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KitGuru Complete Guide to Buying a Workstation

Enough about the concept and hardware choices, let's move on to the benchmarking software.

This is a comprehensive list of the software we used, as well as our observations about what each package is testing for. We start with the standard system tests, including CrystalDiskMark and why we included CPU-Z screen grabs – and move onto the really serious tests like SPECapc.

Maxon Cinebench R15
This is a great initial performance test for a workstation, or indeed any PC (or Mac!). The two halves of the test simulate modelling and rendering performance. The modelling test uses OpenGL and is mostly relying on graphics performance; the rendering test is highly multi-threaded so takes full advantage of a multi-core CPU.

Stressed: GPU speed and cores; CPU cores; CPU clock speed

Un-Stressed: Nothing!


We run CPU-Z so we can get a reading of the CPU and memory specification – and present that to our readers.

What CPU-Z does for CPU and memory, GPU-Z does for graphics, allowing us to check the GPU specification and present that.

Crystal Disk Mark
We ran Crystal Disk Mark to show another aspect of the baseline performance. The drive on which the operating system and applications reside has very little effect on modelling or rendering performance. We ran this test for information only, although the results do provide a mildly interesting story.

Stressed: SSD or HDD

Un-Stressed: Everything else

SPECviewperf 12.02
This is the industry-standard test for workstation graphics, now in its 12th incarnation. It runs eight different viewsets that replicate a comprehensive selection of the kinds of software you might run on a 3D content creation workstation. Many of the viewsets are based on code from the most popular software in each respective area, such as Autodesk Maya.

Stressed: GPU speed and cores; some tests are affected slightly by CPU clock

Un-Stressed: CPU threads


Cadalyst Benchmark Test for Autodesk AutoCAD 2015
The popularity of AutoCAD for computer aided design led us to run the Cadalyst Benchmark Test for AutoCAD 2015. It uses a variety of 3D models to test 3D graphics, 2D graphics, disk, and CPU.

Stressed: GPU speed and cores; CPU clock speed

Un-Stressed: CPU threads


SPECapc for 3ds Max 2015
With a single iteration taking an hour, SPECapc is one of the most in-depth tests for 3D intensive applications. It uses huge array of modelling and rendering tasks to put GPU and CPU through a full workout.

Stressed: GPU speed and cores

Un-Stressed: CPU threads

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