Designed to work on Windows, Mac/OS X and Linux
One of the problems with most benchmarking suites is that they’re designed for a specific platform – normally Windows. This causes the problem that if you want to review a system with a different operating system, such as Mac OS X, you have to install Windows onto the computer.
While using Windows certainly gives you a score for each computer, you’re not really testing how fast a Mac or Linux PC is with its native operating system; however, with our new benchmark suite, this problem is no more, as the tests use open source software that’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It means that from now on we’ll be able to test all computers with their native operating systems and test their true performance.
We’ve made the Windows versions of the new benchmarks available for free download at http://www.shopperdownload.co.uk/benchmarks/pcbenchmarks.zip. The benchmarks are a fairly hefty download (around 1.5GB) because of the high quality images and massive image file that we use. Check your download limits with your ISP before you download anything.
Our new benchmarks are split into the following three tests:
Our image editing test uses the ImageMagick command-line Convert tool to convert 24-bit TIFF files to PNG format. It runs with the auto-level, auto-gamma, antialias and contrast options, simulating common operations performed on image files.
The test is multi-threaded, although processor speed and storage speed both play a crucial role in the overall speed of this test.
Our video editing test uses Handbrake to convert a 1080p, 50fps AVCHD video file to iPhone 4 format. This test is multi-threaded and the number of cores a processor has makes a massive difference to the conversion speed.
Our multi-tasking test runs the video and image editing tests together, plus it uses Mplayer to play the AVCHD file at the same time.
This test stresses every part of a PC and a fast processor, graphics card and storage system are all important to do well here. Few PCs can manage to play the high-quality video smoothly, while completing the other two tests.
All results are output in seconds to a text file. We normalise them against the results for our reference Core i5-2500K PC, which scores 100 in all tests. Finally, we get an overall score through a weighted average (3 for multi-tasking, 2 for video editing, 1 for image editing). The necessary conversion spreadsheet is included in the benchmark downloads.