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

Evernote 6.13.2 - Create searchable note...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
HoudahSpot 4.3.4 - Advanced file-search...
HoudahSpot is a versatile desktop search tool. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot will immediately feel familiar. It works just the... Read more
calibre 3.14.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Evernote 6.13.2 - Create searchable note...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
calibre 3.14.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
HoudahSpot 4.3.4 - Advanced file-search...
HoudahSpot is a versatile desktop search tool. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot will immediately feel familiar. It works just the... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.3.10- - Binary dis...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.3.10- - Binary dis...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more
Paparazzi! 1.0b7 - Make user-defined siz...
Paparazzi! is a small utility for OS X that makes screenshots of webpages. This very simple tool takes screenshots of websites which do not fit on one screen. You specify the desired width, minimal... Read more
Amadeus Pro 2.4.4 - Multitrack sound rec...
Amadeus Pro lets you use your Mac for any audio-related task, such as live audio recording, digitizing tapes and records, converting between a variety of sound formats, etc. Thanks to its outstanding... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

WWE Mayhem guide - beginner tips and tri...
WWE Mayhem brings all of the familiar faces from your favorite wrestling league to mobile in this exciting new fighting game. Build up a team of your favorite WWE superstars and fight your way to the championship title, or battle against your... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week -...
We've made it through another week, so let's treat ourselves to some of the best new games to launch in the past few days. It was another exciting week with some long-awaited indie games making their debut, and some big console titles making the... | Read more »
Match blocks to pull off dance moves in...
Ferdinand: Unstoppabull is a brand new match three puzzler based on the animated movie of (almost) the same name. As you can expect, you have to match blocks together to complete a bunch of puzzling levels and earn a high score. [Read more] | Read more »
Lineage 2: Revolution’s end of year upda...
Now available in 54 countries worldwide, Lineage 2: Revolution is continuing its global quest to be the most popular mobile MMORPG by launching a jam-packed end of year update. Complete with many subtle tweaks to help improve users’ online... | Read more »
The 5 best Star Wars games on iOS
The time has almost come.Star Wars: The Last Jedifinally hits theaters in the cinematic event that might be bigger than Christmas. To celebrate, we're taking a look at the best--and only the best--Star Warsmobile games to date. [Read more] | Read more »
Life Is Strange (Games)
Life Is Strange 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Life Is Strange is a five part episodic game that sets out to revolutionize story-based choice and consequence games by... | Read more »
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty (Game...
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** PLEASE NOTE: Requires 3.6GB free space to install. Runs at variable resolutions based on device capabilities.... | Read more »
Gorogoa (Games)
Gorogoa 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Gorogoa is an elegant evolution of the puzzle genre, told through a beautifully hand-drawn story designed and illustrated by Jason... | Read more »
Why Guns of Boom will be big for mobile...
Earlier this week, Game Insight, the minds that brought you Guns of Boom, revealed plans for an esports mode in the popular FPS title, with big implications for the game's future. Guns of Boom has been quite popular for some time now, so it's... | Read more »
The best mobile games to play on lazy ho...
With the holidays in full swing, there's hopefully going to be a lot of time off work lazing around the house. With all of that free time, it's a perfect opportunity to catch up on some mobile games that you might have missed out on earlier this... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Sunday flash sale: Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ea...
Amazon has Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones on sale for $199.99 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for Beats Solo3. Multiple colors are... Read more
B&H Holiday sale: MacBooks for up to $300...
B&H Photo has Apple MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, and 12″ MacBooks on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only, and overnight... Read more
The lowest prices on Apple 13″ MacBook Pros t...
Save $300-$300 on the purchase of a 2017 13″ MacBook Pro this weekend with Certified Refurbished models at Apple. In many cases, Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each model... Read more
Lowest prices of the Holiday season: 15″ Appl...
Save $360-$420 on the purchase of a 2017 15″ MacBook Pro with Certified Refurbished models at Apple. In many cases, Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each model from any... Read more
Apple discounts Beats products by up to 30% t...
Apple has Beats by Dr. Dre (BeatsX, Powerbeats3 Wireless, and Beats Solo3 Wireless) on sale for up to 30% off their retail price from now until December 26th: – BeatsX: Was $149.95, now $99 –... Read more
Updated Price Trackers: Macs, iPads, iPhones,...
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: – 15″... Read more
How to preorder a new iMac Pro and pay zero s...
B&H Photo and Adorama are accepting preorders on multiple configurations of the new Apple iMac Pro. Both resellers charge sales tax for residents of NY & NJ only, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple Macs back in stock at Amazon with model...
Amazon has MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, MacBooks, and iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP as part of their Holiday/Christmas sale. Shipping is free. Note that stock of some Macs may come and go (and... Read more
Apple offering free overnight delivery on all...
Apple is now offering free overnight delivery on all in stock products until 3pm local time on December 22nd. This includes new as well as refurbished computers. Click here for more information. Read more
Beats Holiday sale at B&H, headphones and...
B&H Photo has Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, earphones, and speakers on sale for up to $80 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Expedited shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax to NY... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.