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SPEC CPU2000: Measuring CPU Performance in the New Millennium

John L. Henning

Reprinted from COMPUTER, July 2000


As computers and software have become more powerful, it seems almost human nature to want the biggest and fastest toy you can afford. But how do you know if your toy is tops? Even if your application never does any I/O, it's not just the speed of the CPU that dictates performance. Cache, main memory, and compilers also play a role. Software applications also have differing performance requirements. So whom do you trust to provide this information?

The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) is a nonprofit consortium whose members include hardware vendors, software vendors, universities, customers, and consultants. SPEC's mission is to develop technically credible and objective component- and system-level benchmarks for multiple operating systems and environments, including high-performance numeric computing, Web servers, and graphical subsystems.

On 30 June 2000, SPEC retired the CPU95 benchmark suite. Its replacement is CPU2000, a new CPU benchmark suite with 19 applications that have never before been in a SPEC CPU suite. This article discusses how SPEC developed this benchmark suite and what the benchmarks do.

Article in PDF format

Copyright © 2000 IEEE. Reprinted from COMPUTER, July 2000.

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