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February 24, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

The Systems Performance Evaluation Co-operative has made a move to eliminate some of the more arcane compiler optimisations that vendors have been using to achieve peak SPEC benchmark results by adopting parts of a Hewlett-Packard Co proposal. This means that after this year all peak performance results will have to be reported in conjunction with baseline results that adhere to a number of optimisation restrictions so that a vendor might report a peak SPECint92 or SPECrate_int92 figures, but must also show SPECint92 base and SPECrate_int92 base results. Andrew Allison’s BenchPress Quarterly reports the latest crop of SPEC results, which show Digital Equipment Corp’s Alpha 3000/600 to be top of the desktop pile in both SPECint and SPECfp. DEC is followed, in descending order of SPECint results (SPECfp performance differs more widely between systems of similar integer rates) by the Silicon Graphics Inc Indy R4400SC, Silicon Graphics Indigo2 SC, Hewlett-Packard Co HP 9000-712/80i, HP9 000/735 (with the second highest SPECfp mark), DEC 3000/400, IBM Corp RS/6000-370/375, Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG PC-5S, DEC 3000/300, Sun Microsystems Inc Sparcstation 10/51 and Compaq Computer Corp Systempro/XL, with 28 other desktops measured outperforming a basic 486DX2/50 architecture. The top Silicon Graphics and Hewlett-Packard machines are at around 75% of the performance of DEC’s 3000/600 – Siemens Nixdorf’s PCE-5S is the newcomer, a 66MHz Pentium box that outperforms most workstations, including Sun’s top-of-the-line Sparcstation 10 box. Allison observes that most action is currently occuring around the 60 SPECint92 area. Although he expects IBM’s 80MHz PowerPC 601 to hit the mid-70s integer performance, Intel Corp’s second generation P54C chip is also likely to come in around that mark. This should move the performance battleground on to around the 75 to 90 SPECint92 range by mid-year, Allison believes. Deskside server systems generally come with more raw performance. DEC dominates here again, holding half of the top 10 places in this category, including the top three places with the 7000/610, 3000/800 and 4000/710 – there are three MIPS Technologies Inc R-series-based Siemens Nixdorf boxes and two of IBM’s RS/6000s as well.


Thereafter comes a peppering of Hewlett-Packard, IBM and other DEC systems. In the multiprocessor arena the 150MHz MIPS R4400 Silicon Graphics systems dominate (with the 200MHz TFP due). DEC’s weakness in this arena is attributed to a maximum of six central processing units and only one result running OSF/1 to date. Again, a number of Siemens Nixdorf MIPS and Intel boxes show – the Dansk Data A/S Supermax and Solbourne Computer Corp FSeries 6 also figure – while there is no figure for a 20-way Sparcenter 2000 even though the machine was announced for shipment back in December last year. In descending integer order, the 20 CPU Silicon Graphics Challenge XL leads the field, a 16 CPU version will follow, with a 12 processor HP9000 T500 next, then a 16-way Sparcenter 2000 (which clocks a higher SPECrate_fp92 than any other system), 12 CPU Challenge XL, eight-way HP9000 T500, 12 CPU Sparcenter 2000, 8 CPU Challenge XL, six-way DEC 10000/660 and 7000/660.

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