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The Application Performance Characterization Project Committee Rules

Version 2.21

Last Updated: 6/30/2015

  1. Overview

    1. General Philosophy
      1. All rules declared in "The Graphics and Workstation Performance Group (SPEC/GWPG): Rules For Project Groups" document (known hereafter as the GWPG Project Groups Ruleset) apply, unless specifically overruled by a rule in this document.

    2. General Philosophy
      1. Within SPEC's Graphics and Workstation Performance Group (SPEC/GWPG) there was a strong belief that it is important to benchmark graphics performance based on actual applications. Application-level benchmarks exist, but they are not standardized and they do not cover a wide range of application areas. Thus, the Application Performance Characterization (SPECapcSM)  Project was created within the GWPG to create a broad-ranging set of standardized benchmarks for graphics-intensive applications.
      2. The SPECapc seeks to develop benchmarks for generating accurate application-level graphics performance measures in an open, accessible and well-publicized manner.
      3. The SPECapc wishes to contribute to the coherence of the field of application performance measurement and evaluation so that vendors will be better able to present well-defined performance measures and customers will be better able to compare and evaluate vendors products and environments.
      4. The SPECapc will provide formal beta benchmarks to members and final benchmark releases to the public in a timely fashion.
      5. Hardware and software used to run the SPECapc benchmarks must provide a suitable environment for running typical (not just benchmark) workloads for the applications in question.
      6. SPECapc reserves the right to adapt its benchmarks as it deems necessary to preserve its goal of fair and useful benchmarking (e.g. remove benchmark, modify benchmark code or data, etc). If a change is made to the suite, SPECapc will notify the appropriate parties (i.e. SPECapc members and users of the benchmark) and SPECapc will re-designate the benchmark by changing its name and/or version. In the case that a benchmark is removed in whole or in part, SPECapc reserves the right to republish in summary form "adapted" results for previously published systems, converted to the new metric. In the case of other changes, such a republication may necessitate re-testing and may require support from the original test sponsor.

    3. Overview of Optimizations
      1. SPECapc is aware of the importance of optimizations in producing the best system performance. SPECapc is also aware that it is sometimes hard to draw an exact line between legitimate optimizations that happen to benefit SPECapc benchmarks and optimizations that specifically target SPECapc benchmarks. However, with the list below, SPECapc wants to increase awareness of implementers and end-users to issues of unwanted benchmark-specific optimizations that would be incompatible with SPECapc's goal of fair benchmarking.
      2. To ensure that results are relevant to end-users, SPECapc expects that the hardware and software implementations used for running SPECapc benchmarks adhere to a set of general rules for optimizations.

    4. General Rules for Optimization
      1. Optimizations must generate correct images and results for the application under test, for both the benchmark case and similar cases. Correct images and results are those deemed by the majority of the SPECapc electorate, potentially with input from the associated independent software vendor (ISV) and/or end-users, to be sufficiently adherent to the intent behind the application.
      2. Optimizations must improve performance for a class of workloads where the class of workloads must be larger than a single SPECapc benchmark or SPECapc benchmark suite.
      3. For any given optimization a system should generate correct images with and without said optimization. An optimization should not reduce system stability.
      4. The vendor encourages the implementation for general use (not just for running a single SPECapc benchmark or SPECapc benchmark suite).
      5. The implementation is generally available, documented and supported by the providing vendor.
      6. In the case where it appears that the above guidelines have not been followed, SPECapc may investigate such a claim and request that the optimization in question (e.g. one using SPECapc benchmark-specific pattern matching) be removed and the results resubmitted. Or, SPECapc may request that the vendor correct the deficiency (e.g. make the optimization more general purpose or correct problems with image generation) before submitting results based on the optimization.
      7. It is expected that system vendors would endorse the general use of these optimizations by customers who seek to achieve good application performance.
      8. No pre-computed (e.g. driver-cached) images, geometric data, or state may be substituted within an SPECapc benchmark on the basis of detecting that said benchmark is running (e.g. pattern matching of command stream or recognition of benchmark's name).


  2. Benchmarks

    1. Benchmark Acceptance
      1. Benchmark components are defined as
        1. specific revision of an application,
        2. run rules, scripts and associated data sets.
      2. New or modified benchmark components require a 2/3-majority vote to be accepted for publication. Selection of datecode versions of a specific revision of an application is by majority vote.
      3. A minimum 3-week review period is required for new or significantly modified benchmark components.
      4. At the end of the review period a vote will be called to approve the proposed changes.
      5. An amendment to a benchmark component during the review period must be unanimously accepted. If not, the review period shall be restarted.

    2. Benchmark Code Versioning
      1. Benchmarks use the following version coding: M.m (e.g. SPECapcSM for Pro/ENGINEER 20.0 v1.1) M is the major release number and m is the minor release number.
      2. The major release number is only incremented when large amounts of code are changed and the scripting language is dramatically changed as a result -- backward compatibility is highly unlikely when moving scripts or data sets between major releases (e.g. running v2 scripts on a v3 executable would almost certainly fail).
      3. The minor release number is bumped if some small set of code is replaced or removed - but the standard, unchanged scripts and data sets, as a whole, must run on the new version (but perhaps with different performance).
      4. When there is a new major release of a benchmark, submissions using the previous release will be accepted for at least one submission cycle. When a superceded benchmark is retired, the associated run-rules will be archived in an "archived benchmark run-rules document" posted on the Previous SPECapc Benchmarks web-page.


  3. Submission, Review and Publication

    1. General Benchmark Run Rules
      1. The system under test must correctly perform all of the operations being requested by the application during the benchmark.
      2. No changes to any files associated with the benchmark are permitted excepted as noted in the benchmark-specific rules (section 5 of this document).
      3. The entire display raster must be available for use by the application being benchmarked.
      4. It is not permissible to override the intended behavior of the application through any means including, but not limited to, registry settings or environment variables.
      5. No interaction is allowed with the system under test during the benchmark, unless required by the benchmark.
      6. The system under test can not skip frames during the benchmark run.
      7. It is not permissible to change the system configuration during the running of a given benchmark. That is, one can't power off the system, make some changes, then power back on and run the rest of the benchmark.
      8. Results submitted must be obtained using the scripts, models, and application revisions which are specified for that submission cycle by the SPECapc.
      9. The color depth used must be at least 24 bits (true color), with at least 8 bits of red, 8 bits of green and 8 bits of blue, unless otherwise specified.
      10. The display raster resolution must be at least 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels, unless otherwise specified.
      11. The monitor refresh rate must be at least 75Hz. This requirement does not apply to digital flat panel displays, unless otherwise specified.
      12. The border width of the windows created during the benchmark shall not exceed 10 pixels, unless otherwise specified.
      13. The monitor used in the benchmark must support the stated resolution and refresh rate.
      14. The benchmark must successfully obtain all requested window sizes, with no reduction or clipping of any benchmark-related windows.  Windows created by the benchmark must not be obscured on the screen by anything other than other elements created by the benchmark.
      15. Tests may be run with or without a desktop/window manager if the application allows this, but must be run on some native windowing system.
      16. It is not permissible to interact with the system under test to influence the progress of the benchmark during execution.

    2. General Submission Content Rules
      1. The submission upload file structures are defined in the benchmark-specific section below.

    3. Submission Process Rules
      1. The submission file names are detailed below under the benchmark-specific rules.

    4. Review Period Rules
      1. Reviewers will decide if the image quality and results of the submission are sufficiently correct with respect to the intent of the ISV to satisfy the intended end-users' expectations.


  4. SPECapc Benchmark Specific Rules and Procedures

    1. Autodesk 3ds max 2015
        1. The benchmark must be run using Autodesk 3ds Max 2015 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) applied. Do not install the 3ds Max Subscription Advantage Pack, as it will interfere with the operation and results of the benchmark.
        2. The default 3ds Max 2015 application settings must be used.
        3. The benchmark may only be run using Nitrous DX11 display driver.
        4. The display resolution must be at least 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. If the system has an integrated display which cannot achieve 1920x1080 resolution, e.g., a notebook, the system’s maximum possible resolution must be used.
        5. Submissions can optionally be made at 4k resolutions.
        6. Submissions can optionally be made with AA modes greater than the default 0.
        7. This benchmark is only supported on systems running Microsoft Windows Win7 64-bit operating system.
        8. The 3dsmax 2015 benchmark should be run with at least 16GB of system memory installed.
        9. The application window must be fully visible and not be occluded by any other windows. Task-bar auto-hide must be enabled. Any windows on top of the application rendering window may interfere with the performance. The benchmark status window is an exception to this rule as it should not intersect the graphics rendering window.
        10. The results.txt file must be generated by the GwpgSystemInfo.exe found in the ./submissions directory.
        11. After completion of the benchmark the submitter should create a populated specAPC2015.xlsm  and results.txt files by following these steps:
          1. Copy <3dsmax 2015 install directory>/maxtest/submissions/GwpgSystemInfo.exe to the newly created TestResults folder.
          2. Copy <3dsmax 2015 install directory>/maxtest/submissions/specAPC2015.xlsm to the newly created TestResults folder.
          3. Open specAPC2015.xlsm with Office Excel 2007 or greater.  In the spreadsheet; press Enable Content and Select Test Results Folder buttons.
          4. Create a results.txt by running GwpgSystemInfo.exe
          5. Verify all prepopulated values in results.txt.
          6. Copy the scores from specAPC2015.xlsm Overview sheet into the results.txt file.
          7. Add appropriate values to the Submitter fields.
        12. The directory structure of the submission must be as follows:
          .../company-name/system_1/3dsmax2015/result.txt
          .../company-name/system_1/3dsmax2015/results1.xml
          .../company-name/system_1/3dsmax2015/results2.xml
          .../company-name/system_1/3dsmax2015/results3.xml
          .../company-name/system_1/3dsmax2015/testrenders/*.jpeg
          .../company-name/system_1/3dsmax2015/specAPC2015.xlsm
          .../company-name/system_1/3dsmax2015/result.txt
          .../company-name/system_2/3dsmax2015/results1.xml
          .../company-name/system_2/3dsmax2015/results2.xml
          .../company-name/system_2/3dsmax2015/results3.xml
          .../company-name/system_2/3dsmax2015/testrenders/*.jpeg
          .../company-name/system_2/3dsmax2015/specAPC2015.xlsm
          etc....
        13. The submission file must be named company_apc_3dsmax2015_vN.zip where company is the member company or organization name in lower case and vN is the file version (e.g. dell_apc_3dsmax2015_v0.zip.) The initial submission is v0. Resubmitted files must have the version number incremented.

    2. Siemens PLM NX 8.5
      1. The benchmark must be run using build Maintenance Release 8.5.1.3 of Siemens PLM NX 8.5.
      2. The NX 8.5 benchmark is only supported on systems running Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit operating system.
      3. The display resolution must be at least 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. If the system has an integrated display which cannot achieve 1920x1080 resolution, then the system’s maximum possible resolution must be used. Laptops, notebooks, and ultrabooks would be examples of this type of system.
      4. The batch file run_SPECapcNX85bmk.bat may only be modified to change the location of the benchmark folder. If modified, the modified version must be included in the benchmark submission.
      5. The NX 8.5 application graphics window must be maximized, all toolbars disabled, and history resource bar unpinned.
      6. The NX 8.5 "Fixed Frame Rate" setting must be globally disabled.
      7. The NX 8.5 "Translucency" setting is optional and should be documented in the Comments field of the "Result.txt" file.
      8. All other NX 8.5 application settings should be the default values. See the document SPECapc_NX8.5_BenchmarkSetup for the full details of the benchmark setup.
      9. If the NX 8.5 graphics visualization registry setting is altered, this must be documented in the Comments field of the "Result.txt" file.
      10. Only submissions run on Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit will be accepted for review.
      11. The submission must contain the "ResultsSummary.htm", "Result.txt", "CompeteStats.csv", and "timer_data01-04.txt" files generated from running the benchmark. These files may be found in the "Results_DateTime" directory after a successful run of the benchmark. The first section of the "Result.txt" file should be edited to reflect the submitting organization's name and URL and any relevant comments such as those suggested above.
      12. The directory structure of the zip file containing the SPECapc NX 8.5 submission data must be as follows:
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/ResultsSummary.htm
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/gwpg_config.htm
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/Result.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/CompleteStats.csv
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/timer_data01.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/timer_data02.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/timer_data03.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/timer_data04.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/nx6/timer_data05.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/nx85/run_SPECapcnx85bmk.bat (if modified, as required by rule [d] above))
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/ResultsSummary.htm
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/gwpg_config.htm
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/Result.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/CompleteStats.csv
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/timer_data01.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/timer_data02.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/timer_data03.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/timer_data04.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/nx6/timer_data05.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/nx85/run_SPECapcnx85bmk.bat (if modified, as required by rule [d] above))
        etc...
      13. The submission file must be named company-name_apc_nx85_vN.zip where company-name is the member company or organization name in lower case and vN is the file version (e.g. hp_apc_nx85_v0.zip.) The initial submission is v0. Resubmitted files must have the version number incremented.
      14. The submission file must be named company-name_apc_creo2_vN.zip where company-name is the member company or organization name in lower case and vN is the file version (e.g. dell_apc_creo2_v0.zip.) The initial submission is v0. Resubmitted files must have the version number incremented.

    3. Autodesk Maya 2012
      1. The benchmark must be run using Autodesk Maya 2012 Service Pack 2.
      2. The Maya 2012 benchmark is only supported on systems running Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit operating system.
      3. Only submissions run on Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit will be accepted for review.
      4. The display resolution must be at least 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. If the system has an integrated display which cannot achieve 1920x1080 resolution, e.g., a notebook, the system's maximum possible resolution must be used.
      5. The submission must contain the files result.txt and maya2012APC.xls.
      6. The directory structure of the submission must be as follows:
        .../company-name/system_1/maya2012/result.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/maya2012/maya2012APC.xls
        .../company-name/system_2/maya2012/result.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/maya2012/maya2012APC.xls
        etc...
      7. The submission file must be named company_apc_maya2012_vN.zip where company is the member company or organization name in lower case and vN is the file version (e.g. fjs_apc_maya2012_v0.zip.) The initial submission is v0. Resubmitted files must have the version number incremented.

    4. PTC Creo 3.0
      1. The benchmark must be run using Creo 3.0 build M010.
      2. The Creo 3.0 benchmark is only supported on systems running Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit operating system.
      3. Only submissions run on Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit operating system and with graphics cards supporting a minimum of 8X MSAA and Order Independent Transparency will be accepted for review.
      4. The display resolution must be at least 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. If the system has an integrated display which cannot achieve 1920x1080 resolution, e.g., a notebook, the system's maximum possible resolution must be used.
      5. It is recommended that the Creo 3.0 benchmark be run with at least 8GB of RAM installed.
      6. The All_V25.txt, config.pro and apc.dat files must be used as-is and may not be modified or overridden.
      7. The benchmark may not use any other config.pro, config.sup, config.win, menu_def.pro, or protk.dat files. These files must be removed from the application install location and user folder before running the benchmark.
      8. The graphics card used must support a minimum of 8X MSAA and Order Independent Transparency for comparable results.
      9. The script file utilities\runbench.bat may be modified to accommodate an alternate install location for Creo 3.0. If modified, the modified version of runbench.bat must be included in the benchmark submission.
      10. The utilities\config.txt file must be edited to reflect the system configuration before running the benchmark.
      11. The submission must contain the result.txt, trail.txt, score-steps.txt, score.csv, apc.dat and *.tif files. These files may be found in the results directory after a successful run of the benchmark.
      12. There must be no license-related warnings in the trail.txt file.
      13. The directory structure of the submission must be as follows:
        .../company-name/system_1/creo3/result.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/creo3/trail.txt
        …/company-name/system_1/creo3/score-steps.txt
        …/company-name/system_1/creo3/score.csv
        .../company-name/system_1/creo3/apc.dat
        …/company-name/system_1/creo3/*.tif
        .../company-name/system_1/creo3/runbench.bat (if modified, as required by rule i above)
        …/company-name/system_2/creo3/result.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/creo3/trail.txt
        …/company-name/system_2/creo3/score-steps.txt
        …/company-name/system_2/creo3/score.csv
        .../company-name/system_2/creo3/apc.dat
        …/company-name/system_2/creo3/*.tif
        .../company-name/system_2/creo3/runbench.bat (if modified, as required by rule i above)
        etc...

    5. Dassault Systemes Solidworks 2015
      1. The benchmark must be run using Dassault Systemes SolidWorks 2015 Service Pack 2 or greater.
      2. The SolidWorks 2015 benchmark is only supported on systems running Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit operating system.
      3. Only submissions run on Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit operating system and with graphics hardware fully supporting SolidWorks features RealView, Ambient Occlusion and OIT transparency will be accepted for review.
      4. Submissions must include a run with FSAA disabled, and may optionally include a run with FSAA enabled.
      5. The graphics hardware used must fully support SolidWorks features RealView, Ambient Occlusion and OIT transparency for comparable results.
      6. The display resolution must be at least 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. If the system has an integrated display which cannot achieve 1920x1080 resolution, e.g., a notebook, the system's maximum possible resolution must be used.
      7. It is recommended that the SolidWorks 2015 benchmark be run with at least 8GB of RAM installed.
      8. The RunSW2015Bench_FSAA.bat, SW2015Bench_FSAA.dat, RunSW2015Bench_noFSAA.bat, SW2015Bench_noFSAA.dat and model files must be used as-is and may not be modified or overridden.
      9. The config.txt file must be edited to reflect the system configuration before running the benchmark.
      10. The benchmark must be run using the default application settings, including those for Photoview 360.
      11. It is recommended that the system be rebooted before running the benchmark, and that nothing obscures the SolidWorks window, including taskbar, application pop-ups, and other applications. Refrain from interacting with the system while the benchmark is running.
      12. The submission must contain the result_noFSAA.txt, SW2015BenchDetails_noFSAA.csv, and SW2015BenchLog_noFSAA.txt files. If the optional FSAA enabled run is submitted, the files result_FSAA.txt, SW2015BenchDetails_FSAA.csv, and SW2015BenchLog_FSAA.txt must also be included. These files may be found in the results directory after a successful run of the benchmark. The directory structure of the submission must be as follows:
        .../company-name/system_1/solidworks2015/result_noFSAA.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/solidworks2015/SW2015BenchDetails_noFSAA.csv
        .../company-name/system_1/solidworks2015/SW2015BenchLog_noFSAA.txt
        .../company-name/system_1/solidworks2015/Screenshots
        .../company-name/system_1/solidworks2015/result_FSAA.txt (if submitted)
        .../company-name/system_1/solidworks2015/SW2015BenchDetails_FSAA.csv (if submitted)
        .../company-name/system_1/solidworks2015/SW2015BenchLog_FSAA.txt (if submitted)
        .../company-name/system_2/solidworks2015/result_noFSAA.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/solidworks2015/SW2015BenchDetails_noFSAA.csv
        .../company-name/system_2/solidworks2015/SW2015BenchLog_noFSAA.txt
        .../company-name/system_2/solidworks2015/Screenshots
        .../company-name/system_2/solidworks2015/result_FSAA.txt (if submitted)
        .../company-name/system_2/solidworks2015/SW2015BenchDetails_FSAA.csv (if submitted)
        .../company-name/system_2/solidworks2015/SW2015BenchLog_FSAA.txt (if submitted)
        etc...
      13. The submission file must be named company_apc_solidworks2015_vN.zip where company is the member company or organization name in lower case and vN is the file version (e.g. hp_apc_maya2012_v0.zip.) The initial submission is v0. Resubmitted files must have the version number incremented.

Adoption
v2.21: Adopted 30 June 2015 (adds SolidWorks 2015 and deletes retired SolidWorks 2013)
v2.20: Adopted 11 Dec 2014 (adds Creo 3.0 and deletes retired Creo 2.0 and Lightwave 9.6 benchmark)
v2.19: Adopted 28 July 2014 (adds 3ds Max 2015 and deletes retired 3ds Max 2011 benchmark)
v2.17: Adopted 20 February 2013 (adds SolidWorks 2013 and deletes retired SolidWorks 2007 benchmark)
v2.16: Adopted 6 August 2012 (PTC Creo 2 rule a. change, adds Maya 2012 and deletes retired Maya 2009 benchmark)
v2.15: Adopted 22 May 2012 (adds PTC Creo 2 and deletes retired WF2 benchmark)
v2.14: Adopted 30 March 2012 (adds Siemens NX 6 and deletes retired benchmark)
v2.13: Adopted 30 June 2011 (adds Autodesk 3ds max 2011 rules and deletes retired benchmarks)
v2.12: Adopted 24 June 2009 (adds Autodesk Maya 2009 rules)
v2.11: Adopted 12 March 2009 (adds Lightwave 9.6 rules, updates NX4 rules, adds non-interaction rule)
v2.10: Adopted 13 September 2007 (reflects GPC-to-GWPG transition, and adds NX4 rules)
v2.06: Adopted 13 July 2007
v2.05: Adopted 18 April 2007
v2.04: Adopted 06 February 2007
v2.03: Adopted  20 July 2006
v2.02: Adopted  27 April 2006 for 01 May 2006 publication
v2.01: Adopted  26 January 2006
v2.00: Adopted  26 January 2006