How Does the PowerStack Stack Up?

Because the BAPCo Benchmarks I used in my review of the Hewlett-Packard Vectra XU 6/150 in the January issue of Windows NT Magazine are not yet available on the PowerPC, I put together a test that shows off the floating-point processing capabilities of the Motorola PowerStack RISC PC.

I compared the PowerStack to a Telos 90-MHz Pentium with 64MB of RAM and IPC Technologies PowerPlay 604/100, the 100-MHz PowerPC with 32MB of RAM that I reviewed in the September, 1995, issue of Windows NT Magazine. All machines ran under Windows NT Workstation 3.51.

The test was composed of a timed Microsoft Test 3.0 script running Elastic Reality, a true 32-bit morphing and warping program that has been ported to all four NT platforms (Intel, PowerPC, MIPS, and Alpha). I used the program's stock images of George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant as they appear on US currency and morphed the image of Washington to the image of Grant to create a composite image that shared the features of both. I saved the resulting transformation to an .AVI file. Calculated test time includes program load, morphing/rendering, and saving to the .AVI file.

Graph A shows the test runtime on each of the three machines. Graph B shows the cost of each. Although I cannot draw a direct comparison between runtime and cost, you can still see a point of diminishing returns where the performance of each machine does not grow as fast as the price does. The Motorola is three times the speed of the P90 for twice the cost, and about 35% faster than the PowerPlay for twice the cost. However, the PowerPlay has only 32MB of RAM, which accounts for some difference in price.

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