Inside the new SPECviewperf 2020 benchmark for measuring professional graphics performance

By Bob Cramblitt

The SPEC Graphics Performance Characterization Group (SPECgpc) has released an all-new version of its SPECviewperf benchmark that features updated viewsets, new models, support for both 2K and 4K display resolutions, and improved set-up and results management. This article outlines the major components of the new benchmark.

New features

SPECviewperf software measures the 3D graphics performance of systems running under the OpenGL and Direct X application programming interfaces. The benchmark’s workloads, called viewsets, represent graphics content and behavior extracted from professional applications, without the need to install the applications themselves.

Major updates in SPECviewperf 2020 include:

  • New viewsets taken from traces of the latest versions of 3ds Max, Catia, Maya, and Solidworks applications.
  • Updated models in the viewsets based on 3ds Max, Catia, Creo, Solidworks, and real-world medical applications.
  • Support within all viewsets for both 2K and 4K resolution displays.
  • User interface improvements, including better interrogation and assessment of underlying hardware, clickable thumbnails of screen grabs, and a new results manager.
  • Support for running the benchmark using command-line options.
Still image from the new SPECviewperf 2020 viewset based on Autodesk 3ds Max.

Reflecting real-world applications

Professional applications represented by viewsets within SPECviewperf 2020 include:

  • Autodesk 3ds Max—Created from traces of the graphics workload generated by 3ds Max 2016 using the default Nitrous DX11 driver, the 3ds max-07 viewset includes 11 tests representing rendering modes used in gaming, film visual effects, and architectural markets.
  • Autodesk Maya—The maya-06 viewset was created from traces of the graphics workload generated by the Maya 2017 application from Autodesk. The viewset includes 10 tests exercising numerous rendering modes, including shaded, ambient occlusion, multi-sample anti-aliasing, and transparency. All tests are rendered using Viewport 2.0.
  • Dassault Systèmes Catia—The 10 tests within the catia-06 viewset were created from traces of the graphics workload generated by the Catia V5 and 3DExperience applications. Model sizes range from 5.1 to 21 million vertices. The viewset tests several rendering modes, including anti-aliasing, shaded, and shaded with edges.
  • Dassault Systémes Solidworks—The solidworks-05 viewset was created from traces of the Solidworks 2020 application. Models used in the 10 tests range in size from 2.1 to 21 million vertices. The viewset tests numerous rendering modes, including shaded, shaded with edges, ambient occlusion, shaders, and environment maps.
  • Energy—The energy-03 viewset is based on rendering techniques used by the open-source OpendTect seismic visualization application. The 3D tests are based on real-world seismic datasets found at They were translated from their native SEG-Y format and compressed using JPEG-2000.
  • Medical—The 10 tests in the medical-03 viewset demonstrate the performance of two volume rendering techniques used in medical applications. The first is slice rendering, where many 2D slices are projected through the volume and composited on the screen. The second is raycasting, where rays are projected through the volume to accumulate the final pixel color.
  • PTC Creo—The creo-03 viewset comprises 13 tests created from traces of the graphics workload generated by the Creo 4 application. Model sizes range from 20 to 48 million vertices. The viewsets include numerous rendering modes. Order-independent transparency is enabled for all models with transparent components.
  • Siemens NX—The snx-04 viewset contains 10 tests created from traces of the graphics workload generated by the NX 8.0 application. Model sizes range from 7.15 to 8.45 million vertices. The viewset includes numerous rendering modes, including wireframe, anti-aliasing, shaded, shaded with edges, and studio mode.
Still image from the new SPECviewperf 2020 viewset based on Catia.

Running the benchmark

SPECviewperf 2020 has the following minimum requirements:

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Version 1709 (Fall Creators Update/RS3) or newer.
  • 16GB of system RAM or greater.
  • 80GB of available disk space.
  • A minimum screen resolution of 1920 × 1080 for submissions published on the SPEC website.
  • OpenGL 4.5 (for catia-06, creo-03, energy-03, maya-06, medical-03, snx-04, and solidworks-05) and DirectX 12 API support (for 3dsmax-07).
  • A GPU with 2GB or greater dedicated GPU memory.
  • GPU memory of 4GB or greater is recommended. On GPUs with less than 4GB of dedicated GPU memory, energy-03 will report a score of 0.01 for two subtests. Additionally, 3dsmax-07, maya-06, and solidworks-05 may run very slowly. 
Sample scores from the SPECviewperf 2020 graphics performance benchmark.

Available for free downloading

The SPECviewperf 2020 benchmark is available for free downloading to everyone except vendors of computers and related products and services that are not members of the SPEC Graphics and Workstation Performance Group (SPEC/GWPG). Non-member computer product and service vendors can purchase the benchmark for $2,500. SPEC/GWPG members include AMD, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Hypertec, Intel, Lenovo, and Nvidia.

Bob Cramblitt is communications director for SPEC. He writes frequently about performance issues and digital design, engineering and manufacturing technologies. For more information about graphics and workstation performance, visit the SPEC/GWPG website, subscribe to the SPEC/GWPG enewsletter, or join the Graphics and Workstation Benchmarking LinkedIn group: