Buy the Numbers - 01 May 1996

The Windows NT Magazine Lab uses several benchmarks to test each system's features. The BAPCo SYSmark benchmarks, first introduced in Windows NT Magazine, January 1996, provide real-world tests on applications such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Welcom Software's Texim Project. After running this test, we compare the runtime for each application (graph A), the SYSmark score for each application (graph B), and the overall SYSmark score (graph C). The overall SYSmark score is then compared with the cost of the system, measured by determining how many SYSMarks the system gets for each thousand dollars of cost (graph D). Because SMP systems do not perform significantly better than their uniprocessor counterparts in these tests--but cost more--their SYSmarks per dollars score is lower. For more information on the SYSmark benchmarks, visit

For floating point-intensive tests, we use Elastic Reality from Avid Technology and Pro/JR., a limited edition of Pro/ENGINEER from Parametric Technology (graph E). The Elastic Reality script renders a morph between the faces of Ulysses S. Grant and George Washington, which we save to a video (.avi) file. The Pro/JR. script automates the exact design, layout, and rendering of a microscope model.

To test SMP, we use Adobe Photoshop 3.0.5 (graph F). Our script performs an image resize, a very compute-intensive operation.

We compare all results to our baseline system, which consists of a 100-MHz Pentium processor, 32MB of RAM, a 2MB Diamond Stealth 64 PCI video card, a 1GB SCSI hard disk, a 4X SCSI CD-ROM, and a 3Com Etherlink III network adapter. The cost of this baseline system is about $2950.

On the BAPCo benchmarks, the ALR Evolution Dual6's performance was outstanding, with a composite score of 625. This is the highest composite score recorded by Windows NT Magazine Lab so far on standard office automation applications. On the Pro/JR. test, the Evolution Dual6 fell just short of the Polywell 300-MHz Alpha reviewed in the March issue. Although the Evolution Dual6 greatly outperformed the baseline system on the Elastic Reality tests, it still fell short of the Polywell Alpha because of the Alpha's much faster floating point performance. However, remember that these benchmarks take little or no advantage of the second processor.

The Evolution Dual6 scored well on the Photoshop SMP test, showing significant results when the second processor was brought into play. The Evolution Dual6's time was outstanding.

The ALR Evolution Dual6 test results show that it can compete with RISC processors using floating point-intensive software, such as Elastic Reality and Pro/JR., and outperform RISC on standard office automation and 2D graphics applications such as Word and Excel. With a starting price under $7400 for a single 200-MHz processor version, this system is an excellent alternative to many higher-priced RISC systems.

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