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Tom's Hardware Wants You: CPU Benchmarks 2011/12

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 169 comments

We're looking for a few good suggestions as we revamp our processor testing suite for the next 12 months. Is there something you'd like to see heading into 2012? If we get this hammered out fast enough, it might even happen in time for Bulldozer!

Almost a year ago, I started a thread just like this one to elicit your thoughts on the way we test CPUs. Based on your responses, we made a number of changes to our test suite. Of course, we weren't able to accommodate every request. But each suggestion that made sense received careful consideration.

Well, it's that time again. We want to know how you want to see processors evaluated as we alter the benchmark suite.

As before, I think we have a reasonable mix of gaming-, productivity-, media-, and synthetic-based tests in our automated CPU software package. With that said, our ears are always open.

Now, keep in mind that we’d prefer to use free/trial/open source software, making reproducibility an option for as many of our readers as possible.

Here’s our current list of metrics. We aren't doing much with OpenCL or DirectCompute right now, preferring to save those tests for the graphics suite. With that said, feature like Quick Sync and AMD's Fusion initiative merit a reconsideration about folding in benchmarks with unique support for architecture-specific optimizations. This is something we want to be very careful with, though, as to not bias the weight of our evaluation toward any one company. Keep that in mind as we open up the dialogue to accelerated apps.

  • Apple iTunes
  • Lame MP3
  • HandBrake CLI
  • MainConcept Reference v.2
  • WinRAR
  • WinZip
  • 7-Zip
  • Autodesk 3ds Max
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CS5
  • Adobe After Effects CS5
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5
  • Cinebench
  • Blender
  • ABBYY FineReader 10
  • PCMark 7
  • 3DMark 7
  • SiSoftware Sandra 2011
  • Metro 2033
  • F1 2010
  • Aliens Vs. Predator
  • Just Cause 2


Occasionally you’ll see us swap out a game, exclude a more workstation-oriented app in a mainstream, or add something like Fritz, but that’s the lineup I’m using as of…well, now. So, give us some suggestions on what you’d like to see over the next year. Bear in mind that the apps we pick from the comments you leave will likely be the ones most applicable to the largest number of people, though there is room for a handful of more fringe tests, too.

Thanks again for the input. I’ll be stopping by the comments section here, of course. And if you want to reach me directly, you're always welcome to hit me up on Twitter.

Chris Angelini
Worldwide Editor-in-Chief, Tom’s Hardware

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    kingkstur , August 11, 2011 12:13 AM
    StarCraft 2! I used to see it in some benchmarks, but it slowly got faded out. =[
  • 21 Hide
    Soma42 , August 11, 2011 12:40 AM
    JacobiMatlab, taking advantage of multi-core processors and GPU processing


    Agreed I'd love to see benchmarks for MATLAB, Solidworks or more CAD programs
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , August 11, 2011 1:37 AM
    Why do you have Aliens vs Predator when in EVERY SINGLE benchmark ever made, this game shows that a CPU has absolutely no impact. Same thing for Metro 2033, to a lesser extent.

    On the other hand, why don't you add GTA IV? I know it's poorly optimized and a little old now, but it's one of the few games that will actually provide a big performance boost when a new CPU is purcahsed or an old one overclocked, so I'd like to see it there.
Other Comments
    Display all 169 comments.
  • 23 Hide
    kingkstur , August 11, 2011 12:13 AM
    StarCraft 2! I used to see it in some benchmarks, but it slowly got faded out. =[
  • 11 Hide
    wintermint , August 11, 2011 12:15 AM
    Can you guys add more programs that benefit from hyper-threading? It will be easier to refer a CPU to new system builders if there's benchmarks in front of our face :) 
  • 13 Hide
    cuecuemore , August 11, 2011 12:20 AM
    kingksturStarCraft 2! I used to see it in some benchmarks, but it slowly got faded out. =[

    Yep, this is a great test for single-core strength along with the original Crysis. (and Warhead??) AvP is a terrible CPU benchmark; on my X4 965 it locks all 4 cores at 40%, regardless of whether I'm running one or two GTX 460s. For more proof, let's look at what Tom's had to say :)  :
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-core-i3-2100-phenom-ii-x6-1075t,2859-5.html
    In my opinion, BF:BC2 is the gold standard for CPU scaling at the moment, and will probably be supplanted by BF3.

    +1 to SiSoftware Sandra 2011, this is the only synthetic I use, but it's awesome.
  • 7 Hide
    echdskech , August 11, 2011 12:23 AM
    I've been using Tom's CPU charts since it came out to spec out not only desktops but also entry level servers built on enthusiast parts. Most of them run server software on Linux though so I'd like to cast a vote for the Phoronix test suite.
  • 15 Hide
    genghiskron , August 11, 2011 12:25 AM
    The cpu benchmark would be a joke without battlefield 3.
    i dont know if this applies to the cpu benchmark suite itself, but i think it would be interesting to come up with an appropriate "background program suite" for the gaming benchmarks.
    basically, there was a huge debate over whether the i3-2100 would outperform the phenom ii quads in a real-world environment because a real user runs a number of programs while gaming. id like to see this tested in some way. i think this will also be an interesting benchmark in the context of the upcoming bulldozer release, should that happen before the end of the world.
  • 8 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , August 11, 2011 12:28 AM
    My only request would be to add in some sort of Maya rendering (software or mental ray) or simulation performance bench. I know you already include Cinebench and Blender, but performance and scaling can vary quite significantly between these programs. And amongst pro's and hobbyists alike, Maya is one of the most widely adopted 3D content creation programs out there. If you have a content creation section in your bench suite, Maya just seems like a must.

    And I know you guys are probably already considering this, but adding BF3 (when it's released) to your gaming section would be great as well.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , August 11, 2011 12:37 AM
    Matlab, taking advantage of multi-core processors and GPU processing
  • 21 Hide
    Soma42 , August 11, 2011 12:40 AM
    JacobiMatlab, taking advantage of multi-core processors and GPU processing


    Agreed I'd love to see benchmarks for MATLAB, Solidworks or more CAD programs
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , August 11, 2011 12:51 AM
    I suggest to simulate real-life experience simulation rather than synthetic performance benchmark. So we should just use Apps and Games. Should also add video editing/converting tool (e.g. mov to rmvb ..etc). Games should use either BF3 or MW3. Others like Guild Wars 2, latest Need for Speed & NFL/NBA/FIFA series, follow by either Civ5/StarCraft2/Diablo3. Not sure if there's any capable benchmark for Flash/HTML5 games, but it will be good as well to check Civ World (Facebook) and others.
  • 1 Hide
    bystander , August 11, 2011 12:58 AM
    wintermintCan you guys add more programs that benefit from hyper-threading? It will be easier to refer a CPU to new system builders if there's benchmarks in front of our face


    That's a good idea. All previous gaming articles on the subject show no difference, but Resident Evil 5, and Metro 2033 definitely showed improvement with and without on my system. Those can't be the only two.
  • 2 Hide
    11796pcs , August 11, 2011 12:59 AM
    Total War: Shogun 2 is a pretty serious test of horsepower especially if you use DX11. Starcraft 2 would also be nice. When Battlefield 3 comes out that's a definite must too. IntelBurnTest might be nice too- it rates your CPU on GFlops and it's free.
  • 4 Hide
    Zeh , August 11, 2011 1:06 AM
    Civilization 5: How long does it take to get to the next turn, considering a large map, and maybe ith autosave on/off (if that even matters, i'm not sure).

    Starcraft II (with medium details, but with high settings for the CPU, like physics); a replay is a good test because it can be repeated, altough it does not stress the CPu as much as a real match.

    I'm not sure if you know the software, but Ansys is a great software to stress the CPU. It's a engeneering simulation software, look up some images on Google. It takes an awfull lot of time to simulate stuff on a somewhat complex model, specially with a fine mesh and simulating a lot of things (heat transfer, elastic/plastic deformations, and so on).
    There are other similar softwares tho, I'm just familiar with this one.
  • -3 Hide
    azconnie , August 11, 2011 1:10 AM
    I would like to see some bench tests for the lightmass rendering (psuedo ray tracing) used in Unreal.
  • -4 Hide
    goodguy713 , August 11, 2011 1:18 AM
    im sugjesting running a standard hard drive system and a ssd bases system in comparrison through your normal bench tests .. plus what ever you come up with there it would be interesting to see how negitive of an impact runing say western digital black 64mb cache drives or velosa raptor drives vs ssd drives on the new processors when they are finnally released i bet it would help a lot of people make there choices
  • -4 Hide
    Onus , August 11, 2011 1:26 AM
    I'd like to see at least one game that involves lots of AI's running around. RTS or [MMO]RPG testing may be confounded by latency or other network issues, but hopefully something can be found in this category.
  • -4 Hide
    madchemist83 , August 11, 2011 1:27 AM
    How about some antivirus software like norton or kaspersky. i.e. full system scan
  • 1 Hide
    superhighperf , August 11, 2011 1:34 AM
    how about multitasking benchmarks?

    what if i want to use handbrake and surf the web. what if i want to......
  • 12 Hide
    Haggard , August 11, 2011 1:34 AM
    GTA IV and Dirt 3 are great CPU benchmarks.
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , August 11, 2011 1:37 AM
    Why do you have Aliens vs Predator when in EVERY SINGLE benchmark ever made, this game shows that a CPU has absolutely no impact. Same thing for Metro 2033, to a lesser extent.

    On the other hand, why don't you add GTA IV? I know it's poorly optimized and a little old now, but it's one of the few games that will actually provide a big performance boost when a new CPU is purcahsed or an old one overclocked, so I'd like to see it there.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 11, 2011 1:51 AM
    RipBot
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