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The SPECviewperf® Benchmark — A User's Story

By Ross Cunniff, SPECgpc Committee Chair

Emma is a tech enthusiast who develops product designs and plays games on the same workstation, which includes a CPU and GPU that were mid-range when she bought the system in 2018. Over the years, however, she's been far less pleased with the performance, noticing significant lag when trying to manipulate models in SolidWorks, the 2D and 3D product development application that engineers and designers use to create and collaborate on innovative product designs.

When she and a group of friends began designing a high-tech go-kart, things started to get painful. Every time they tried to increase the complexity of the model by exploring how different king pins and rack and pinion gear ratios would work, the system just bogged down. The processes would complete eventually, but it just wasn't practical to keep using her existing rig for the go-kart project.

Emma's first thought was to upgrade the graphics card, and she began reading online reviews of professional-grade graphics cards. She knew she'd have to spend some serious money on a new card, so she wanted to make sure she balanced getting the performance she needed with what she could afford. She narrowed her choice down to five possibilities based on price and the brands she favored, but she obviously couldn't afford to purchase all five and test them. She was at a bit of a loss until she noted that in several of the reviews, GPU performance comparisons were based on the SPECviewperf benchmark.

The SPECviewperf benchmark measures the performance of GPUs for computing systems running the latest versions of SolidWorks, 3ds Max, Catia, Maya and more. The benchmark bases its measurements on "viewsets," which are actual traces of the source applications running various workloads. This means you can accurately benchmark the performance of a GPU running any of the supported applications without needing to purchase them.

Emma decided to check out the SPEC website to see if there was more information, and she was surprised to find that she could download the SPECviewperf 2020 v3.1 benchmark free of charge since she was not a seller of computers or related products. She would then be able to benchmark her current system and compare the results with the published results on the SPEC website and in the articles she was reading.

In less than 10 minutes, she downloaded the benchmark, installed it and the SolidWorks viewset, and began running the benchmark. The benchmark was complete after another few minutes and displayed the results from her local system. Emma then navigated to the published SPECviewperf results for comparison.

Based on her review, Emma selected a mid-range workstation GPU. It was a little more expensive than she'd hoped, but it was from one of her favorite brands, and after doing a little more research on the specific card, she was confident it was a great option and the best balance between performance and cost. Her confidence was justified, and her group was soon back together, enjoying a great experience as they plowed through their go-kart design elements.

SPECviewperf is a high-quality and carefully curated benchmark with a 25-year history of excellence. It has long been the industry-standard for professional ISV graphics performance. Because it is a benchmark from SPEC, you can be sure that it includes workloads and models that reflect what real users might experience and that we have thoroughly tested the benchmark for quality, reliability, repeatability and accuracy.

SPEC is also continuing to update and improve the SPECviewperf benchmark, and we are currently designing the next version. If you have use cases or datasets that you feel are not represented in the current version of the benchmark, we'd love to hear about it!

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