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SPECViewperf 11.0

In our tests of professional graphics cards, we first run SPECViewperf, which has become an industry standard for benchmarking graphics workstations. SPECViewperf sends predefined sequences of OpenGL instructions to the graphics card driver, describing rotations of complex models typical of various professional applications. By simulating such rather primitive operations, this benchmark reports the geometrical performance of a graphics card which is determined by hardware features as well as driver optimizations.

The scripts integrated into SPECviewperf version 11 emulate the user’s work in wireframe mode in the following professional applications (the names of corresponding tests are given in brackets): LightWave (lightwave-01), CATIA (catia-03), EnSight (ensight-04), Maya (maya-03), Pro/ENGINEER (proe-05), SolidWorks (sw-03), Siemens Teamcenter Visualization Mockup (tcvis-02) and Siemens NX (snx-01).

The new Nvidia Quadro K5000 is obviously superior to its predecessor Quadro 5000. The gap varies across the applications, yet the Quadro K5000 is always ahead, proving the worth of the progressive Kepler architecture. It is especially good in the ht-04, tcvis-02 and snx-01 tests where the Quadro K5000 is 70-80% faster than the Quadro 5000. On the other hand, the gap is no larger than 10% in the lightwave-01 and sw-02 scenarios.

Meanwhile, SPECViewperf makes it clear that using gaming graphics cards for professional applications isn’t a good idea. Having the same architecture as the Quadro K5000 and even higher clock rates, the GeForce GTX 680 has huge problems handling complex OpenGL-based models. Its speed is much lower compared to the specialized solutions with optimized drivers.

We can also use SPECViewperf 11.0 to check out the effect of full-screen antialiasing on performance. The diagrams below refer to the standard SPECViewperf tests performed with different FSAA modes turned on.

As expected, FSAA provokes a performance hit, but the new Quadro K5000 doesn’t slow down as much as the Quadro 5000. As a result, the newer card is now twice as fast as its predecessor in the 32x and 64x FSAA modes.

While providing a general notion of a graphics card’s performance, SPECViewperf 11.0 is a synthetic benchmark. So we want to complement its numbers with what we have in real-life professional applications.

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