Improving tomorrow’s workstations

SPEC Workstations
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SPEC GWPG has opened a search, looking for complex models and applications that may be useful in its quest to update its present workstation and graphics benchmark for Autodesk 3ds Max, as it seeks to better align the benchmark with today’s users’ needs and experiences.

The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) is a non-profit for establishing, maintaining, and endorsing standardized benchmarks and tools for evaluating performance and efficiency for the latest generation of computing systems. It has just started a Benchmark Search Program for the SPEC Graphics and Workstation Performance Group (GWPG), with the goal of the program to engage the community in helping the group locate application workflows and complex graphics models that can be used in future SPEC GWPG benchmarks. The benchmarks measure how workstations handle complex tasks using specific applications.

It is important that SPECapc keeps its benchmarks current, since they measure what is important to users—especially as graphics hardware, applications, and use cases are constantly evolving. SPECapc is a committee within SPEC’s GWPG comprising companies that are experts on workstation hardware and which use cases can work different components of a workstation. However, they are not application users. That is why SPECapc is calling on users to contribute to SPEC by submitting a complex graphics model or modeling workflow that fits the criteria for consideration.

“Search Programs encourage users outside of SPEC to contribute applications, workloads, or models that will enable us to build more comprehensive and more applicable benchmarks, which, in turn, will better serve their communities,” said Jessica Heerboth, SPECapc committee chair. “We need the community’s involvement to get access both to information on the common user workflow and to good workloads/models that stress the hardware the same way a user might.”

Initially, SPEC is focusing on the use of Autodesk’s 3ds Max because its current benchmark for 3ds Max is a port of an old benchmark. However, GWPG will accept submission for any application, not just 3ds Max.

This is SPEC’s third such program albeit the first one for GWPG. The other two Search Programs support the High Performance and CPU groups. SPEC has already kicked off this GWGP program but currently does not have an end timeframe for submissions, as Heerboth acknowledges that these types of relationships can take time to develop.