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SPEC/GWPG: SPEC's longest-running benchmark group

While the Open Systems Group is the original SPEC committee, the longest-running SPEC benchmarking organization is the Graphics and Workstation Performance Group (SPEC/GWPG).

SPEC/GWPG began in 1986 under the auspices of the National Computer Graphics Association (NCGA), where it was called the Graphics Performance Characterization (GPC) group. GPC joined SPEC in 1996, the year it released version 5 of its flagship benchmark, SPECviewperf®.

SPECviewperf was the first self-contained benchmark to characterize graphics performance for computer systems running professional applications. The latest version, released in May 2018, includes nine workloads, called viewsets, and 90 tests that represent graphics content and behavior from actual applications.

The SPECapc® (Application Performance Characterization) project group, founded in 1997, develops application-based benchmarks that measure total system performance. The benchmarks run on top of the application being tested, and require a specific license for the application. Current SPECapc benchmarks represent Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya 3D animation programs; and PTC Creo, Dassault Systemes Solidworks, and Siemens NX CAD/CAM programs.

In 2013, the SPEC workstation performance group (SPECwpc®) released the first benchmark to measure all key aspects of workstation performance based on diverse professional applications. SPECworkstation® 3, released in October 2018, includes more than 30 workloads containing nearly 140 tests exercising CPU, graphics, I/O and memory bandwidth.

SPEC/GWPG benchmarks are free to everyone but vendors of computer-related products and services who are not members of SPEC/GWPG. More than 20,000 SPEC/GWPG benchmarks are downloaded annually.

The value of SPEC/GWPG begins with our members. We are a team of industry leaders, broadly represented by experts in the field, collaborating to produce the highest-quality benchmarks that serve as standards recognized and valued by everyone in the industry.

-- Ashley Cowart, SPEC/GWPG chair

With the myriad SPEC/GWPG benchmarks available, I can cover a wide-range of popular workstation workloads to show my readers just how current hardware scales, whether we're looking at a CPU, GPU or an entire system."

-- Rob Williams, editor-in-chief, Techgage