Viewperf 13.0 is a free benchmark to measure workstation graphics performance. Here is a look at the test and what it is good for.


Application Data in a Non-Application Benchmark

Viewperf uses data sets from applications in different areas including content creation (3DS MAX & Maya), design (CATIA, CREO, NX, and Solidworks), visualization (Showcase), medical, and energy. 

Although the data sets come from applicationsViewperf does not use the application in the benchmark (SPEC, the creator of Viewperf, has application-based benchmarks as well).  With the application overhead removed from the benchmarking results, Viewperf can test the maximum performance of the workstation. In particular, Viewperf especially tests the GPU performance.

This makes the benchmark useful to determine the relative graphics performance between different systems. This is especially true when the workstations are using GPUs from the same vendor as vendor-specific optimizations for the benchmark do not impact such a comparison.

Viewperf’s rendering tests scale well with workstation performance. However, the benchmark does not address the workstation CPU’s multiple-core, parallel processing performance.  Whether the workstation has a 2-core, 4-core, or 6-core processor is of little importance. A CPU with a fast clock-speed combined with a power GPU will provide the best results.

Monitoring the GPU and CPU during the benchmark shows that the GPU will typically run at 100% of its performance capacity. The CPU, on the other hand, will stress the performance of one or two cores, but it will not spread the workload across many physical cores or the logical cores which are created through hyper-threading.


SPEC Viewperf is an Independent Benchmark

It is easy to trust the results because Viewperf is developed by the non-aligned SPEC organization which has existed for over 30 years. Their membership consists of more than 60 companies and the members are experts who work together to provide “realistic, standardized performance tests”. SPEC is an acronym that stands for Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation and it produces multiple benchmarks to measure performance.

The benchmark is free to download. It doesn’t require other applications to run. It has been designed by a group of industry experts from the organizations membership.


SPEC Viewperf 13.0 Tests

SPEC Viewperf 13 consists of 9 different tests. Viewperf uses representative data sets from these applications, but not the applications themselves. In order, these are:

  1. 3DS MAX
  2. CATIA
  3. CREO
  4. Energy
  5. Maya
  6. Medical
  7. Showcase
  8. Siemens NX
  9. SolidWorks

The result for each test represents a weighted average of frames-per-second performance. One of the small improvements in version 13 is the presentation of the results and the system information in the benchmark-generated HTML file. For example, you can see the detailed tests results and the weights for each data set with a simple click. The same is true for the workstation configuration details: with one click, you see the workstation model, the CPU, GPU(s), memory, storage, etc.  The test results page also allows you to see a screen shot of the test run for each test.


The PW Perspective

SPEC Viewperf 13 is a simple and free benchmark that tests the performance of a graphics workstation. As the name Viewperf implies, the focus of the benchmark is on the graphics performance. As such it is useful for measuring the relative performance of GPUs.

The construction of the benchmark is one that simulates the interactive graphics performance. It does not take advantage of a many-core CPU with lots of parallelism, however it benefits most from a fast CPU with a small number of cores.


The 3DS MAX tests are the first set of benchmarks to run in SPEC Viewperf 13.0

The CATIA tests run with automotive & aerospace models using different visual effects

The PTC CREO tests are one of four sets of CAD modelling tests

The Energy test uses domain-typical data sets

The Maya data set is the second of two tests for creative professionals

The Medical tests use industry-specific data

The Showcase tests address different modes of visualization.

The Siemens NX tests focus on CAD design & manufacturing


The SolidWorks tests round-out the CAD design and modeling tests


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