Benchmark Overview

For our testing, depending on the product, we attempt to tailor the presentation of our global benchmark suite down into what users who would buy this hardware might actually want to run. Barring abnormalities, our full test suite is typically used to gather data and all the results are placed into Bench, our benchmark database for users that want to look at non-typical benchmarks or legacy data.

The benchmarks fall into several areas:

Short Form CPU

Our short form testing script uses a straight run through of a mixture of known apps or workloads, and requires about four hours. These are typically the CPU tests we run in our motherboard suite, to identify any performance anomolies.

CPU Short Form Benchmarks
Three Dimensional Particle Movement (3DPM) v1 3DPM is a self-penned benchmark, derived from my academic research years looking at particle movement parallelism. The coding for this tool was rough, but emulates the real world in being non-CompSci trained code for a scientific endeavor. The code is unoptimized, but the test uses OpenMP to move particles around a field using one of six 3D movement algorithms in turn, each of which is found in the academic literature. This test is performed in single thread and multithreaded workloads, and uses purely floating point numbers. The code was written in Visual Studio 2008 in Release mode with all optimizations (including fast math and -Ox) enabled. We take the average of six runs in each instance.
v2 The second version of this benchmark is similar to the first, however it has been re-written in VS2012 with one major difference: the code has been written to address the issue of false sharing. If data required by multiple threads, say four, is in the same cache line, the software cannot read the cache line once and split the data to each thread - instead it will read four times in a serial fashion. The new software splits the data to new cache lines so reads can be parallelized and stalls minimized.

As v2 is fairly new, we are still gathering data and results are currently limited.
WinRAR 5.01 WinRAR is a compression based software to reduce file size at the expense of CPU cycles. We use the version that has been a stable part of our benchmark database through 2015, and run the default settings on a 1.52GB directory containing over 2800 files representing a small website with around thirty half-minute videos. We take the average of several runs in this instance.
POV-Ray 3.7 beta POV-Ray is a common ray-tracing tool used to generate realistic looking scenes. We've used POV-Ray in its various guises over the years as a good benchmark for performance, as well as a tool on the march to ray-tracing limited immersive environments. We use the built-in multithreaded benchmark.
HandBrake  HandBrake is a freeware video conversion tool. We use the tool in to process two different videos - first a 'low quality' two hour video at 640x388 resolution to x264, then a 'high quality' ten minute video at 4320x3840. The low quality video scales at lower performance hardware, whereas the buffers required for high-quality can stretch even the biggest processors. At current, this is a CPU only test.
7-Zip 7-Zip is a freeware compression/decompression tool that is widely deployed across the world. We run the included benchmark tool using a 50MB library and take the average of a set of fixed-time results.

Web, Synthetic and Legacy

The web tests are a usual mix of Octane/Kraken with WebXPRT in the mix. Synthetic and Legacy CPU testing relates to our long-term data under CineBench and x264.

Web and Synthetic Benchmarks
Google Octane 2.0 Lots of factors go into web development, including the tools used and the browser those tools play in. One of the common and widely used benchmarks to judge performance is Google Octane, now in version 2.0. To quote: 'The updated Octane 2.0 benchmark includes four new tests to measure new aspects of JavaScript performance, including garbage collection / compiler latency and asm.js-style JavaScript performance.'
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 Kraken is a similar tool to Google, focusing on web tools and processing power. Kraken's tools include searching algorithms, audio processing, image filtering, flexible database parsing and cryptographic routines.
WebXPRT 2013/2015 WebXPRT aims to be a souped up version of Octane and Kraken, using these tools in real time to display data in photograph enhancement, sorting, stock options, local storage manipulation, graphical enterfaces and even filtering algorithms on scientific datasets. We run the 2013 and 2015 versions of the benchmark.
Cinebench Cinebench is a widely known benchmarking tool for measuring performance relative to MAXON's animation software Cinema 4D. Cinebench has been optimized over a decade and focuses on purely CPU horsepower, meaning if there is a discrepancy in pure throughput characteristics, Cinebench is likely to show that discrepancy. Arguably other software doesn't make use of all the tools available, so the real world relevance might purely be academic, but given our large database of data for Cinebench it seems difficult to ignore a small five minute test. We run the modern version 15 in this test, as well as the older 11.5 due to our back data.
x264 HD 3.0 Similarly, the x264 HD 3.0 package we use here is also kept for historic regressional data. The latest version is 5.0.1, and encodes a 1080p video clip into a high quality x264 file. Version 3.0 only performs the same test on a 720p file, and in most circumstances the software performance hits its limit on high end processors, but still works well for mainstream and low-end. Also, this version only takes a few minutes, whereas the latest can take over 90 minutes to run.
TrueCrypt 7.1 Before its discontinuation, TrueCrypt was a popular tool for WindowsXP to offer software encryption to a file system. The near-latest version, 7.1, is still widely used however the developers have stopped supporting it since the introduction of encrypted disk support in Windows 8/7/Vista from 5/2014, and as such any new security issues are unfixed.

Long Form and Professional Benchmarks

For reviews that require a little more depth, we invoke our long form CPU tests. These scripts include the short form tests, the web tests, and bundle some real-world tests that are influenced by processor frequency, core count, cache sizes and memory support. Generational advances between CPU microarchitectures show up here as well. Our professional tests involve a 2D to 3D image and model conversion tool used by archivists and modelers as well as Linux Bench. We are currently looking into expanding our professional testing suite to include code compilation as well as FPGA workflows.

Long Form and Professional Benchmarks
Dolphin 4.0
(Wii Emulation)
Many emulators are often bound by single thread CPU performance, and general reports tended to suggest that Haswell provided a significant boost to emulator performance. This benchmark runs a Wii program that raytraces a complex 3D scene inside the Dolphin Wii emulator. Performance on this benchmark is a good proxy of the speed of Dolphin CPU emulation, which is an intensive single core task using most aspects of a CPU. 
Agisoft Photoscan 1.0 Photoscan is professional software that takes a series of 2D images (as little as 50, usually 250+) and 'performs calculations' to determine where the pictures were taken and if it can create a 3D model and textures of what the images are of. This model can then be exported to other software for touch-ups or implementation in physics engines/games or, as the reader that directed me to it, national archiving. The tool has four phases, one of which can be OpenCL accelerated, while the other three are a mix of single thread and variable thread workloads.
Linux Bench Linux Bench is a collection of Linux based benchmarks compiled together by ServeTheHome. The idea for this is to have some non-windows based tools that are easy enough to run with a USB key, an internet connection and three lines of code in a terminal. The tests in Linux Bench include standard synthetic compute, compression, matrix manipulation, database tools and key-value storage.

 

Gaming 

Our Gaming test suite is still our 2015 implementation, which remains fairly solid over gaming title updates. We are still working on a 2016 suite update, with a move to Windows 10. This will allow most of the titles to be replaced with DirectX 12, indie and eSports games.

Gaming Benchmarks
Alien: Isolation If first person survival mixed with horror is your sort of thing, then Alien: Isolation, based off of the Alien franchise, should be an interesting title. Developed by The Creative Assembly and released in October 2014, Alien: Isolation has won numerous awards from Game Of The Year to several top 10s/25s and Best Horror titles, ratcheting up over a million sales by February 2015. Alien: Isolation uses a custom built engine which includes dynamic sound effects and should be fully multi-core enabled.
Total War: Attila The Total War franchise moves on to Attila, another The Creative Assembly development, and is a stand-alone strategy title set in 395AD where the main story line lets the gamer take control of the leader of the Huns in order to conquer parts of the world. Graphically the game can render hundreds/thousands of units on screen at once, all with their individual actions and can put some of the big cards to task.
Grand Theft Auto V The highly anticipated iteration of the Grand Theft Auto franchise finally hit the shelves on April 14th 2015, with both AMD and NVIDIA in tow to help optimize the title. GTA doesn’t provide graphical presets, but opens up the options to users and extends the boundaries by pushing even the hardest systems to the limit using Rockstar’s Advanced Game Engine. Whether the user is flying high in the mountains with long draw distances or dealing with assorted trash in the city, when cranked up to maximum it creates stunning visuals but hard work for both the CPU and the GPU.
GRID: Autosport No graphics tests are complete without some input from Codemasters and the EGO engine, which means for this round of testing we point towards GRID: Autosport, the next iteration in the GRID and racing genre. As with our previous racing testing, each update to the engine aims to add in effects, reflections, detail and realism, with Codemasters making ‘authenticity’ a main focal point for this version.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor The final title in our testing is another battle of system performance with the open world action-adventure title, Shadow of Mordor. Produced by Monolith using the LithTech Jupiter EX engine and numerous detail add-ons, SoM goes for detail and complexity to a large extent, despite having to be cut down from the original plans. The main story itself was written by the same writer as Red Dead Redemption, and it received Zero Punctuation’s Game of The Year in 2014.
Test Bed and Setup Performance at 3 GHz: Real World
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  • lefty2 - Thursday, July 14, 2016 - link

    I'm predicting Bristol Ridge will be just as bad a failure as Carrizo. I.e. the few design wins will only have single DIMM memory and be universally unavailable, buried somewhere in a dark corner of the OEM's website. It's a pity, because both SoCs are very good in their own right. Reply
  • nandnandnand - Thursday, July 14, 2016 - link

    If it's not Zen, it can be thrown straight in the garbage. Reply
  • Samus - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    I still rock a few Kaveri desktops and they are incredibly powerful for the price. The 860K is half the cost of a comparable Intel chip, which supporting faster memory and a lower cost platform.

    Carizo on the desktop is an anomaly. I'd like to see what it could do with 4MB cache (would require an entirely new die)
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    They were nice in 2014.

    We should have a nice 20nm 768SP APU in 2015 with a full L2 cache Excavator and fully mature 896SP 20nm early this year.

    Remember the A8 3870K? That APU was a damn monster only hold back from being godly cause of their sub 3Ghz cpu speed, what we had after?

    400SP VLIW5 2011 --> 384 VLIW4 2012 --> 384VLIW4 2013 --> 512SP GCN 2015 --> 512SP GCN 2016

    Intel improved way faster (non "e" + edram igp's are near A8 level from being utter trash when the A8 3850 was release).
    Reply
  • The_Countess - Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - link

    yes being able to thrown in a extra billion transistors compared to AMD (1.7 vs 0.75 billion transistors for a quad core with GPU) because of 14nm really does help intel along a lot.

    but as nobody has been able to make a 20nm class process for anything but flash and ram besides intel, AMD's hands were tied. there is nothing AMD could have done to change that.
    Reply
  • BlueBlazer - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    Formula for failure: FM2 socket (with limited CPU upgradeability), only PCI Express x8 lanes available (which can bottleneck GPUs), and only "4 cores" (which performs more like 2C/4T Core i3 processor). Reply
  • neblogai - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    Bristol Ridge is not FM2; PCI-E x8 can not bottleneck midrange GPUs; ultra low power mobile APU also sold as desktop chip is not a failure, just additional revenue Reply
  • BlueBlazer - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    The results in the article shows otherwise, where AMD's Bristol Ridge was slower in most gaming tests, despite having better performance in some applications. Both FM2 and FM2+ are still the same (legacy) socket. AMD will be probably selling these chips at a loss. Note that these are the same (large) dies as Carrizo chips, and at 250mm^2 coupled with low prices typically meant razor thin margins or none at all. Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, July 15, 2016 - link

    That L2 cache is probably making more difference than you realise. Reply
  • evolucion8 - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    The PCI-E is busted, even at PCI E 2.0 @ 4X, it barely makes a difference on the Fury X and the GTX 980 Ti. Reply

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