TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Benchmarks 2
Volume Number:3
Issue Number:9
Column Tag:Mac Cad

Benchmarks Re-visited

By Paul Zarchan, Cambridge, Mass

With the emergence of the Mac 2 and the growing base of useful, easy to use scientific software, the field of desktop engineering will surely grow this year. The purpose of this article is to compare, from an engineering user point of view, the new Mac’s (using a Prodigy 4 as the equivalent of a Mac 2) with their counterparts in the IBM micro world, DEC mini world and IBM mainframe world. First the issue of compilation and linking will be addressed and then standardized benchmarks will be used to compare various machines from both a cost and performance point of view. Most of the non Mac results were provided to me by A. Tetewsky and D. Feenberg. These results will soon be published in Ref. 1.

Compiling and Linking

When using a compiled language for programming, such as FORTRAN, the issue of compile and link times is extremely important. In engineering applications, excessive compile and link times may make it worthwhile to develop engineering software in an interpretive language such as BASIC, and then port it to a compiled language after initial debugging and algorithm development have been completed. If switching languages may not be practical, it may be worthwhile to stay in FORTRAN but develop the engineering software on a computer with faster compilation times. After program development the source code can easily be ported to the computer of interest for final compilation.

Let’s consider an example in finding complex roots of real polynomials. The 144 lines of program source code for this example can be found in Ref. 2. This example, like that of the Butterworth example in Ref. 3, uses single precision arithmetic but unlike the Butterworth example has virtually no input/output code. In this root finding example, a solution is found for a 30th order, well-behaved polynomial. The compile and link times for the 144 lines of code, using MS FORTRAN (both in the Apple and non Apple world), are indicated in Table 1 for a variety of micros.

In this example, compilation and linking were done using a hard disk for the IBM AT and Compaq 386, while in the Macintosh world, compilation and linking were done in RAM. In the IBM world, compiling in RAM is not significantly faster than compiling from the hard disk. This will always be the case since the operating system software, DOS, is written for 64k segmented 8086/8088 processors. Although an operating system which is developed for the 80386 or OS/2 should be better and improve compilation times, it will not be available for at least one year. If history is any guide, the wait time may be significantly longer. In addition, due to memory segmentation and the lack of a FORTRAN editor (a word processor must be used), it may be difficult to fit all necessary engineering tools into RAM. In the Macintosh world, memory is linear and easily expandable with third party upgrades. For example a 512K Mac can be upgraded to 2 Megs for about $500. This permits the creation of a 1.5 Meg recoverable RAM disk which is large enough to fit FORTRAN and many other useful tools into RAM. Therefore, compiling in RAM with a Mac is much faster than compiling from a hard disk.

In addition, in the IBM world one must compile and link before the code can be executed. The user must nurse the computer through the compiling, linking and execution process. In the Macintosh world, linking is dynamic and therefore automatic from a user point of view. The user simply double clicks on “compile and execute” and the source code compiles, links and runs.

The execution time for this complex root finding example for a variety of micros appears in Table 2. In this example all the micros with the exception of the Mac Plus had math coprocessors.

The Table shows that, for this example, the Prodigy 4 is about 10 times faster than a Mac Plus, more than 5 times faster than an IBM AT and 2.5 times faster than a Compaq 386. In the IBM world, with the exception of the PC, the math coprocessor never seems to run at the same clock rate as the CPU. That is why for this example, an AT and PC (where the math coprocessor is matched to the CPU at 4.77 MHz) have similar execution times. The Compaq 386 is only twice as fast as the AT even though the Compaq has 32 bits rather than 16 bits and runs at 16 Mhz rather than 6 Mhz. In principal, when the IBM operating system software is written and a 16 MHz Intel 80387 math coprocessor becomes available, it should be in the same speed class as the Prodigy 4. Interestingly enough, the Compaq 386 is rated at 3.5 MIPs while the Prodigy 4 is only rated at 2.0 MIPs. We can see that in numerical applications, MIP ratings may not tell the whole story (see Ref. 4 for example).

Often the user may only be interested in the turn around time, which is the sum of the compile, link and execution times. For this example we can see by comparing Tables 1 and 2 that the turn around times are significantly better in the Macintosh world. Table 3 summarizes the results for the complex root example.

The sample problem only had 144 lines of FORTRAN code. If we consider a “traveling salesman” program using 1500 lines of FORTRAN code, the comparison of compile and linking times are even more dramatic. Table 4 shows that the Macintosh and Prodigy 4 are considerably faster for larger programs than either the IBM AT or Compaq 386.

Whetstone Benchmarking

The Whetstone benchmark, devised in England by Curnow and Wichman in the Feb. 1976 issue of the Computer Journal, is an attempt to cover a typical mix of all floating point operations. This benchmark contains linear arrays, and add, subtract, multiply, divide and transcendental operations. Whetstones were originally written in ALGOL, but later translated to FORTRAN in 1979 by D. Frank. Since that time, many computer manufacturers have rated their machines in terms of thousands of Whetstones per second or kw/sec. Higher Whetstone ratings mean more powerful machines. Table 5 presents single and double Whetstone ratings for a variety of micro, mini and mainframe computers. In addition, ratios referenced to Prodigy 4 speed are indicated in the Table. A ratio of 1.7 means that the computer is 1.7 times faster than the Prodigy 4. All computers, with the exception of the Mac Plus, have math coprocessors or floating point accelerators. The poor double precision Whetstone rating of the Mac Plus may, relative to the IBM PC, may be one of the reasons there has been a scarcity of scientific software for the Mac. Of course, we can see from this Table that the Prodigy 4 and hence new Mac 2 changes all that.

The Whetstone results of Table 5 (with no I/O) can be compared to the Butterworth simulation results( with considerable I/O and more representative of a realistic engineering application) of Ref. 3. Figure 1 shows that all the benchmarks, whether they be Whetstones or Butterworth simulations, yield about the same relative machine performance. Only the Mac Plus seems to yields results which are significantly benchmark dependent. It yields worse performance on the Whetstones because of it’s lack of a math coprocessor.

Figure 1 - Relative Machine Performance is Approximately Independent of Benchmark

The performance comparison of Fig. 1 can be placed into proper perspective when the cost of the host computer is considered. For simplicity, computer cost can be considered to be the machines purchase price only. This neglects the cost of the small army of technicians required to operate the larger machines and the cost of software leasing agreements. We can see from Fig. 2 that generally higher cost computers yield faster performance. However the cost is not always commensurate with the performance. For example, a VAX 11/780 is only 1.5 times as fast as a Prodigy 4 and yet is 40 times more expensive. An IBM 3084Q is 11.7 times faster than a Prodigy 4 and is 500 times more expensive. On the micro side an IBM RT is 2.5 times slower than a Prodigy 4 and yet costs twice as much.

Figure 2 - Micros are More Cost Effective Than Larger Machines

If we normalize the computer performance as measured by double precision whetstones per second to the computer purchase price we can generate “bang for the buck” information. More “bang for the buck” means that the computer yields a higher double precision Whetstone rating for less cost. Figure 3 presents this cost effectiveness information and shows that the Compaq 386, Prodigy 4 and Micro Vax 2 are very cost effective, with the Prodigy 4 yielding the most “bang for the buck”. The curve also indicates that if a micro can do the job, it is more cost effective from a performance point of view than a mainframe.

Figure 3 - Prodigy 4 Outperforms Every Other Computer

Summary

The intent of this article was to show that FORTRAN runs very efficiently on the Prodigy 4 (and hence Mac 2) when compared to non Apple micros. When compilation and linking times are taken into account, the comparison is even more dramatic. A relative performance curve is presented quantifying “bang for the buck” information for a variety of micros, minis and mainframes. As expected, the new Mac 2 appears to out- perform every other computer.

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank Micro/Systems, Av Tetewsky and Dan Feenberg for permitting me to extract from Ref. 1 the benchmark timings on all the non Apple machines and for providing the technical explanation for the “features” of the various DOS machines. In addition, I would like to thank Owen Deutsch, for providing me with the “travelling salesman” FORTRAN code.

References

1) Tetewsky, A. and Feenberg, D. “A Survey of 6 FORTRAN Compilers” to appear in Sept. 1987 edition of Micro/Systems Journal.

2) Press, N. H. et al, “Numerical Recipes The Art of Scientific Computation”, Cambridge University Press, 1986.

3) Zarchan, P. “New Mac Workstation Potential”, MacTutor, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1987, pp 15-21.

4) Boston Computer Society IBM PC Report, “PC Technical Report: MIPs, MFlops, Benchmarks and Other Half-Truths”, May-June 1987.

5) Marshall, T., Jones, C., and Kluger, S. “Definicon 68020 Coprocessor”, BYTE, July 1986, pp 120-144.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The Astral Express sets off to bring Hon...
After vanquishing yet another threat and adding a fine hat to their wardrobe, you’d think the crew of the Astral Express would be able to kick back after their adventures in Penacony. Clearly not though, as HoYo has announced the next leg of the... | Read more »
Dragons rein supreme in Pokemon Unite as...
If you were looking for the strongest type in Pokemon and asked the fanbase, I would wager most people's thoughts would turn to Dragon. They hit hard, are often powerful, and get used by some of the toughest trainers. Pokemon Unite is honouring... | Read more »
Players can take a peek into the design...
It doesn’t matter how much effort developers put into their classes, or how many special little mechanics there are; if there is one that wields two blades, I’m ignoring everything else. Diablo Immortal recently announced such a class in the shape... | Read more »
Android users have a new option in the c...
When you are in the thick of a firefight or trying to pull off a mid-combat parkour flip through a squad of foes, sometimes touchscreen control just won’t do it for you. For those intense sessions, you could benefit from a good mobile controller,... | Read more »
Jagex releases the first of three origin...
At this point, I am sure everyone has heard of Runescape, and or Runescape Classic. It has been going strong for 23 years, with constant content and story coming out. Luckily for fans of the game, or fantasy in general, Jagex has announced an... | Read more »
Watcher of Realms unveils new story and...
Watcher of Realms players are in for quite the feast this month, as Moonton release two powerful new heroes, including one that will burst down even the most mighty of foes. Recruit your new friends, and then burn through the Main Quest expansion... | Read more »
Reverse: 1999 continues its trip down un...
The field trip to Australia continues in Reverse: 1999 as Phase 2 of Revival! The Uluru Games kicks off. You will be able to collect new characters, engage with new events, get hordes of free gifts, and follow the story of a mushroom-based... | Read more »
Ride into the zombie apocalypse in style...
Back in the good old days of Flash games, there were a few staples; Happy Wheels, Stick RPG, and of course the apocalyptic driver Earn to Die. Fans of the running over zombies simulator can rejoice, as the sequel to the legendary game, Earn to Die... | Read more »
Top Mobile Game Discounts
Every day, we pick out a curated list of the best mobile discounts on the App Store and post them here. This list won't be comprehensive, but it every game on it is recommended. Feel free to check out the coverage we did on them in the links below... | Read more »
Netflix Games expands its catalogue with...
It is a good time to be a Netflix subscriber this month. I presume there's a good show or two, but we are, of course, talking about their gaming service that seems to be picking up steam lately. May is adding five new titles, and there are some... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Amazon is blowing out clearance 13-inch M1 Ma...
Amazon has clearance Apple 13″ M1 MacBook Airs on Memorial Day sale for $300 off original MSRP, only $699. Their prices are the lowest available for new MacBooks this Holiday shopping season. Stock... Read more
MacBook Sale! 13-inch M2 MacBook Airs are onl...
Best Buy has Apple 13″ MacBook Airs with M2 CPUs in stock and back on sale this week on their online store for $150 off MSRP in Space Gray, Silver, Starlight, and Midnight colors. Prices start at... Read more
Apple increases iPhone trade-in values ahead...
Get up to $650 on the purchase of new or refurbished iPhone at Apple using their official Trade In program, now with increased values ahead of WWDC 2024. Trade in your old iPhone, and Apple will... Read more
Amazon has Apple’s iPad discounted to a new l...
Amazon has Apple’s 10th-generation WiFi iPads on sale discounted up to $40 off MSRP, starting at only $334. With the discounts, Amazon’s prices are the lowest we’ve seen for these iPads: – 10″ 10th-... Read more
13-inch M3 MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off...
Best Buy has Apple 13″ MacBook Airs with M3 CPUs in stock and on sale this week for $100 off MSRP. Prices start at $999. Their prices, along with Amazon’s, are the lowest currently available for new... Read more
Weekend Deal! Best Buy has Apple Watch Series...
Best Buy has Apple Watch Series 9 models on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store this weekend. Sale prices available for online orders only, in-store prices may vary. Order online, and choose... Read more
Apple Watch SE on sale starting at $199 this...
Best Buy has all Apple Watch SE models on sale this weekend for $50 off MSRP on their online store. Sale prices available for online orders only, in-store prices may vary. Order online, and choose... Read more
Mac Pro with M2 Ultra CPU on sale for $6699,...
In the market for one of Apple’s Mac Pro towers? B&H Photo has the base Mac Pro with an Apple M2 Ultra CPU, 64GB RAM, and 1TB SSD on sale for $6699 including free 1-2 day shipping to most... Read more
New May Verizon promotion: Switch and get a f...
Red Hot Deal Days at Verizon: Switch to Verizon this month, and get the 256GB iPhone 15 Pro for free, with trade-in, when you add a new line of service. Verizon is also offering a free cellular iPad... Read more
Updated Apple MacBook Price Trackers
Our Apple award-winning MacBook Price Trackers are continually updated with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability for 16″ and 14″ MacBook Pros along with 13″ and 15″ MacBook... Read more

Jobs Board

Salon Manager BTC - *Apple* Blossom Mall -...
Salon Manager BTC - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/144535/winchester-va-united-states) - Job Read more
Omnichannel Associate - *Apple* Blossom Mal...
Omnichannel Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Read more
Beauty Consultant - *Apple* Blossom Mall -...
Beauty Consultant - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Read more
Hair Stylist - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPen...
Hair Stylist - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Blossom Read more
Operations Associate - *Apple* Blossom Mall...
Operations Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.