as a major component of the typical home and business PC usage scenarios. For headless systems, many applications based on JavaScript are becoming relevant too. In order to evaluate systems for their JavaScript execution efficiency, we are carrying over the browser-focused benchmarks from the WebKit developers used in our notebook reviews. Hosted at BrowserBench, JetStream 2.0 benchmarks JavaScript and WebAssembly performance, while Speedometer measures web application responsiveness.

BrowserBench - Jetstream 2.0

BrowserBench - Speedometer 2.0

From a real-life workload perspective, we also process WebXPRT4 from Principled Technologies. WebXPRT4 benchmarks the performance of some popular JavaScript libraries that are widely used in websites.

Principled Technologies WebXPRT4

Single threaded performance helps in these benchmarks, and the Alder Lake-P system gets a slight edge across all three browser benchmark components.

Application Startup: GIMP 2.10.30

A new addition to our systems test suite is AppTimer - a benchmark that loads up a program and determines how long it takes for it to accept user inputs. We use GIMP 2.10.30 with a 50MB multi-layered xcf file as input. What we test here is the first run as well as the cached run - normally on the first time a user loads the GIMP package from a fresh install, the system has to configure a few dozen files that remain optimized on subsequent opening. For our test we delete those configured optimized files in order to force a fresh load every second time the software is run.

AppTimer: GIMP 2.10.30 Startup

As it turns out, GIMP does optimizations for every CPU thread in the system, which requires that higher thread-count processors take a lot longer to run. So the test runs quick on systems with fewer threads, however fast cores are also needed. The Alder Lake-P system gets the overall edge in this case.

System Performance: UL and BAPCo Benchmarks GPU Performance
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  • erotomania - Saturday, August 20, 2022 - link

    Very nice writing, Ganesh. I enjoyed reading the whole article, and I perhaps most enjoyed the section on storage. I would read more, just sayin'.
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, August 21, 2022 - link

    'Due to the variation in configured power limits for both processors, it is not possible to do a scientific apples-to-apples comparison for each benchmark.'

    And the differences between the SSDs.
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, August 21, 2022 - link

    Perhaps I missed it. Where is the decibel-to-performance data, or even a simple noise under tough real-world workload chart?
  • stan_dman - Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - link

    Impressive little pc's. I'd be interested how noisy the cooling is. I had an optiplex 7050 with i5-7500t (tdp 35w) gave me a headache with a whiny fan.

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