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.

 
AAPL
$95.60
Apple Inc.
-2.55
MSFT
$43.16
Microsoft Corpora
-0.42
GOOG
$571.60
Google Inc.
-15.82

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OneNote 15.2 - Free digital notebook fro...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that’s too important to forget. Whether you’re at... Read more
iStat Menus 4.22 - Monitor your system r...
iStat Menus lets you monitor your system right from the menubar. Included are 8 menu extras that let you monitor every aspect of your system. Some features: CPU -- Monitor cpu usage. 7 display... Read more
Ember 1.8 - Versatile digital scrapbook....
Ember (formerly LittleSnapper) is your digital scrapbook of things that inspire you: websites, photos, apps or other things. Just drag in images that you want to keep, organize them into relevant... Read more
OmniPlan 2.3.6 - Robust project manageme...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Command-C 1.1.1 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Knock 1.1.7 - Unlock your Mac by knockin...
Knock is a faster, safer way to sign in. You keep your iPhone with you all the time. Now you can use it as a password. You never have to open the app -- just knock on your phone twice, even when it's... Read more
Mellel 3.3.6 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.0.4 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0 - Drag-and-drop Web desi...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With it's user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
Drive Genius 3.2.4 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius is an OS X utility designed to provide unsurpassed storage management. Featuring an easy-to-use interface, Drive Genius is packed with powerful tools such as a drive optimizer, a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Dawn of the Immortals Review
Dawn of the Immortals Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESPECTABLE EXPLORATIONUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dawn of the Immortals might not re-invent the wheel, but it does tweak it a little... | Read more »
80 Days Review
80 Days Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: EPIC ADVENTUREUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A fantastic and fascinating re-envisioning of the classic novel by Jules Verne, 80 Days is a delightful... | Read more »
Battleheart Legacy Guide
The world of Battleheart Legacy is fun and deep; full of wizards, warriors, and witches. Here are some tips and tactics to help you get the most enjoyment out of this great game. | Read more »
Puzzle Roo Review
Puzzle Roo Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: PUZZLE-BASED TWISTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A different take on the usual block dropping puzzle game, Puzzle Roo is quite pleasant.   | Read more »
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfi...
Super Crossfire Re-Release Super Crossfighter Coming Soon, Other Radiangames Titles Go 50% Off Posted by Ellis Spice on July 31st, 2014 [ | Read more »
Hexiled Review
Hexiled Review By Rob Thomas on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: HEX SELLSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad In space, no one can hear you… spell? Hexiled is a neat concept for a word scramble puzzle, but it doesn’t go too... | Read more »
Summoners War: Sky Arena Passes 10 Milli...
Summoners War: Sky Arena Passes 10 Million Installs! Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Deep Loot Review
Deep Loot Review By Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: DIVE DEEPUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dive deep in this fun explore-em-up that’s a little grind heavy but ultimately quite entertaining.   | Read more »
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year O...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush is One Year Old, Gets its Biggest Update Yet Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Fish & Shark Review
Fish & Shark Review By Jordan Minor on July 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: FLAPPY FISHUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fish & Shark’s beauty is only scale deep.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

All Over For Tablets Or Just A Maturing, Evol...
CNN’s David Goldman weighs in on tablet sector doom and gloom, asking rhetorically: “Is this the beginning of the end for the tablet?” Answering that, he contends that hysteria and panic are... Read more
Letterspace 1.0.1 – New Free iOS Text Editor...
Bangkok, Thailand based independent developer Sittipon Simasanti has released Letterspace, a new text editor for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Letterspace is a note taking app with an... Read more
Save up to $130 on an iPad mini with Apple re...
The Apple Store has Certified Refurbished 2nd generation iPad minis with Retina Displays available for up to $130 off the cost of new models, starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included... Read more
iPad Cannibalization Threat “Overblown”
Seeking Alpha’s Kevin Greenhalgh observes that while many commentators think Apple’s forthcoming 5.5-inch panel iPhone 6 will cannibalize iPad sales, in his estimation, these concerns are being... Read more
Primate Labs Releases July 2014 MacBook Pro P...
Primate Labs’ John Poole has posted Geekbench 3 results for most of the new MacBook Pro models that Apple released on Tuesday. Poole observes that overall performance improvements for the new MacBook... Read more
Apple Re-Releases Bugfixed MacBook Air EFI Fi...
Apple has posted a bugfixed version EFI Firmware Update 2.9 a for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. The update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected, and... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, plus free sh...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $140 on an iPad Air with Apple ref...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
$250 price drop on leftover 15-inch Retina Ma...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2013 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.3GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $2249, $250 off... Read more
More iPad Upgrade Musings – The ‘Book Mystiqu...
Much discussed recently, what with Apple reporting iPad sales shrinkage over two consecutive quarters, is that it had apparently been widely assumed that tablet users would follow a two-year hardware... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.